What list of forgotten ‘70s films would be complete without an appearance by great director Monte Hellman? His existential masterpiece Two-Lane Blacktop would be a likely choice, but it is not as forgotten as it once was. Instead, Cockfighter seems to encompass all the bases. Forgotten, overlooked and overshadowed, Cockfighter is a true diamond in the film rough. It was shot by Nestor Almendros, who was a great cinematographer, Academy Award winner, and a friend of Hellman
Warren Oates portrays a man who wants to become Cockfighter of the year in the sub-cultural world of game cockfighting. Oates, thought of as only a character actor, he carries the entire film. Like a monk, he has taken a vow of silence as penance for past sins. Oates is a good actor and shows it by spending most of the film with no dialogue, only hand gestures, and expressive face and body movements.