Apache (film)

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Apache (film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Aldrich
Screenplay byJames R. Webb
Based onnovel Broncho Apache by Paul Wellman
Produced byHarold Hecht
StarringBurt Lancaster
Jean Peters
John McIntire
CinematographyErnest Laszlo
Edited byAlan Crosland Jr.
Music byDavid Raksin
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
July 9, 1954
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1,240,000[1] or $1 million[2]
Box office$10 million (US/Canada)
1.2 million tickets (France)[3]

Apache is a 1954 American Western film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters and John McIntire. The film was based on the novel Broncho Apache by Paul Wellman, which was published in 1936.[4] It was Aldrich's first color film.


Following the surrender of the great leader Geronimo, Massai — the last Apache warrior — is captured and sent on a prison train to a reservation in Florida. But he manages to escape in Oklahoma and heads back to his homeland to win back his woman and settle down to grow crops. His pursuers have other ideas, though.



In April 1952 Burt Lancaster announced he would star in a film based on the novel, to be produced by himself and Harold Hecht. Lancaster had previously played an American Indian in Jim Thorpe – All-American.[5] Both Lancaster and his love interest, played by Jean Peters, appeared in brownface in the film.

For four years Lancaster and Hecht had been based at Warner Bros. However in June 1953 they announced they would make two films with United Artists, starting with Apache.[6][7] The film would be the first in a series of movies Lancaster made for United Artists.[2] It was originally budgeted at $742,000.[8]

In July 1953 the producers hired Robert Aldrich as a director.[9] Aldrich says this was on the back of his second feature as director, World for Ransom, along with the fact that he had previously worked for Hecht-Lancaster on other movies as an assistant and had tried to buy the original novel himself.[10]

The ending of the novel featured the leading character killed by US troops. "Of course, United Artists and Hecht became apprehensive of that so called down-beat ending," said Aldrich. "I made noise but they didn't hear me; then you go through the steps but you know they're going to use that happy ending."[10]


Filming started October 19, 1953, in Sonora, after a week of rehearsal.[11] Lancaster tore a ligament while filming a horse scene on the film.[12] He returned to filming relatively quickly.[13]


Box office[edit]

The film was a big hit, earning over $3 million in theatrical rentals during its first year of release and $6 million in overall North American rentals. Aldrich subsequently directed Hecht-Lancaster's next film, Vera Cruz.[14]

The film earned $3.25 million in American and Canadian rentals during 1954,[15] and it went on to generate total gross receipts of $10 million in the United States and Canada.[3] In France, the film sold 1,216,098 tickets at the box office.[16]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 64% of 11 critics' reviews are positive.[17]. At the time, Clyde Gilmour praised the film as "one of the most exciting and entertaining westerns Hollywood has produced,"[18] while the New York Times criticized it as "slow and dull."[19] Retrospective reviews have praised the film for its "acceptance of the alien nature of the Apache"[20] and "more than the standard revisionist bromides."[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alain Silver and James Ursini, Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?, Limelight, 1995 p 234
  2. ^ a b Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 79
  3. ^ a b "Apache (1954)". JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  4. ^ BOOKS RECEIVED: ANTHOLOGIES The Scotsman October 15, 1936: 13.
  5. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Burt Lancaster Awarded Role of Indian in 'Bronco Apache' Chicago Daily Tribune April 14, 1952: d3
  6. ^ BURT LANCASTER MAKES U. A. DEAL: Movie Star and His Partner, Harold Hecht, Find a New Outlet for Productions By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times June 24, 1953: 30.
  7. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Lancaster Gets Indian Role in 'Bronco Apache' Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune2 Dec 1952: a5.
  8. ^ Kate Buford, Burt Lancaster: An American Life, Da Capo 2000 p 137
  9. ^ ALDRICH TO DIRECT FOR NORMA STUDIO: Former Production Assistant Achieves Goal on 'Bronco Apache' With Lancaster New York Times August 1, 1953: 8.
  10. ^ a b mr. film noir stays at the table Silver, Alain. Film Comment; New York Vol. 8, Iss. 1, (Spring 1972): 14-23.
  11. ^ REPUBLIC TO FILM 'THE BIG WHISPER': Virginia Van Upp Will Write and Produce Drama Under New Studio Financing Policy New York Times October 1, 1953: 34.
  12. ^ Lancaster Limping, but Production Plans Spurt; Glynis Will 'Interrupt' Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times27 Oct 1953: B9.
  13. ^ BRONCHO' ON LOCATION: Charting the New Course of the Latest Hecht-Lancaster Independent Picture By WILLIAM H. BROWNELL JR. New York Times December 27, 1953: X7.
  14. ^ Kate Buford, Burt Lancaster: An American Life, Da Capo 2000 p 140
  15. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
  16. ^ French box office results for Robert Aldrich films at Box Office Story
  17. ^ "Apache". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Edit this at Wikidata
  18. ^ Gilmour, Clyde (September 15, 1954). "Maclean's Movies". Macclean's. p. 34.
  19. ^ "At the Mayfair". The New York Times. July 10, 1954. p. 0. {{cite news}}: |first= missing |last= (help)
  20. ^ "Apache". TimeOut. September 11, 2012. {{cite web}}: |first= missing |last= (help)
  21. ^ Bozzola, Lucia. "Apache". AllMovie.

External links[edit]