Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (18)

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The Independent Culture

First released in 1974, this marks the beginning of Sam Peckinpah's late slide into nihilism. And yet, as so often with this director, it's a film paradoxically marinated in a desperate sense of honour. Warren Oates plays Bennie, a pianist who gets wind of a bounty: a million dollars has been put on the head of Alfredo Garcia for impregnating the daughter of a Mexican plutocrat. In the course of his ghoulish, tequila-fuelled quest, Bennie falls in with Garcia's old girlfriend (Isela Vega), but the most significant relationship is that between the anti-hero and the eponymous head, which he keeps in a bag on the seat of his car. You could see all this as Peckinpah's sick joke on greed. His best work was behind him – The Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – but this bizarre thriller contains reminders of what made him great.

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