Something Big (1971) - IMDb
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Something Big (1971)

A man kidnaps the wife of a cavalry commander in order to exchange her for a Gatling gun that's being sold by a gun runner.


Andrew V. McLaglen




Cast overview, first billed only:
Dean Martin ... Joe Baker
Brian Keith ... Col. Morgan
Carol White ... Dover McBride
Honor Blackman ... Mary Anna Morgan
Ben Johnson ... Jesse Bookbinder
Albert Salmi ... Jonny Cobb
Don Knight ... Tommy McBride
Joyce Van Patten ... Polly Standall
Denver Pyle ... Junior Frisbee
Merlin Olsen ... Sgt. Fitzsimmons
Robert Donner ... Angel Moon
Harry Carey Jr. ... Joe Pickins
Judi Meredith ... Carrie Standall
Edward Faulkner ... Capt. Tyler (as Ed Faulkner)
Paul Fix ... Chief Yellow Sun


Joe Baker has a dream. He wants to do 'something big.' When he needs a Gatling gun to accomplish this, he seeks out a black marketeer. The price he wants for the gun? A woman! So Baker kidnaps a woman off of the stagecoach, only to find that she is the wife of the commandant of the local Cavalry detachment. Things get further complicated when a girl named Dover McBride shows up. She has come to force Baker to marry her and return east, as he promised to do four years earlier. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sooner or later, Baker will find the right girl. And when he does, he'll swap her for a machine gun. And do something big. See more »


Comedy | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and western violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


On its original release in the UK, this was commonly shown as the main feature in a double bill, with Darker Than Amber (1970) as the supporting film. See more »


[ at about 26 minutes into the movie ] When Tommy McBride is supposed to be playing the bagpipes, his blowing into the bagpipes does not match the music coming out, at all! Music comes out in between his breaths, when he is not blowing.

Yes and the whole point of the bag-pipes is that the bag provides a reservoir so there's always air available and the piper doesn't have to breathe in time to the music. See more »


Carrie Standall: [as Baker rides to the Standall sisters' home, which is a shanty and a shed, next to an old mine, by the boundary of the Texas and New Mexico territory] Baker, you just get purtier and purtier.
Joe Baker: I sure am a lucky man. Every time I come back here, I half expect to see you two gone.
Carrie Standall: Every time we think of leaving, Polly finds another nugget.
Polly Standall: That's right. We ain't got nothin' but a cow and a hole in the ground.
Carrie Standall: You might say we live from nipple to nugget.
Polly Standall: [to Baker on his horse] Come on down. I got a' ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Paradoxically--considering its definition--the film's title is presented in all lower case letters, as can be seen in the poster. See more »


Referenced in My Husband, the Producer (1974) See more »


Something Big
Music by Burt Bacharach
Lyrics by Hal David
Performed by Mark Lindsay
See more »

User Reviews

If ya see it TAPE IT!
12 September 2004 | by markspangler1See all my reviews

"Something Big" has always gotten a bad wrap from critics, but I have to disagree with them on this one.

This flick is good, fun, western escapism at it's non political correctness best. Just two years later Mel Brooks was hailed for a much raunchier "Blazing Saddles", but for some reason "Something Big" was deemed way over the top in 1971.

Sad, since by this point, after his "Airport" success, Dean was at the tail end of a hectic 25-year film making career. One senses that as Dean prepares to end his outlaw ways in the film, he was saying goodbye to the movie... after a continuous run of at least one film per year since 1949. Indeed, other than the Cannonball Run nonsense in the 80s, Dean would do only two more films... 1973's "Showdown" with Rock Hudson (a good one!) and 1975's crime drama "Mr. Ricco" (a MUST SEE for Dean fans).

Anyway... onto "Something Big". Dean is on his last legs as an outlaw and wants to pull one more "big" event. This one involves getting a gattling gun, trying to get Albert Salmi a wife, putting some Mexican banditos on ice and ... ah, well, it's kind of a rollicking mish mash, but it's a lot of fun on the way!

Dean is really in his element and shines as the anti-hero. Brian Keith is a hoot as a stiff calvary officer and other great supporting cast members like the great Ben Johnson and the above mentioned Albert Salmi make this one a must see. Like Dean's television show of the time, this flick doesn't take itself too seriously, but you know, deep down, the bad guys really aren't too bad and work with their own sort of code of honor. Speaking of honor, Honor Blackmun is good here too.

Other Dean Martin westerns I'd recommend are Rio Bravo, Rough Night in Jericho and especially Showdown. He did others, but The Sons of Katie Elder and Five Card Stud weren't up to par in my opinion-although they are watchable. Only Four For Texas is truly bad.

Too bad this isn't available on video or DVD. The Dean Martin catalog is seriously under represented in video and DVD and I hope that is rectified sometime soon.

Enjoy "Something Big" for what it is... a bit randier version of "Support Your Local Sheriff" type of thing, with a pretty good cast of A list players, good locations and cinematography and a funny script. The deep blue arid skies and dusty locales are truly beautiful and may have been filmed near the Superstition Mts. in Arizona where I once lived, so the movie has a special place in my heart. The best thing I can say about this film is that it made me want to be one of the characters in it, looking for an adventure and finding it in the old west. No cares, no responsibilities, just a desire, once in life to do something really, really big!

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Release Date:

31 December 1971 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Something Big See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Mexico

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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