Screened as part of NZIFF 2007

The Hired Hand 1971

Directed by Peter Fonda

Poetic Western directed by and starring Peter Fonda as a drifter who attempts to reconcile with his abandoned wife and daughter. This restored version of a neglected 1970s masterpiece will dazzle audiences.

USA In English
90 minutes 35mm



Alan Sharp


Vilmos Zsigmond


Frank Mazzola


Bruce Langhorne


Peter Fonda
Warren Oates
Verna Bloom
Robert Pratt
Megan Denver


The success of Easy Rider enabled Peter Fonda to direct and star in this haunting study of love and loss in the American West. Mishandled by Universal Studios, The Hired Hand screened for just a fortnight when first released in the US. Now, 30 years on, a restored version of this neglected masterpiece will dazzle audiences. Tired of his drifter lifestyle, Harry (Fonda) returns to the wife (an electrifying Verna Bloom) and daughter he hasn't seen in seven years. With his riding partner Arch (Warren Oates) in tow, the two become her hired hands, but the callow Harry is torn between domestic security and resuming his wanderlust life with Arch. Violence from his past returns and the resulting bloodshed makes a man of him, but at what cost to his wife and Arch? Directed with subtlety, and exhibiting a rare authenticity of time and place, The Hired Hand defies the genre trappings of the Western. The film's poetic tone, compounded by artful montages and a heartbreaking score, culminates in one of cinema's most perfect final shots.