Bronco Billy (1980)
About twenty years ago there was a seemingly endless festival of Clint Eastwood movies on TV – this was, of course, back when people still watched TV. It was during this time that I was introduced to a lot of his performances – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Bad joke, I know.
As director as well as lead actor, Bronco Billy is one of the handful of movies where Clint managed to shoehorn his long-time love interest Sondra Locke into the mix. She always felt surplus to requirements for me, and no matter what else she has done in her career, her legacy will always and only be as Clint Eastwood’s girl.
Bronco Billy is far from Clint’s most well known film, and I can name a dozen off the top of my head that are better, but it is somewhat of a forgotten minor gem in his vast catalogue. It’s a light comedy in which Clint riffs on his long-standing cowboy persona in an old-fashioned travelling circus, as the self-proclaimed ‘fastest gun in the West’.
Antoinette: Have you ever been married?
Bronco Billy: Sure. A long time ago.
Antoinette: Did you love her?
Bronco Billy: With all my heart. Sometimes that just isn’t enough.
Antoinette: What happened?
Bronco Billy: I caught her in bed with my best friend.
Antoinette: What did you do to him?
Bronco Billy: I shot her.
Antoinette: What! What about him?
Bronco Billy: He was my best friend!
So, why do I remember fondly watching Bronco Billy from a run on television two decades ago? It’s a metaphor for where I was in my life: a simple movie that reminds me of a simpler time. And sometimes, the memory and the smile is enough.