User Reviews (22)

Add a Review

  • This movie is absolutely adorable. Having seen it many times throughout the years, each time I find more fun and silliness in it. The silly and animated acting reminds me somewhat of "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken", another great adventure film. It is not meant to be a "romance movie" as it is too ridiculous, but more an adventure, with breathtaking scenery. Peter Fonda's part of a 35 year old or so gambler, never does anything to abuse or hurt Wanda, "Brooke Shields" who is coming of age and wants to see the world and be a star. He is very respectful of her and respects her younger age. The only one who really announces his desire to "have her" is the sidekick of the bad guys, who ends up dead hanging on a cross. Bo and Wanda both are looking for the "Pot O Gold" in their lives, and happen to partner up. She brings out the good luck charm and they end up happy together, yeah, so there is a slight difference in age, there is no sex or nastiness in the movie. The so called "bad acting" that some people mention is their hamming it up to add to the script. I think they are having a great time with it, and those of you that think it's so bad, lighten up and have a laugh. Maybe you'll enjoy life more.
  • ebiros212 November 2005
    For some strange reason, the odd couple consisting of Peter Fonda and Brooke Shield works in this movie. The movie plot is basically a fantasy and you shouldn't try to see it as a western or a drama. Both of them somehow wind up being partners in a gold prospecting trip inside the Grand Canyon. Brooke Shields is portrayed in her usual role as a much more mature than her natural age girl, who's an even match to the older prospector played by Peter Fonda. The comical part is the way she tries to sell herself as an adult to Fonda, and eventually Fonda takes her in as his partner. The plot may not work for mature audiences in this country, but in other parts of the world, such genre exists as fantasy/adventure and might be getting high marks. I give two thumbs up for Brooke Shields and Peter Fonda.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    And I loved it! It's very hammy as the previous poster noted, but that is part of its simple charm. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for it - and yes, the scenery is gorgeous! I can agree to one extent about the age difference, but having been a young gal who always had crushes on older fellows, I don't see anything seriously wrong with this one. I see nothing serious happening in it, just hints and in 1979 that was just "kinda" creepy.

    I saw this before there was much internet and surely no IMDb -- so finding Henry Fonda's name in the credits (Yep, used to read those) was quite the thrill! Luckily it was on cable and I got to watch again and watch Hank more closely - what a gem.

    Sweet movie, simple fun, no big heavy stuff to deal with. I also enjoyed the time it was set in. :)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In 1979 I avoided this movie. Such were my tastes then. Most people in my age group at the time, late 20s, were somewhat aghast about the whole Brooke Shields-as-a-movie-star concept. People in my age cohort will remember how she was regarded back then: a little bit gawky, and with her long dark hair, flawless skin, and overpowering eyebrows, she was also seen as preternaturally adult-like, uncomfortably so. Her mother exacerbated that discomfort, with her apparent intent to get her daughter cast into roles to highlight and exploit that preternatural adult-like quality, to essentially sexualize her preteen, early-teens daughter. Mom seemed convinced she had the next Elizabeth Taylor on her hands which she was determined to cash in on. The camera loved Brooke, no question, still and moving cameras alike, she was photogenic her entire life, but this nevertheless was a phase when watching her on screen was on the uncomfortable side. With all that I took a pass in 1979, and never really thought about it again. Brooke went on to have a credible career as a real adult, particularly on television, and particularly after she began making her own career decisions. When thinking about Brooke Shields as she was, her early career, and her being sexually exploited, I've flashed on Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon. Wanda Nevada was forgotten about, at least by me.

    Wanda Nevada was on cable TV this weekend, and I decided to watch it. I must say, it surprised me. Premium cable being what it is, movies shown are shown over and over, so I watched it twice. It is a charming, almost whimsical little movie. Equally charming is Brooke Shields in it.

    A few things about the movie bothered me, but overall I found myself liking it more than not. This movie is largely Peter Fonda's movie. He directed and he starred as the male lead opposite Brooke Shields, but he didn't write it and he didn't produce it, the importance of which distinctions will become clear below. Fonda directed the players, mainly himself and Brooke. And with Brooke, he did it well. Little Brooke steals the movie.

    One little thing Fonda could have corrected if he had known to is the annoying repetitive pronunciation of Wanda's last name as "Nev-ah-da," the way many east coast people say it. This movie was set in the desert southwest, where people know how to properly pronounce Nevada, something I know, because I'm from there. Nev-aaa-da. The middle "a" is a short "a", as in bad, mad, sad or dad.

    Another thing I could've done without was the supernatural sub-text. The Native American lore was great. Even the psychological fear of Indian ghosts by itself would've been great. But when glowing ghost Indian arrows start flying, actually harming and killing real characters, verisimilitude goes out the window, and it stops being a movie which takes itself seriously.

    My biggest problem with the movie relates to my comments above about the sexualization of Brooke Shields. First, let's be clear: Brooke Shields IS NOT sexualized in this movie, nor is she exploited in that way either. The story itself is nevertheless disturbing. Brooke Shields and her character were 13 years old here, and Fonda and his character were 38. There is no way to mistake or misinterpret the implied intended love interest between them, especially with them riding off into the sunset with one another, which is what we are left with, him 38 and her 13, together, that way, end of story. Beaudray is clearly not Wanda's father figure, guardian, big brother, or business partner. Happily, nothing overt, untoward, or even suggestive between them is explicitly depicted. No touches, kisses, embraces, not even any coy glances or facial expressions. Peter Fonda deserves enormous credit for this. My guess is whoever put this movie project together, along with the stage mother, conceived it as another explosively hot vehicle for Brooke Shields as the marquee player, fresh off Pretty Baby the year before, with The Blue Lagoon to follow the next year. In other words, to be exploited the same way. They knew what they wanted, and Peter Fonda was thusly told to follow the script as written. Fonda meanwhile recognized what this material was, and he knew what NOT to do with it. I read elsewhere that Fonda's acting performance was not good here, that Brooke out-performed him. Maybe that's for a reason. Maybe Fonda the actor was trying to take the Beaudray Demerille character some place other than that of a 38-year old man who would take a 13-year old girl as his lover, layering him with other nuances, giving him other motivations. Remember, Peter Fonda's daughter, Bridgette, is just a year older than Brooke Shields. Men with 14-year old daughters don't want such aged girls in the way this story goes, nor are they remotely titillated by the idea. Usually it's a repulsive thought. Which I submit is what may have been going on here with Peter Fonda. Left to his own devices and given the freedom, I say he would've told a little different story, and probably a better one too. Riding off into the sunset as they did, into the ever-after, was a disturbingly poor ending under the circumstances.

    Chalk it up to the times. In the 1970s movie makers either pushed the envelope with these themes, or seemed oblivious to what they were doing. Summer of 42, Taxi Driver, Pretty Baby, The Blue Lagoon, Wanda Nevada. Could these movies have ever been made at any other time, before or since? Of those, maybe Wanda Nevada, maybe because Peter Fonda saved it from itself. Say what you want about the Fonda clan, but sexploitation of 13-year olds is not their style. And by the way, watch for the cameo of Henry Fonda.
  • I've read a lot of negative reviews for the film, and yes, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but somehow I've always enjoyed the movie in a "dumb fun" sort of way. But maybe I'm biased because the town scenes were shot in Prescott, Arizona where I lived, and as a teenager, I remember the excitement of the film crew hitting town. I can identify all of the town locations---the Mt. Breeze Motel (sign clearly seen on screen) is no longer standing today. And, of course, all of the teenage boys I knew thought Brooke Shields was hot! As far as the film goes, its whimsy worked well on me. It has been on video, and it has had a few TV airings, but it seems to have done quite a disappearing act these last few years. I don't know why---maybe it is because of the strongly implied love affair between the middle-aged Peter Fonda and the 13 year old Brooke Shields (whose on-screen character is 13 as well). Such things don't sit too well, and rightly so, in the present day, but people didn't think so much of it back in 1979.
  • I find it offensive that so many reviewers have sided with Wanda's oppressors and would rather see her locked up in a "reform school" -- where the only thing that would be re-formed is her sweet spirit. Why have so many people still not realized that chronological age is not an accurate gauge of anyone's emotional maturity? As a Master Yoga Therapist and Jungian, I know that men with black-and-white morality values cannot face finding a thirteen-year-old sexually or romantically attractive; so they suppress their desire and compensate by rejecting the catalyst. A similar syndrome is the father who compensates for an unconscious desire for his daughter by rejecting all her potential suitors as "not good enough" for her. Older women often have problems with those who are young and attractive.

    The precious message of this charmingly unpretentious film is this: All General Rules of behavior must be given room for grand exceptions. After all, it is these that make life worth living.
  • Wanda Nevada is probably one of the oddest movies ever made, yet it ends up working very well. Brooke Shields is salty and sassy and delightful but the two bad guys in this movie actually steal the show and they're performances are a 'must see' reason to watch this movie. Entertaining in a Pups, Ghost World kind of way.
  • This film is not one of the all-time greats, or even close to becoming one, but it does have two of the most memorable badmen ever portrayed on film...Ted Markland as Strap the Be-Bop Killer, and Lew Askew as his trusty sidekick, Ruby. The two of them are positively hysterical in what should have been a straight badguy role, but they work so well together (great friends in real life) and play off each other so smoothly that their deadpan delivery makes this otherwise droll film shine. We get an idea of what is to come when Wanda innocently turns to Strap and asks what he does for a living. "Banks," he deadpans, cracking his gum. "We rob banks." The mayhem continues from there, as Strap and Ruby chase their quarry into the Grand Canyon. Don't miss it!
  • jmoore-3416 July 2006
    OK,I'm prejudiced.I watched this movie in Livingston,Montana when it came out in the local theatre.There were a few rather rowdy folks behind me in an otherwise pretty empty house and they were being a bit noisier than I liked.After a few pointed stares and shushes as the movie started I got PO'D and turned around and flat told them to "shut the Hell up!".It was with some chagrin that about two minutes later I recognized Peter Fonda on screen as the guy sitting behind me.........

    Now,context.The movie is set in the early 50's(Studebaker Hawks etc) and the relationship between the Fonda character and the Shields character reflects/mirrors that between jerry lee Lewis and his child bride and Elvis Presley and Priscilla! Either it is totally coincidental or Old Petey was at least trying to be prescient.

    Yes it is a kinda dopey movie but I did enjoy it,not just because Peter was sitting behind me (He is a darn nice guy,not at like his nasty sister) but it was just a rather harmless bit of fun movie.Nuff said. John
  • commanderkitty26 August 2007
    I loved it.of course ain't one of those movies u have to watch over and over again to get its meaning cos ain't much to analyze but thats what i liked was simple funny and romantic and i also liked it cos when i was bout her age little older 15 I met this guy that resembled Pete Fonda ^^ and was in his 30's i watched it by those days i start seeing him ..about Brooke Shields she couldn't be any cuter and hilarious ,funny how her make up hair and clothes remains untouchable although she spends all those days in the mountains..^^ many more goofs but still cool..loved the nuns at the end...Jime By submitting this comment you are agreeing to the terms laid out in our Copyright Statement. Your submission must be your own original work. Your comments will normally be posted on the site within 2-3 business days. Comments that do not meet the guidelines will not be posted. Please write in English only. HTML or boards mark-up is not supported though paragraph breaks will be inserted if you leave a blank line between paragraph.
  • aci-418 February 2018
    10/10
    funny
    Ok , this movie is one of those that you will not watch over and over and over again. Its kinda goofy , has it all, fantasy ,taboo, action,romance, and AMAZING scenery to see! One of the best parts of the movie is the scenery. As far as the plot and acting goes, well.. i aint too impressed, its not bad but too much fantasy in it, maybe it would look way better if it was made to be more realistic. As far as the taboo part goes, well... someone already said it, age doesnt really show maturity. Age is like a road sight that says , next city is in 100 miles, it doesnt and cannot say how much time you'll need to get there, that is up to you how fast you can/wanna drive. And im always glad i mean was,cause today its rare that they make a 13yo caracter be played by a real 13yo,when theres a "mature" subject in the movie,.. well at least thats how it is in Hollywood now ... too bad. I totaly love it when the actors are really the age they are playing. What to say about Brooke? .. trully one of a kind. All in all , not so well acted movie, with a tabooish story in it ,and a great scenery all around.
  • A poker playing Peter Fonda winds up the winner of an attractive and spunky thirteen year old orphan played by Brooke Shields. Too young to be his girlfriend, he nevertheless finds himself stuck with her, in a plot that has the two of them in a kind of buddy film about a gold strike in the Grand Canyon. The first few scenes are interesting. A poker game in the back room of a barber shop, and later a scene in a bar, and the adventure through the Grand Canyon is beautifully captured by the cinematographer. As well, this is essential viewing for fans of Brooke Shields, who has plenty of vitality and energy. In spite of its good points, the characters are mostly unbelievable, especially the two bad guys. That's because this film doesn't establish itself as much more than a misdirected new age adventure comedy.
  • newday9807411 November 2008
    Wanda Nevada is a pubescent fantasy movie using circa 1979 ideas of what constitutes illicit romance for 13 year old girls. Script, pacing, and direction are uniformly awful. Action sequences defy belief. Characters speak with the simplified diction one usually finds in films aimed at the under 10 set, but also includes multiple sexual references involving Shields' character as well as graphic deaths.

    The movie wants to be a comedy on some level but is never funny, an adventure picture but plot and action are insipid, and a children's movie but introduces pedophilia and child rape as real possibilities. It also wants to be a buddy picture, a coming of age picture, a ghost movie, an Indian spiritual movie, a travelogue, and a western. The overall affect is of massive stupidity with a nasty twist. Wanda Nevada is a complete waste of time unless you want to see a good many terrific shots of the Grand Canyon. That it manages to do just fine.
  • Any movie in which Brooke Shields out-acts a Fonda is going to be both an anomaly and a horror. Shields actually is only bad because she's youthful, inexperienced, and clearly not well directed by her co-star. Peter Fonda is bad because, well, because he's bad. I liked him in Ulee's Gold, years later, but Lord above, he's awful here. Not that anyone else is good. There's not a single performance (outside Henry Fonda's delightful cameo) that is even passable. I've never seen a movie with this many bad performances. In the case of Luke Askew, the chief villain, it's clear this is because of poor dialogue and direction, as he's done good work in the past. But his partner, played by Ted Markland, is an embarrassing ham. The writing is just bloody awful, and the actors cannot be faulted for the terrible things they have to say. But they say them so badly! The editing and direction are worse than pedestrian. Shots are held way too long for no dramatic reason, or cut off before the impact of the scene can be realized. This picture was far worse than I'd imagined and would have been utterly forgotten (and probably never even made) without the participation of a couple of famous names. One bright spot: the cinematography in the Grand Canyon is exquisite, capturing the beauty of that area in a way even big-screen Imax productions have not quite done so well. And finally: either this is a bad version of Paper Moon, with a lovable pair of father-daughter types, or it's a bad version of Pretty Baby, with a considerably more icky romantic relationship between a forty-something and a 13-year-old. It suggests more of the latter than the former, and thus is pretty disturbing.
  • newnoir27 November 2000
    Man oh man! What a bizarre piece of filmmaking! But this is a guilty pleasure from my childhood even though I hate to admit it. They showed this movie on my basic cable system all the time. Where I grew up in San Jose, California (right on the border of Cupertino) we had this thing called The G Channel on our cable system where they basically showed the same one movie over and over and over again. Wanda Nevada was one of those movies. I fell in lust and love with the young Brooke Shields and loved her adventures in the Grand Canyon in the 1950s. The script at times makes almost no sense, the film contains one of the lamest four character gun shootouts ever, highlights are that Henry Fonda makes an appearance, some beautiful shots of the Grand Canyon, a cool 1970s film score, a lot of dialog that's so bad it's good and a nice Carole King song played over the end credits. Maybe you have to be stoned to truly enjoy this flick. And hey, everybody knows there ain't no gold in the Grand Canyon!
  • bkoganbing28 August 2013
    I have to say I'm not sure what to make of this film after seeing Peter Fonda with Brooke Shields at the tender age of 14 making this film in the title role. Does the concept jailbait have any meaning here?

    The film is set in the more innocent early 50s, in fact 1950 as one of our villains is worried about just getting a draft notice for Korea. Gambler/Drifer Peter Fonda winds young Brooke Shields in a poker game and then Brooke happens to get the map and some gold nuggets courtesy of a recently deceased Paul Fix. Fonda and Shields decide to go prospecting in the Grand Canyon.

    You know had Wanda Nevada been cast with someone Brooke's age as the lead, say Christopher Atkins for instance this film might have worked as a kid's adventure film. But with Fonda or anyone his age the movie is strange at best.

    Henry Fonda plays a grizzled old prospector with a beard like Gabby Hayes which completely covers his face together with goggle glasses. But his voice is unmistakable. He's only got one scene with his son and Wanda Nevada as mediocre and strange as it is has some historical significance as a joint project with father and son. Sister Jane did a whole lot better with On Golden Pond.
  • Dorothyinoz22 August 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Peter Fonda lends a great comic performance in this film, which is his 3rd time directing. It's a great little film and I enjoyed the humorous quarrels and spats between him Brooke Shields. She is surprisingly great as a funny sassy brat posing as a woman . Fonda's character can see right through and calls her "a skinny little runt " that talks way too much. The funny scenes where Fonda pleads with God and talks to a mule for assurance are great. Shields' character knows how to push Fonda's buttons and even steals a ride with him unaware. After all the near death experiences they go through, along with cleverly used male and female counterpoints for jealousy between the two, they do fall in a caring love for each other. I see his character as a father figure protecting her begrudgingly so she doesn't wind up as "buzzard's bait" in the Grand Canyon search for gold. He even tells her he's too old for her. This is not an exploitation film of a younger girl older man romance but rather a fantasy adventure of two money hungry misfits out for riches with killers following them. It is a fun film and the chemistry between Fonda and Shields is warm and undeniable, though never sexual. I find the humor and performances stand above all else .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This picture from 1979 is quite entertaining, actually. On the surface it seems to be a light quasi-western comedy with murder, and a mystery treasure hunt. But there is a problem, the picture turns out to be the ultimate cradle and snatch movie. It is an example of a movie that stepped over a boundary of social morays. . .and I believe helped set the stage for some of what is allowed along moral physical lines in film making today. It is pretty quirky and a fun picture to watch, however. I will give it that. It tries to stay sweet while all the time building up a sexual attraction between the 2 leads, Brooke Sheilds (13), and Peter Fonda, who looks to be about 35 in the picture. Since Peter Fonda is the director also, it must be him who I must assail to have created this unseemly, immoral paradigm for lustful regress with this young almost pre-teen. Strange as it seems, this picture is well enough made to be called enjoyable. It never goes very far toward any kind of actual sexuality, so it skirts danger that way, but the very idea of it is a bit hard to take. The cinematography in the Grand Canyon gets some decent treatment, and the music, especially the Carol King songs are a treat.
  • In the Southwest circa 1950, a poor gambler (not above a little cheating) wins an orphaned, would-be teen Lolita in a botched poker game. After getting hold of a treasure map promising gold in the Grand Canyon, the bickering twosome become prospectors. Peter Fonda is an actor/director asleep at the wheel; he is so enervated here, his lachrymose line-readings cancel out any irony intended in the dialogue. Whether trading would-be sassy barbs with Brooke Shields or fingering a barely-there mustache under his nose, Fonda doesn't reveal a character so much as an unsure actor being directed by an unsure filmmaker--himself! The movie has a few nice touches and pretty vistas, and the camera loves Shields' youthful beauty (although the young actress exhibits very little personality and no screen presence). Still, it's a fatigued, forgettable comedy-drama with lots of puttering along plus an odd cameo by Henry Fonda, nearly unrecognizable as a grizzled canyon man. * from ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I rented this movie because it falls under the genres of "romance" and "western" with some Grand Canyon scenery thrown in. But if you're expecting a typical wholesome romantic western, forget it. This movie is pure trash! The romance is between a YOUNG GIRL who has not even gone through puberty and a MIDDLE-AGED MAN! The child is also lusted after by other leering men. It's sickening.

    Peter Fonda is portrayed as being virtuous by trying to resist his attraction to Brooke Shields, and her character is mostly the one that pursues the relationship. He tries to shoo her off at first but eventually he gives in and they drive off as a happy, loving couple. It's revolting.

    I don't see how this movie could appeal to anyone except pedophiles.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Really, seriously this movie is a complete waste of time. Made by the most inept and undistinguished of directors (not very good actor either) Peter Fonda, and staring Brooke Shields as...you guessed it...a child-woman-sex-object. Peter Fonda simply cannot act, period. He misses such basic acting chores like showing emotion, reacting to emotion or building a believable character that this film is unwatchable. Whatever range of human emotion Mr. Fonda has at this point in time is kept tightly under wraps for any on screen appearances. Maybe the juxtaposition of being the director and any calling all the shots got him wrapped up in daily stresses enough to shut down his acting mojo? Just guessing, but it seems very plausible.

    The plot is a complete disorganized mess, although I do agree with other that somehow the tone of the film changes about halfway mark, from insipid ride-along-whimsy actor banter (filmed no less) to milquetoast-Hallmark Film-quality-third-grader-level drama. Casting Broke Shields was a mistake too, because she cannot act either. She is way too to immature. What do you get when you add zero to zero? Yup, nothing'. The other actors try, but even those professionals can't carry the heavy burden.

    I think the writers should have been able to save this but, the story and script just are not A-quality. There is no grand arc of drama, no reason to care about these people, nothing but to keep watching to see if something happens romantically between these two. It does not, which is a credit to Brooke Shield's parents for not completely pimping her out at such a young age (in this instance).

    But I have to say I think Brooke Shields has slowly and methodically built a solid core of acting (over many years) that is miles above this primitive attempt. And she is one of the most stunning beauties to ever be photographed or filmed. Case in point is the film Blue Lagoon where she actually gets good lines, is well directed and has developed some rudimentary but powerful acting ability. Not her best, but certainly much better than this film.
  • Beaudray Demerille(a weak Peter Fonda, who also directed), an aging gambler, wins young teen Wanda "Nevada"(pretty, but not talented Brooke Shields) in a poker game. Together the unlikely pair(of course)embark on a search for Indian gold in the Grand Canyon.

    That's the story and there really is no need to search for a deeper meaning in it. It just isn't there. The acting is very weak too, which was quite a surprise given the fact that Peter Fonda was in the lead.

    If you're looking for something interesting in this film, take a look at the nice scenery and some good looks of a young Brooke Shields. Her character however is so irritating(especially at the beginning)and dumb, that she never quite comes off as sexy or appealing. Too bad, but, given the story, I doubt anything more could be made of this. I wonder why Peter Fonda directed and starred in this film. He must have even talked his father(Henry Fonda)into a (useless) cameo in this ridiculous mess. Unfortunately, this was their only film together. Couldn't Henry be in EASY RIDER for example? 3/10