Will Penny

Movie Details

Year1968
DirectorTom Gries
Key CastCharlton Heston, Joan Hackett, Donald Pleasence, Lee Majors, Bruce Dern, Slim Pickens
MPAA RatingApproved
Film TypeColor
Genre(s)Western, Romance
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“Will Penny” stars Charlton Heston as an Aging Cowboy

This 1968 cowboy Western movie spends as much time considering the quieter, day-to-day realities of a cowboy’s life as it does the gun-blazing violence of romantic mythology.
 
In “Will Penny,” Charlton Heston stars as Will Penny – a lonely cowboy getting on in years who, following an extended cattle drive, takes a job tending a spacious and isolated Montana ranch for the winter.
 
He finds his distant quarters already occupied by Catherine Allen (Joan Hackett) and her son Horace (Jon Gries) who were abandoned by their guide while en route to find Allen’s husband in the Far West. Initially complying with the requirements of his position, Penny requests that the two leave the cabin. Soon enough, however, he finds himself in Allen’s care after being severely roughed up by the nefarious Quints, a family who lost one of its members to Will Penny in an act of self-defense.
 
The Quints aren’t through with Penny, making a bloody showdown inevitable.
 
Meanwhile, Penny and Allen discover the spark of romance kindled between them—all set in the context of the cowboy’s own grappling with his age and his solitary, nomadic nature.
 
Reportedly a personal favorite of Charlton Heston’s, “Will Penny” functions as a rather unique Western—an engaging standout from one of the western genre’s golden eras.
 
 
• Tom Gries wrote the screenplay and directed “Will Penny” which received much praise from critics. Unfortunately, this western wasn’t very popular at the box office and barely made back enough money to pay for its production costs. Some believe that because “Will Penny” didn’t have a lot of action sequences like other western movies during the time, it couldn’t attract the mainstream western moviegoers. However, as the years have passed, this western has increasingly become rediscovered as an excellent, almost poetic, film about the real life of the cowboy instead of a mythic one.
 
 
• In 1968, “Will Penny” won the Western Heritage Bronze Wrangler Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture.
 

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Will Penny
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In Will Penny, Charlton Heston stars as an aging, lonely cowboy who takes a job tending an isolated ranch for the winter, and encounters a woman and her son.

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