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Bite the Bullet (1975)

2:31 | Trailer
A group of ex-rough riders, an ex-prostitute and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert.


Richard Brooks


Richard Brooks
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Sam Clayton
Candice Bergen ... Miss Jones
James Coburn ... Luke Matthews
Ben Johnson ... Mister
Ian Bannen ... Sir Harry Norfolk
Jan-Michael Vincent ... Carbo
Robert Donner ... Reporter
Jean Willes ... Rosie
Mario Arteaga Mario Arteaga ... Mexican
Dabney Coleman ... Jack Parker
John McLiam ... Gebhardt
Bob Hoy ... Lee Christie (as Robert Hoy)
Jerry Gatlin Jerry Gatlin ... The Wood Cutter
Sally Kirkland ... Honey
Walter Scott ... Steve (as Walter Scott Jr.)


At the beginning of the 20th century, a newspaper organizes an endurance horse race: 700 miles to run in a few days. 9 adventurers are competing, among them a woman, Miss Jones, a Mexican, an Englishman, a young cowboy, an old one and two friends, Sam Clayton and Luke Matthews. All those individualists will learn to respect each other. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the tradition of Shane and High Noon, a new Western Classic is born! BITE THE BULLET See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Film critic Rex Reed repeatedly reported that "Bite the Bullet" was, in his opinion, one of the best pictures of 1975. This, however, was to no avail apparently as the film topped out at approximately $11 million at the box office. Several other critics, including Vincent Canby, noted the film was big and "expensive," which is curious since the film only cost a reported $4 million, actually a small sum considering the extraordinary cast of Oscar winners and Oscar nominees including Gene Hackman, James Coburn, Candice Bergen, Ian Bannen, Ben Johnson. Director Richard Brooks, cinematographer Harry Stradling Jr., and Alex North, who wrote the score, were previous Oscar nominees as well. See more »


When the horse is being buried in the desert, its side is moving with breathing. See more »


[first lines]
Gebhardt: I heard your newspaper is running an honest race.
Reporter: You heard right, Mr. Gebhardt.
Gebhardt: Who the hell handicapped this owlhead as the favorite?
J.B. Parker: The smart money!
Gebhardt: That's what we come to get.
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK version is cut (ca. 10 sec.) to remove sight of cruelty to horses (illegal horse falls) due to the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »


Referenced in Hot Lunch (1978) See more »

User Reviews

guns and sand
13 September 2004 | by nxgn_not_notSee all my reviews

Coburn is good, but Hackman is really one of the best. It's movies like this that really let you know what people can do. Well done from beginning to end. Makes me want to see more of the world from horse back.

Things I liked: Life was hard and they let you know it - Hookers and chemicals were everywhere - every one of the major characters was given screen time to develop into real people - beautiful animals.

Things I had difficulty with: Your horse dies in the desert, you should die in the desert, at least make the young buck walk out - the jail break scene was forced - does the Mexican live or die

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 June 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bite the Bullet See more »

Filming Locations:

Jacob Lake, Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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