One of the best unknown Westerns of the last 20 years or so, Barbarosa stars Willie Nelson and Gary Busey in a story of revenge and honor. Nelson plays a ex-Texas Ranger, Barbarosa, who's now a lone bandit, preying on rich Mexicans. During a disagreement, he formerly crippled his father-in-law to be, a Mexican landowner and still deeply loves the landowner's daughter with whom he has had a daughter.
Busey is a Texas farmhand who accidentally killed his brother-in-law--his sister's husband--and is now out on his own, pursued by his brother-in-law's two brothers for revenge. Similarly, Barbarosa is being pursued by the landowner's top gun, a fiery Mexican who vows Barbarosa's death.
The two, Nelson and Busey, meet by accident and join up for a time. During that time we get to see the West as it very likely really looked about 100 years ago (more specifically, the Southwest--i.e., southern Texas); the cinematography is magnificent. One of the critical ingredients in any great Western is great cinematography and that is very much in display here. As well, the score by Bruce Smeaton is excellent.
Nelson and Busey do a great job--their accents certainly don't hurt (both men are originally from that part of the U.S.), and so does the supporting cast. Fred Schepisi, the director, has a perfect sense of pacing and momentum that pulls the viewer along with very little tugging indeed. Armadillos figure in the mix, as do old men with guns and younger men buried up to their necks. There's a hacienda, a cantina, and an outdoor festival. The film drips with Western atmosphere, no question.
Highly recommended for fans of the genre.