Zachariah (1971) 720p

Movie Poster
Zachariah (1971) - Movie Poster
Comedy | Drama
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
93 min
IMDB Rating:
5.8 / 10 
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Directors: George Englund [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Gunfights and electric guitars in the Old West? You bet! Zachariah gets a mail order gun, practices a little, and kills a man in the local saloon. He and his friend Matthew set out to become gunfighters, joining with the Crackers, a rock band who are also (pitifully inept) stage robbers. Having quickly outgrown that gang, Zachariah and Matthew set out to become bigtime gunslingers. Before long, they part company and a rivalry grows between them. —George S. Davis


  • Zachariah (1971) - Movie Scene 1
  • Zachariah (1971) - Movie Scene 2
  • Zachariah (1971) - Movie Scene 1

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A true original.

Billed as "the electric Western", this curiosity goes a fairly long way on its anachronisms, giving us engaging performances as well a wonderfully offbeat nature. John Rubinstein ("The Boys from Brazil") and Don Johnson ('Miami Vice') play good buddies in the Old West looking to make their name as gunfighters - although, during his odyssey, Zachariah (Rubinstein) will have his doubts as to what he really wants to do with his life.

Part musical, this ingratiating little movie features a raft of supporting performances by noted rock and country musicians - The James Gang, Country Joe and the Fish, White Lightnin', The New York Rock Ensemble. If one is looking for a movie that's off the beaten path, and can accept seeing such things as electric guitars in a period piece, then you should have a reasonable time with this one.

The whole cast is fun to watch. Rubinstein and Johnson have good chemistry, and there are delightful, key contributions by such people as Patricia Quinn ("Alice's Restaurant") as Belle Starr, William Challee ("Five Easy Pieces") as the genial elderly loner, and noted drummer Elvin Jones, who has a fine screen presence as a gunfighter named Job Cain. Dick Van Patten ('Eight is Enough') appears as an Old West pitchman named The Dude. Rubinstein and Johnson are believable and appealing as the central characters, both in search of their destinies.

Co-written by members of Firesign Theatre, this isn't just fun and games. It has a poignancy to it as well, especially as things come to a head and the friendship between our protagonists is put to a test.

Good entertainment for a well-paced 93 minutes, this was directed by George Englund, whose other credits include "The Ugly American" and "Signpost to Murder".

Seven out of 10.


I saw this movie in the early 70's when it first came out and never forgot it. The scene with the James Gang introduced me to their music. I couldn't remember the name and just run across it and going to watch it on u tube again.

Better than I expected - also great music!

I'm a fan of weird movies, but I'd never heard of this until it popup in a Firesign Theatre fan group.

As far as I know, this the only example of a hippiesploitation surreal Western musical - well, sort of musical. The characters don't sing, but they throw in real groups from the time, including Country Joe and the Fish and the James Gang. Of course, they're simply thrown into the Old West playing their electric instruments without comment.

The two main characters are the eponymous Zachariah, played by John Rubinstein (you might not recognize the name, but you've seen him in a million things), and Matthew, played by a very young Don Johnson in his only second movie role.

They are close friends (and as close to being gay as you could get away with at that time) who set off to become gunslingers. They both get very good, but then follow separate paths, with Zachariah going on a Siddhartha-like quest to find himself.

I suspect the copious weed smoking in the movie was real, as several characters appear to be VERY high much of the time, but I have to admit I genuinely enjoyed this movie, both the story and the music.

I mean, how often do you get a drum solo in a Western?
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