The Wrath of God is a 1972 offbeat Western genre film directed by Ralph Nelson and starring Robert Mitchum, Frank Langella, Rita Hayworth and Victor Buono. Filmed in Mexico, it is based on the novel by Jack Higgins writing as James Graham.

The Wrath of God
Original film poster
Directed byRalph Nelson
Produced byRalph Nelson
Written byJack Higgins
Ralph Nelson
StarringRobert Mitchum
Rita Hayworth
Frank Langella
Music byLalo Schifrin
CinematographyAlex Phillips, Jr.
Edited byJ. Terry Williams
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • July 14, 1972 (1972-07-14) (New York City)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States


Van Horne (played by Mitchum), a bank robber dressed like a Roman Catholic priest, is spared from a firing squad in 1922 in an unnamed Central America nation resembling Mexico in the Cristero War and sent to kill a local desperado.



The film is a lighthearted adaptation of the western noir novel The Wrath of God written by Harry Patterson and published under the pseudonym of James Graham in 1971, and later as Jack Higgins.

Alluding to the fact that the film is untroubled by the need for any apparent consistency, film critic Roger Ebert describes it as "a simple, dashing tale told for sheer fun."[1]

Lalo Schifrin's Latin-tinged soundtrack score was described as "jazzy at times, more serious at others – but almost always served up with groovy touches that make this one especially appealing to our ears."[2]

The film marks the final screen appearance by Hayworth, whose health worsened as Alzheimer's disease took hold.

The film was released the same year as Werner Herzog's acclaimed film Aguirre, the Wrath of God.


Actor Ken Hutchison had a near catastrophic accident near the end of filming in which he cut himself on some broken glass, opening a gash from wrist to elbow. He was discovered by Mitchum's wife Dorothy, who applied a life saving tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Since Hutchison was in nearly every scene, the insurance company covering the production shut it down for a month for him to heal. When he returned, he was unable to do anything strenuous, and had to keep the arm covered. With the long layoff, the cast and crew just wanted to get the film done, resulting in confusion, continuity gaps and dislocation.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Wrath of God, a review by Roger Ebert, September 18, 1972
  2. ^ Dusty Groove: Wrath of God; Lalo Schifrin. (soundtrack)
  3. ^ Server, Lee (2001). Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care. St. Martin's Press. pp. 450-451. ISBN 0-312-28543-4.

External linksEdit