2005. Universal, Universal Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 134 minutes, Rated R
Release Date: December 16, 2005
Brokeback Mountain is available at Amazon.com on DVD, in a Two-Disc Collectors Edition, and on Blu-ray.
Movie Synopsis: A sweeping epic tale that explores the lives of two young men (a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy), who meet in the summer of 1963, when they take a job as sheepherders up on majestic Brokeback Mountain and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection.
Cast: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway
Director: Ang Lee
Thoughts on the Movie:
The fact that Larry McMurtry had a hand in the screenwriting of this movie, automatically elevates it to a level of greatness others can only aspire to. Brokeback Mountain is a beautiful movie. And the theme of the film is lovereal loveyet, a love that must be denied. To label this a gay cowboy movie, is not an accurate interpretation of the story. Forget that they are two men and ascribe to them the situation of being caught in an emotionally bonded relationship that doesnt follow the mores of society (even today), and youre closer to what this film is about.
I believe that this was Heath Ledgers best performance. And Jake Gyllenhaal stepped up his game in his role, as well. In fact, all of the performances are amazing. This movie is simply heartbreaking, and if youre not shedding a few tears at the end and on into the credits while listening to the moving song, He Was a Friend of Mine (sung by Willie Nelson, written by Bob Dylan), then maybe you need to check your pulse for signs of life. The movie has been called a beautiful parable about loneliness, love, and what it means to be a man. Keep in mind that the story takes place during the 60s, 70s, and early 80s in middle America; things were really different then. I do think that this movie is not for everyone, but its status as a film masterpiece cannot be denied. ~Jean
La Mesilla, New Mexico (see Map)
The scene in Brokeback Mountain referred to as Juarez Skyline, was actually shot in La Mesilla, New Mexico, near Las Cruces, about 30 miles from the Mexico border. The building in the foreground is located at the corner of Calle de Parian and NM 28 in La Mesilla. Clearly, this was the establishing shot for Jack Twists foray into Juarez, Mexico.
Right: The scene described as Juarez Skyline, in the film Brokeback Mountain, is actually a nighttime view of the town of La Mesilla, New Mexico. This is one of the few scenes shot for the film in the USA.
About La Mesilla, New Mexico:
La Mesilla, New Mexico (population 2,180, elevation 3,881 feet; 32° 16 22 N, 106° 48 3 W) is located in the southwest part of the state on I-10, about 30 miles from the Mexican border. During the Wild West era, La Mesilla was known for its cantinas and festivals. The area attracted such figures as Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and Pancho Villa. The village was also the crossroads of two major stagecoach lines, Butterfield Stagecoach and the Santa Fe Trail. The village of La Mesilla was the most important city of the region until 1881.
In 1881, the Santa Fe Railway was ready to build through that region of the country and La Mesilla was considered to be the community that the railroad would run through. However, the people of La Mesilla asked for too much money for the land rights, and a land owner in nearby Las Cruces, a much smaller village than La Mesilla, stepped in and offered free land. The town of La Mesilla has not grown much since, and in contrast, Las Cruces has grown to a population of 86,268, and is currently the second largest city in New Mexico. Still, La Mesilla proved to have its own brand of charm: the La Mesilla Historic District, which includes Mesilla Plaza, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
Lodging & Dining:
Casa de Rosie. 2140 Calle Del Norte, Mesilla, New Mexico
A beautiful bed and breakfast in Old Mesilla, Casa de Rosie is located about 100 steps from the Plaza and the Basilica of San Albino. This bed and breakfast inn has the distinction of being near the Rio Grande and within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants in Old Mesilla, while still being secluded and quiet.
La Posta de La Mesilla. 2410 Calle de San Albino, La Mesilla, New Mexico
Located on the Plaza in Old Mesilla, the restaurant offers many fine traditional New Mexico Mexican dishes made from century-old recipes handed down over the years from the Fountain, Chavez, and Griggs families. One of their most famous dishes, the Tostada Compuesta, originated at La Posta in 1939. The dish consists of a toasted corn tortilla cup filled with frijoles and red chile con carne, topped with chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, and grated cheddar cheese. For dessert, try the delicious homemade flan.
Right: Heath Ledger played the quiet man of few words, Ennis Del Mar, in the 2005 film, Brokeback Mountain.
Much of Brokeback Mountain is set in Riverton, Wyoming, gateway to the Wind River Range and Gannett Peak. However, the movie was actually made in the Canadian Rockies near Calgary, Alberta, Fort Macleod in Alberta, and La Mesilla, New Mexico. In the movie, Riverton is depicted as a dreary wide spot in the road, with a dilapidated one-room post office... not a booming college town of 10,000. But, apparently it was a big town for Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), who moves there from a ranch with his wife so they can be around other people.
Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing.
Ang Lee won a Golden Globe for Best DirectorMotion Picture.
Ang Lee won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director.
Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana won the Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.
Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana won a Golden Globe for Best ScreenplayMotion Picture.
Heath Ledger was nominated for the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
Heath Ledger was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion PictureDrama.
Heath Ledger was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead.
Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated for the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
Michelle Williams was nominated for the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.
Michelle Williams was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
Michelle Williams was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.
Brokeback Mountain won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature.
The other awards and nominations for awards received by the cast and crew of Brokeback Mountain are far to many to list here.
Above Right: Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger at the 2006 Academy Awards, on the big win night for their film, Brokeback Mountain.
The original short story by Annie Proulx was published in the October 13, 1997 issue of The New Yorker, without the italicized prologue which was included in the later version published in Close Range, her collection of short stories.
Diana Ossana, co-screenwriter and a producer on Brokeback Mountain, read the short story, then asked her colleague, Larry McMurtry, to read it. He refused, stating he doesnt read short fiction, because he cant write it. She persisted, however, and he ultimately agreed to be involved with the film. McMurtry handled the marital dramas and the Western elements, while Ossana concentrated on the male relationship, as McMurtry felt that he was not up to the task of conveying that realistically.
Right: Jake Gyllenhaal played the lonely, broken-hearted young cowboy, Jack Twist, in the award-winning movie, Brokeback Mountain.
Novelist Annie Proulx said: Brokeback is not a real place. There is, on a map I once saw, a Break Back Mountain in Wyoming, which I have never seen, but the name worked on several levels and replaced half a dozen more pedestrian names I had been trying out.
According to an interview in Premiere Magazine, Mark Wahlberg stated that at one point, he and Joaquin Phoenix were in line for the two lead roles. Although Wahlberg considered it, due to his brother-like relationship with Phoenix, the script was ultimately too sexually graphic for him.
Heath Ledger, uncertain about the role when he was first offered it, was encouraged by his then girlfriend, Naomi Watts, to take it, immediately after they both read the script.
Heath Ledger was only four years older than Kate Mara, who played his daughter Alma Jr. in the movies last scenes (for most of the movie, Alma Jr. was played by younger baby and child actresses; Mara only played her as an older teen once the Ledger character was supposed to be in his forties).
The shirts worn by Ledger and Gyllenhaal that feature prominently in the film, were sold on eBay in February 2006 for $101,100. The buyer, film historian and collector, Tom Gregory, called them the ruby slippers of our time. In 2009, Gregory lent the shirts to The Autry National Center of the American West, a Los Angeles museum that seeks to explore the experiences and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West.
Ang Lees Brokeback Mountain got a lot of attention for being one of the first gay Westerns to hit mainstream theaters. In fact, Andy Warhol had hit the mark more than three decades earlier with his pioneering, Lonesome Cowboys (1969), which was shot on location at Old Tucson Studios in Arizona. But while Warhols film was a genre spoof, Lees work is deadly serious, and directed with an air of precision and solid craftsmanship that harks back to the Westerns of John Ford and Howard Hawks.
Character Quote: I wish I knew how to quit you. ~Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal)