The movie is about a Sicilian family who migrates to America in the 1890’s and starts the winemaking business. The Sicilian family-the Collogeros and another winemaking family are shown to be living in California. They come into conflict with railroad baron, William Bradford Berrigan (Dennis Hopper), who is after their land to construct railroads through the wine plantation.
Sebastian Collogeros (Giancarlo Giannini) is the head of the Collogeros family. He has 2 children, siblings Marco (Eric Roberts) and Maria (Julia Roberts). Marco is shown to be no good, especially since he doesn’t care about the business or the dispute that has escalated between railroad owner William Bradford Berrigan and his family. He is in love with Angelica (Lara Harris), who is the daughter of a rival wine plantation owner.
However, things get heated and start to escalate into a full-fledged feud with guerilla warfare. Maria is witness to her father’s murder, who is tortured and killed in front of her by Berrigan’s thugs. Berrigan is desperate to get his hands on the land which cuts through the Collogeros’ wine plantation as also the land of some of the surrounding Sicilian families’ wine plantations.
After his father is murdered and matters reach a breaking point Marco decides to take the law into his own hands. He gathers his friends and plans a revolt against the railroad tycoon. He becomes an outlaw in the process, but manages to win over the other Sicilians from neighboring wine plantations, creating an army of sorts.
Blood Red is more a quasi-western movie with gun slingers and paybacks. While the movie may start off as a social drama which has a cause, it soon turns into a full-fledged western, complete with fistfights and gun plays. One of her first movies, Julia Roberts may have done a decent role, but there isn’t enough of a role given to her. She mostly stands around in the background looking pretty with hardly any dialogues. The script gives a stronger role to Eric Roberts, who is shown to be a one man army created to wreak havoc and get revenge for the murder of his father.
The movie did not do too well in the box office, but seems to have inspired many people to actually look up the history of railroads development in America. The only problem is its direction and focus. It starts off as a period drama broaching an important issue, but soon turns into a western solely running on revenge. As a result, the end is predictable and could have been better written. But, overall the movie is worth a watch.