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Valdez is Coming (1971) - Blu-ray Review

3 beersFirst you drop the gun.  Then you turn around.  Valdez is coming!

Burt Lancaster is Robert Valdez.  Lancaster is every bit the man, the myth, and the legend that Elmore Leonard created when writing this vengeful western.  It is a tough as nails movie in which the characters drink propane and spit fire along with railroad spikes.  Flexing already, are you?  Well, yeah, that is what this western is all about when it isn’t killing a whole hell of a lot of innocent people.

And it begins with a man getting mock-crucified for doing the right thing concerning the treatment of a black man and the pregnant Apache woman (Juanita Penaloza ) left all alone after his brutal murder.  The posse killed the wrong man.  They could care.  See how much things haven’t changed?  Anyway, the tall and hulking figure of Bob Valdez (Lancaster) just wanted to collect $200 from the men – rancher Frank Tanner (Jon Cypher), hired gun R.L. Davis (Richard Jordan), ranch hand El Segundo (Barton Heyman) – who killed him to give to the widow. 

Instead, he gets the beat-down humiliation of the century and is forced to carry a crucifix across the peaks and valleys of the land, looking for help.  He stumbles and he falls.  He does not forget.  Oh, but he’ll be back for more; there’s revenge a blowing’ in the air throughout this western.  It’s bitter and it’s brutal.  It’s also mean as all hell and Valdez is up for the challenge of delivering whatever if it takes to right the wrong that these men – himself included – have done.

Issued on Blu-ray thanks to Kino Studio Classics, Valdez is Coming looks almost brand sparkling new.  There’s a fresh coat of dust in the air and sweat on the brow as Valdez, done with stupid men and the horses they ride into town upon, starts mowing down idiots left and right.  He’s a smart man but even smarter with a shotgun.  And his Spanish heritage runs deep in his blood. 

Valdez is damn near killed by this posse when he tries to have them do the honorable thing.  We aren’t to concentrate on the torture they cause; it’s the revenge we need to celebrate throughout this genre romp.  Valdez, duped by the dumbass posse into killing the wrong man, decides they aren’t worth a spit to him and so, after his mean-spirited treatment by all members, he starts out on a sort of destination unknown; hell-bent for leather to take names and kick ass as he travels the Arizona countryside. 

Filmed in southern Spain and directed by theatre director Edwin Sherin (My Old Man’s Place), Valdez is Coming was never received favorably at the box office.  It was originally dismissed as over the top and way too dramatic for its own good.  Well, as such things tend to do, has aged well since its original run in 1971. 

It has – because it is an awesome western – aged well, though, and is now a fan favorite due to its groovy thrills and “good greaser” mentality.  Yes, it is a topical film due to its portrayal of race relations and – seeing as how they’ve not progressed very much since 1971 – is still rather timely.   Co-starring Susan Clark and Frank Silvera, this western is full of striking visuals that carry consequence way past the ending of the movie.

The bottom line is that people – no matter their skin color – need to stop being dicks to each other.  If not, then you too can expect a visit from Valdez.  And he takes no prisoners.  None.  Zilch.  Zip.  Zero.  Consider yourself warned.


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Valdez is Coming (1971) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
90 mins
: Edwin Sherin
Roland Kibbee, David Rayfiel
Burt Lancaster, Susan Clark, Frank Silvera
: Western
They tore his body. They buried his pride. But they forgot his Sharps rifle and his Buffalo gun.
Memorable Movie Quote: "She never smiles. If she were my woman, I would make her smile."
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 9, 1971
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 19, 2017
Synopsis: A Mexican-American sheriff must resort to violence against a powerful rancher in order to get just compensation for the pregnant Indian widow of a wrongly killed black man.


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Valdez is Coming (1971) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- December 19, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Kino Lorber Studio Classics releases Valdez is Coming onto 1080p with a solid transfer that is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  There is a nice film grain to the look of the film and black levels never waiver.  Combined with the saturated colors, everything services the needs of the film well.  Clothing fabrics are textured and faces are made memorable with deep wrinkles, scars, and perspiration that just won’t ever stop.  The sound is presented via a strong DTS-HD Master Audio English track.



  • Film Historian Jim Hemphill provides the feature length audio commentary, layering it with historical information and placing it in the spaghetti western genre of filmmaking.

Special Features:

Outside of the audio commentary, fans get a single theatrical trailer to enjoy with their purchase of this movie.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer


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Valdez is Coming (1971) - Blu-ray Review