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Mr. Majestyk is a 1974 American action film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charles Bronson. The film is from an original screenplay written by author Elmore Leonard. He also wrote the novelization based on the movie, a reversal of the usual process of adaptation. Leonard took the title character's last name from a character in his 1969 crime novel The Big Bounce.
Vince Majestyk (Charles Bronson) is a farmer, a former U. S. Army Ranger instructor and Vietnam War veteran, who owns and operates a watermelon farm in rural Colorado. He needs to harvest his crop in order to keep the farm financially solvent.
A small-time hoodlum, Bobby Kopas (Paul Koslo), attempts to coerce Majestyk into a protection racket of using unskilled drunks to harvest his watermelon crop. Majestyk runs Kopas off (with his .12 gauge Winchester Model 1200 shotgun) and hires skilled Mexican migrant workers, including Nancy Chavez (Linda Cristal), a crops picker union leader. They begin a relationship. Kopas brings assault charges against Majestyk, resulting in the farmer being arrested and held in the local jail.
There he meets Frank Renda (Al Lettieri), a notorious mob hit man being transferred to a higher-security prison. Renda's men try to break him out of police custody during a prisoner transport by bus. In the escape attempt, Majestyk drives off in the bus with Renda still in handcuffs. Majestyk plans on trading Renda to the police in return for being released to finish his harvest. Renda offers his captor $25,000 for his freedom, but Majestyk just wants to get back to his melons.
With the help of his lawyer girlfriend Wiley (Lee Purcell), Renda escapes from Majestyk. He meets up with his right-hand man Lundy and plans his revenge on Majestyk. Renda is advised to fly to Mexico to elude a police dragnet looking for him, but he wants revenge. He tells his men to find the "melon picker" so that he can have the satisfaction of killing him personally.
Majestyk turns the tables. He sets a trap at Renda's cabin hideout. Renda betrays his own men, leading to Lundy's death and to Kopas being captured, prior to a final showdown between Majestyk and Renda.
- Charles Bronson as Vincent "Vince" Majestyk
- Al Lettieri as Frank Renda
- Linda Cristal as Nancy Chavez
- Lee Purcell as Wiley
- Paul Koslo as Bobby Kopas
- Taylor Lacher as Gene Lundy
- Frank Maxwell as Detective Lieutenant McAllen
- Alejandro Rey as Larry Mendoza
- Jordan Rhodes as Deputy Harold Richie
- Bert Santos as Julio Tomas
The movie was popular with Bronson action film buffs. Howard Thompson of the New York Times said, "Except for some dutiful splattering of gore, it ticks along rather steadily, under Richard Fleischer's unruffled direction. There is a take-it-or-leave-it air that snugly suits the star's performance, or vice versa."
Ford Motor Company would use scenes licensed from the movie showing extreme driving of Majestyk's Ford Pickup truck during commercials for its 1974 F-150 model.
- Howard Thompson, "Bronson is a Farmer in 'Mr. Majestyk'" July 18, 1974 http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9403E2D8173FEF34BC4052DFB166838F669EDE
- 'Mr. Majestyk', Internet Movie Database (1974). Retrieved August 13 2005.
- 'Elmore Leonard Week: Elmore on Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, and William Friedkin', Contrappasso Magazine (Contrappasso #2, December 2012)
- Mr. Majestyk at AllMovie
- Mr. Majestyk at the Internet Movie Database
- Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table. at the TCM Movie Database
Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table. Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.