Oscar Movies: Professionals (1966)–Richard Brooks Western Full of Action and Stars

One of the most popular films of 1966, The Professionals is an actionful Western, written and directed by Richard Brooks, featuring an all-star cast.

Grant (Ralph Bellamy) is a wealthy rancher who hires four mercenaries to retrieve his wife, Maria (Claudia Cardinale), from the villainous Raza (Jack Palance) in this Western adventure set in 1917.

The quartet includes Dolworth (Burt Lancaster), a munitions expert (and womanizer) who joins gunslinger Fardan (Lee Marvin), horse trainer Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan), and longbow master Jake (Woody Strode) when the men are offered each $10,000 for the safe return of Grant’s kidnapped wife.

They travel 100 miles into Mexico to retrieve the woman, whom they later discover wants to remain with Raza, but they decide to nab Maria anyway to collect their money.

Fardan, Hans, and Jake are then chased across the border by the enraged Raza and his deadly female accomplice Chiquita (Marie Gomez), while Dolworth stays behind to fight off Raza’s Mexican banditos.


Oscar Nominations: 3

Direction (Richard Brooks)

Screenplay (Brooks)

Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall)


Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

A Man for All Seasons swept the Oscars, including Best Picture, Director for Fred Zinnemann, Screenplay for Robert Bolt, and Cinematography for Ted Moore.