6.3/10
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11 user 7 critic

The Devil's Backbone (1971)

The Deserter (original title)
Army deserter Capt. Viktor Kaleb is offered a pardon and reinstatement in the cavalry if he agrees to lead a special forces group in a raid against an Apache stronghold into Mexico.

Directors:

Burt Kennedy, Niksa Fulgosi (uncredited)

Writers:

Stuart J. Byrne (based on a story by), William H. James (based on a story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bekim Fehmiu ... Capt. Victor Kaleb
Richard Crenna ... Maj. Wade Brown
Chuck Connors ... Reynolds
Ricardo Montalban ... Natchai - Indian Scout
Ian Bannen ... British Army Capt. Crawford
Brandon De Wilde ... Lt. Ferguson
Slim Pickens ... Tattinger - American Scout
Woody Strode ... Jackson
Albert Salmi ... Schmidt
Patrick Wayne ... Capt. Bill Robinson
Fausto Tozzi ... Orozco
Mimmo Palmara ... Apache Chief Mangus Durango
John Alderson John Alderson ... O'Toole
Doc Greaves Doc Greaves ... Scott
Lucio Rosato Lucio Rosato ... Jed
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Storyline

Bitter over his wife's death due to what he believes was army negligence, Capt. Viktor Kaleb deserts the cavalry and disappears into the southwestern wasteland. But when marauding Apaches set up a stronghold just out of the cavalry's reach in Mexico, Kaleb is given amnesty in exchange for leading a small band of especially trained soldiers to wipe out the Indian stronghold. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Deserter and his blood bath brigade -- they drenched the west with terror! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | Yugoslavia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 1971 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Backbone See more »

Filming Locations:

Almeria, Andalucia, Spain See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his autobiography "Hollywood Trail Boss", Burt Kennedy states that Dino De Laurentiis offered him a Rolls-Royce if he would do an uncredited script rewrite. See more »

Quotes

Captain Viktor Kaleb: O'Toole made two mistakes. He didn't test his skills...
Cpt. Crawford: And he yelled when he was falling.
Captain Viktor Kaleb: An Apache wouldn't.
Cpt. Crawford: Damn it! If a man is dying, he has a right to be a little bit disturbed by it!
Captain Viktor Kaleb: Not if he cares anything about the men he was with.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Western Outlaws: 50 Movie MegaPack (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Competent copy of a familiar formula
23 July 2000 | by Wizard-8See all my reviews

What we have here is a rip-off of "The Dirty Dozen", though with more than 12 men, and set in the wild west. There was promise here that wasn't quite realized; we hardly get to know any of the characters, some of which could have been quite interesting given their backgrounds (an Afro-American, a Native American, a British army officer, etc.) The climatic action sequence is also a bit too short, and almost plays like they were running out of time and decided to bring in the action right there, and do it as quickly as possible.

Still, it's never boring, and it has a once in a lifetime cast that almost begs you to see it. You might want to wait until it's on TV, though - the boneheads at Paramount Video released this on EP speed, which doesn't make the picture quality any good.


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