Looking Back at Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

Plot: When gunslinger Hogan (Clint Eastwood) discovers a group of men attempting to rape a young nun, Sara (Shirley MacLaine), he shoots them dead and rescues the woman. The two escape to a nearby camp of Mexican revolutionaries, who have hired Hogan to help fight the invading French army. En route, Sara turns out to be surprisingly crude for a nun, drinking, smoking and using curse words. When she also proves to be handy with a gun, Hogan begins wondering if she is telling him the whole truth.

Two Mules for Sister Sara tells the story of a wandering cowboy, Hogan (played by Clint Eastwood), who finds himself on a mission to escort a nun named Sara (played by Shirley MacLaine) across dangerous terrain during the Mexican Revolution.

The movie wastes no time in getting going with Hogan rescuing Sara from a group of thugs; Hogan could only be played by Eastwood as he brings that easy charisma and effortless cool but I like how he isn’t totally unstoppable and even gets injured during the movie. Not only does Hogan rescue Sara but she ends up rescuing him as well so the pair need each other.

I liked that Sara is no damsel in distress; she is a tough, independent woman who is not afraid to fight for what she believes in. Shirley MacLaine brings a certain charm to the role, making Sara a memorable and likeable character. Apparently Shirley MacLaine did not get along with director Don Siegel during the shoot and they openly fought regularly.

What sets this movie apart is its ability to seamlessly blend comedy, romance, action, and drama, all while maintaining the classic Western feel. The witty banter between Hogan and Sister Sara provides much-needed comic relief from the tense situations they encounter, and their growing romance adds a touch of sweetness to an otherwise gritty tale.

In terms of action there are a few shoot-outs, a train crashing off an exploding bridge and the bullet riddled finale is satisfying however, it is a little talky at times and the pacing does drag but this is to focus on the growing bond between our two leads.

Within the first few seconds you know Ennio Morricone is providing the music score as it has his undeniable style from the get go; I love how he makes the main theme sound like a mule (you’ll understand what I mean when you watch it).

Overall, Two Mules for Sister Sara isn’t exactly packed with action but there’s enough to keep you engaged and it’s an entertaining ride that leaves you satisfied with Eastwood and MacLaine delivering powerful performances that make this movie worth checking out.