BARBAROSA is a lyrical 1982 western saga about a near-mythical outlaw and the young farm boy who takes up with him, pursued through Texas by vengeful enemies. It’s about blood-feuds and legend-building, and you may appreciate it even more after you’ve seen it than while you’re watching it unspool over 90 minutes.
This is a little picture in terms of scope and size, but director Fred Schepisi has a nice feel for atmosphere, the props are excellent and the camera work has some fine desert shading from Ian Baker, shooting in remote areas of Big Bend National Park and at ‘Alamo Village’ near Brackettville, Texas.
Bruce Smeaton gave it an effective score, not ‘western’ in sound so much as just apropos to the haunting tone of the tale. Willie Nelson and Gary Busey are both saddle credible and make a good team bantering William Witliffe’s salty dialogue, and it’s always a pleasure to see and hear Gilbert Roland, 76 years young here in one of his best late-career roles.
With Isela Vega, Danny De La Paz, George Voskovec, Alma Martinez, Robert Contreras and Wolf Muser. The $11,000,000 film died un-noticed at the cash register in the homeland with a sad take of $1,730,000. An overlooked sleeper.