The Professionals is a 1966 American western starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Ryan, and Woody Strode. The supporting cast includes Jack Palance and Ralph Bellamy and the film was written and directed by Richard Brooks, whose screenplay was based upon the novel A Mule for the Marquesa by Frank O'Rourke. The movie received three Academy Award nominations and an enthusiastic critical reception. In the latter period of the Mexican Revolution, Rancher and Oil Tycoon J.W. Grant (Ralph Bellamy) hires four men, who are all experts in their respective fields, to rescue his kidnapped wife, Maria (Claudia Cardinale) from Jesus Raza (Jack Palance), a former Mexican Revolutionary leader turned bandit.