The great John Wayne was a little disappointed by the success of 1971’s Dirty Harry. After all, Wayne turned down the role which would go on to become one of cinema’s most iconic heroes and solidify Clint Eastwood’s screen stardom. By way of consolation, Wayne made a pair of cop movies in 1974 and 1975, McQ and Brannigan.
Brannigan is a fish out of water tale which sees Chicago Police Lieutenant Jim Brannigan (Wayne) sent to London so that he can transport John Vernon’s crime boss back to the US. Things don’t go to plan and soon Brannigan is handing-out his own brand of Chicago style justice with his Colt Diamondback – much to the annoyance of Richard Attenborough’s uptight Commander Swann.
Filming for the Douglas Hickox directed film took place over nine weeks in 1974. Locations included London’s Tower Bridge and Piccadilly Circus. Brannigan‘s interiors were shot at Shepperton Studios.
Brannigan failed to connect with audiences (or critics) and bombed at the box office in 1975, ultimately proving to be one of the actor’s least successful films. It would also be one of Wayne’s final roles – he followed it up with Rooster Cogburn (also in 1975) and 1976’s The Shootist.
John Wayne would pass away from stomach cancer in June 1979, just four years after Brannigan released.