The Reivers (1969) Review

Director: Mark Rydell

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 112 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

IMDb Page

The 1969 dramedy The Reivers is one of Steve McQueen’s more notable non-action-adventure roles. Based on a William Faulkner novel, this movie’s about three friends in early-1900s Mississippi – Boon (Steve McQueen), Ned (Rupert Crosse), and Lucius (Mitch Vogel) – who set out on a road trip to Memphis, Tennessee, in a 1905 Winton Flyer car. In case you were wondering, the word “reiver” means “thief.”

This is a film with a nostalgic tone that almost feels somewhat similar to To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), since they’re both coming-of-age stories set in the American South in the first half of the twentieth century that touch on the issue of racism. It needs to be mentioned that a young John Williams provided the musical score, and it’s pretty good. A couple of horse races towards the end manage to elicit some suspense.

I felt that there were a few problems with The Reivers, though. There were times when I wondered just who the target audience for the picture was, being a flick largely being told through the eyes of a child, yet dealing with some racy subject matter. A note or two (or three) in the feature are on the misogynistic side, and it goes on for a little too long.

In all honesty, I’d rather watch one of McQueen’s more action-oriented movies, but this one isn’t bad. It has its moments. I guess that that’s how I remember it at least, as a series of moments, rather than a coherent whole. A fun fact about the production of this work is that McQueen sometimes brought Bruce Lee to the set (according to the IMDb Trivia page for this movie).

My rating is 6 outta 10.

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