In IndieWire‘s “The 100 Greatest Westerns of All Time,” Bill Desowitz (aka BD) writes the following about Richard BrooksThe Professionals (’66):

“Before The Wild Bunch, there was Brooks’ marvelous ode to friendship, loyalty, and disillusionment: A prestigious film that earned two Oscar nominations for Brooks (director and adapted script) and cinematographer Conrad Hall. While it lacked the stylistic bravado and fatalistic doom of the legendary Sam Peckinpah Western, Brooks’ crack at the genre was action-packed (with a sequence aboard a fast-moving train) and philosophically insightful (with lots of sarcastic quips).

“Oil baron Ralph Bellamy hires four soldiers of fortune to rescue his kidnapped wife (Claudia Cardinale) from revolutionary leader-turned-bandit Jack Palance: Planner Lee Marvin, dynamite handler Burt Lancaster, wrangler Robert Ryan, and archer Woody Strode. Turns out Marvin and Lancaster were friends with Palance, and, sure enough, nothing is what it seems. Filmed mostly on location in Death Valley and near Lake Mead in Nevada, the 87-day shoot required lots of efficient planning and day-for-night shooting by Hall and his crew.”

How the hell does “a marvelous ode to friendship, loyalty, and disillusionment” end up in 97th place on a list of 100 great westerns? Oh, and Palance’s Jesus Razq is not a “revolutionary leader-turned-bandit” — he’s a scrappy guerilla fighter. Taking what he and his small army need to survive, but no banditry at all.

A few days I called The Professionals one of three best films of 1966:

Four years ago I posted HE’s list of the 22 greatest westerns, to wit: