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Western films, from silent to today

Barbarosa (1982)

Barbarosa (1982) poster Gary Busey is Karl Westover, a young farm boy who flees his home after accidentally killing a man.

He encounters Barbarosa (Willie Nelson) and begins tagging along with the older, wiser man, not knowing he’s attached himself to a minor bandit of legendary proportions.

Karl and Barbarosa have one major thing in common: They’re both embroiled in family feuds.

Herman Pahmeyer sends his two remaining sons to track down Karl for the killing back home.

Barbarosa’s feud is with Dan Braulio, patriarch of his family and owner of a large ranch south of the border. Seems Barbarosa married his daughter Josephine against his wishes.

On their wedding night, when everyone was drunk, Braulio had his sons cut off Barbarosa’s ears. Barbarosa wound up killing two men and shooting Dan Braulio in the knee, crippling him for life.

Now Dan Braulio continues sending members of his extended family out to track down and kill Barbarosa, turning the long-haired gringo into a sort of legend in the process.


Nelson and Busey carry the film and deliver some truly comic moments after they meet, thanks largely to Willie’s wry sense of humor. Little is asked of a second-rate supporting cast.

But for the film to be successful, you have to buy into the central premise that Barbarosa would continue to hang around an area where he’s forever hunted, sneak back to the hacienda occasionally to visit Josephina and retain admiration for the Braulio family all the while.

This marked the fourth film role for Nelson and his first starring role in a true Western. Several more would follow, mostly TV movies, including a remake of “Stagecoach” (1986), in which he plays Doc Holliday.

This marked the final film for Gilbert Roland, who was 76 when the film was released.

Directed by:
Fred Schepisi

Willie Nelson … Barbarosa
Gary Busey … Karl Westover
Isela Vega … Josephina
Gilbert Roland … Dan Braulio
Danny De La Paz … Eduardo
Alma Martinez … Juanita
George Voskovec … Herman Pahmeyer
Sharon Compton … Hilda
Howland Chamberlain … Emil
Harry Caeser … Sims
Wolf Muser … Floyd
Kal Wulff … Otto
Roberto Contreras … Cantina owner
Luis Contreras … Angel
Itasco Wilson … Mattie

Runtime: 90 min.

Memorable lines:

Karl Westover: “Well, my name’s Karl Albert Westover.”
Barbarosa: “You been shit out of luck ever since you was born, ain’t you, boy?”

Barbarosa: “The Mexicans have a saying — whatever can’t be remedied must be endured.”

Karl Westover, proposing a partnership: “I killed a man.”
Barbarosa: “Well that ain’t no high recommendation.”
Karl: “Well, he was a great big son-of-a-bitch. He was twice as big as me.”
Barbarosa: “Ol’ Sam Colt makes everybody just about the same size.”

Karl: “Are you all right?”
Barbarosa, lying with a wound in his stomach: “No, I ain’t all right. Do I look all right?”
Karl: “Well, you look better than you did when you was at the bottom of that grave.”

Barbarosa, giving advice to Karl: “Always stand still until you’re done shooting. Nothin’ scares a man more than for you to be standin’ still when you should be runnin’ like a spotted assed ape.”

Barbarosa to Eduardo: “You don’t have enough ass in your britches to pull the trigger on Barbarosa.”

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