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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.35%
Average: 1.02%
Pretty Bad: 1.02%
Total Crap: 3.06%

2 reviews, 86 user ratings

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Outlaw Josey Wales, The
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by Slyder

"Debunking the myths…"
5 stars

Clint Eastwood has always had a sure hand on Westerns ever since he debuted on Rawhide and did with Sergio Leone the Man with No Name Trilogy as well as several others. But Eastwood always worried about showing the awful truth amongst the genre which has been full of clichés ever since John Wayne rode off with his babe into the sunset in his wagon. It would all culminate with his masterful Unforgiven, but before that, he was well on his way with classics like High Plains Drifter and this little film, which stands as a high watermark in the revisionist western genre.

Josey Wales (Eastwood) is a quiet southern farmer who falls victim of the brutal Redleg gang since his family’s raped and murdered and he’s left for dead. Hell-bent on revenge, Wales finds out that the Redleg gangs is with the Union Army of the North and with a group of farmers headed by “Bloody Bill” Anderson, he joins the Southern Cavalry and the Civil War. The North eventually wins the war over the south, and the farmers whom fought simply to defend their land are now the last of the holdouts. Wales though, has no one to go back to and his thirst for revenge will forever make him an outlaw. After being framed for the killing of the farmers, Wales flees while the Redleg Posse headed by Captain Terrill (Bill McKinney) and including Fletcher (John Vernon) the man who turned in the farmers and was betrayed and now is forced to ride with them, rallies after Wales.

Eastwood and cinematographer Bruce Surtees easily capture the rugged and wild nature of the West, shooting with dark depressed colors and epic-like faded landscapes. The film is long, clocking at 135 minutes, deliberately paced but never boring and it allows the script and characters to develop accordingly. Jerry Fielding’s score stands amongst the finest scores out there and helps the film in certain times when the pace threatens to deaden. Just as he did before with High Plains Drifter, Eastwood takes the premise he originally laid in the Man with No Name Triology as blueprint and further evolves it, bringing in significant new topics which help debunk several myths which the Western genre was once associated with. Thanks to screenwriters Sonia Chernus and the renowned Philip Kaufman (whom was originally to direct the film but fired by Eastwood), no more are the Northern Armies and Southern Armies over-generalized as the saviors of the republic and the evil racist barons respectively. Many people in the south, General Robert E. Lee included didn’t care or agreed with the Confederacy, yet they fought for the south to defend their land, and there will always be bandits whether it’s in the north or in the south.

The subject of the Indians is also touched once Wales meets Lone Wattie (Chief Dan George) and his telling of how the Indians were taken away from their land and resettled. This pretty much blows away the cliché of Indians being a bunch of ignorant savages as a whole new light is shed with these scenes as well as the scene in which Wales confronts Comanche chief Ten Bears (Will Sampson). Wales is also given quite an interesting development, ending somewhat between both a hero and anti-hero, mean with his guns but compelled to help people who have fallen in a similar situation like him (an Indian named Moonlight [Geraldine Keams] and a pair of Kansas natives Granny Sarah [Paula Trueman] and Laura Lee [Sondra Locke looking hotter than ever] whom later be Wales’s love interest); all of this in his quest to somewhat find peace of mind, but with his past haunting him and chasing him down, he never will find it, and he will always be at war until he finally settles it once and for all.

In the end, this is a superbly crafted piece, featuring a strong direction, an engrossing, well-developed story and fine performances all around. The Outlaw Josey Wales is one of the finer Westerns of the genre and along with High Plains Drifter, a prelude to what was to come. 4.5-5

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originally posted: 09/26/04 08:26:59
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User Comments

4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
6/06/12 keith miron I'M not a big fan of the Clint Eastwood westerns 2 stars
11/18/11 Mike Groesbeck one of the best westerns ever made 5 stars
10/20/11 action movie fan very good action acting,eastwood is great but fianl shootout could have been more tense 4 stars
10/08/11 Monday Morning Tom Selleck makes me want to projectile vomit. 5 stars
2/04/11 chuck a few historical inaccuracies, but if not the best, surely in the top ten 5 stars
9/30/10 Ian Kaiser Great perfromance. Comes home with the Border war over here in kansas 5 stars
8/05/09 chicka fergy Brian mckay has been sucking clint eastwood's balls. Good movie but calm down brian l 4 stars
8/05/09 charley hayes Good movie but crap review by slyder whom I dont think has ever seeing a John Wayne movie 4 stars
5/24/09 bud cham pretty good film but best western ever? not even close. nowhere near the searchers wild bun 4 stars
3/13/09 ike THE BEST EVER 5 stars
2/26/08 pkr clint eastwood's best balanced role. and very good film. 5 stars
1/28/08 aye-aye good,but doesn't come near to any of sergio leone, espetially the good the bad and the ugly 4 stars
11/25/07 g webster with wild bunch,unforgiven,once upon a time in west,josey wales-The top 4 5 stars
9/28/07 mr.mike saw it in the theatre - recall it being very good 4 stars
9/23/07 Darryl Machum This movie can stand with any western that's ever been made. 5 stars
8/22/07 Bitchflaps Could this be the greatest revisionist Western? 5 stars
8/02/07 Darrell Thompson Fantastic film, a true western treasure ! 5 stars
6/15/07 Matt Erwin Great, but i kinda liked The Searchers a tad more! 5 stars
6/15/07 fools♫gold So Eastwood does have it in him to direct a (VERYYY) clever classic! 100% 5 stars
5/27/07 Don Moore A real and true to life ( rare for hollywood) movie without all the pc bs! 5 stars
5/26/07 david leach My favorite western. Butch and Sundance second. 5 stars
4/10/07 gene it`s the best of allthe best 5 stars
3/31/07 David Cohen If you only watch one western in your life, make it this one 5 stars
3/20/07 mike johnson classic squint eastwood revenge plot, bang! 5 stars
1/20/07 AJ Muller This, The Wild Bunch, and Unforgiven are the best Westerns ever. Period. 5 stars
9/21/06 Jove 2nd only to unforgiven 5 stars
8/12/06 Sepi53 Great western 5 stars
6/15/06 R.W.Welch Good script and Dan George push this one to the verge of awesome. 4 stars
4/26/06 Modern Man I LOVE this film - "Luke!... Five-thousand gold simoleons walked right in." 5 stars
3/12/06 Gman Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms... 5 stars
2/14/06 Two Gun Top shelf, no question...with great, quotable quotes 5 stars
1/10/06 Mike Great one-liners, great action - badass 5 stars
12/11/05 Lord Jiggy Studied classicism...moving, touching, emotionally mature. Beautiful 5 stars
10/14/05 ram1brn GREAT WESTERN 5 stars
8/23/05 ES My favourite western and a first rate movie 'we gots us the Josey Wales' 5 stars
6/27/05 Terrence Knox Great film! I watch it every chance I get! 5 stars
6/17/05 blondie i like it! 5 stars
6/02/05 tatum Eastwood's best western, and he has done some great ones 5 stars
8/09/04 psycho dwarf unexpected mix of characters & locales in a well-composed western 5 stars
7/17/04 Hoyle Rockin Film, but The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is the best western ever made. 5 stars
7/04/04 eric not the wild bunch but still a great movie 4 stars
6/29/04 Ric Good Clint performance and a few exciting action scenes, but should have been tighter. 3 stars
6/15/04 John a little long winded at times but Eastwood owns the screen 4 stars
5/02/04 Daniel Safer Clever, Clint, Cool 4 stars
4/01/04 sansho A mature, intelligent Western with epic landscapes. 5 stars
3/31/04 raymond squires excellent 5 stars
3/29/04 Steve Its up there with the Magnificent Seven and Bad Day at Black Rock--better than Unforgiven 5 stars
3/23/04 KGB Nah... I thought his 'Dirty' Harry films were better 4 stars
1/27/04 Will Not the best western ever, but certainly very high quality in its own right. 5 stars
12/23/03 the Grinch My favorite western...." gonna pull those pistols or whistle dixie?" 5 stars
12/21/03 tony7713 possibly the best epic western ever. On a par with the searchers 5 stars
10/14/03 P-DUB Eastwood's 2nd best western after THE GOOD etc. 5 stars
9/18/03 HUGH It is Clint at his best, I love when he spits on the dog 5 stars
9/05/03 Shoot 'im Abe! This movie has it all! See it, memorize it, live it! 5 stars
8/03/03 Bob Bauman Clint's Best, Revenge takes another meaning ! 5 stars
6/24/03 Mark One of the 2 best ever! (Maybe Unforgiven, but I can't decide...) 5 stars
5/04/03 GOD and saw that it was good 5 stars
2/11/03 Ubu the Ripper Finest Western Ever Made. A True Masterpiece. 5 stars
12/30/02 EL PAALO Love it. Own it. I use a pic from the set for my avatar. 5 stars
12/23/02 Large Farve Eh, wasn't what I thought it would be 1 stars
12/03/02 SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION my favourite eastwood western and i have all of dem on dvd 5 stars
11/15/02 H. Griffin Excellent Western! Great characters!!! 5 stars
6/08/02 Ronald Dawson Hands down the Greatest Western Ever! 5 stars
3/01/02 Mitchel Barley Where the hell can I get a script? 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance Good ol Clint!! Can't messs with mr eastwood 4 stars
11/26/01 Jim Rimmer GWEM 5 stars
11/25/01 tony r. by far the greatest western ever, my wife sounds like your girl friend. o well their loss 5 stars
11/20/01 Seamus O'toole Best Fucking Western Ever!!! 5 stars
11/20/01 lladnarc Makes me wanna take up chewin' 5 stars
11/12/01 Aaron As Good As 'Once Upon A Time In The West' 5 stars
10/16/01 Mr. Hat Clint Eastwood actually opens his mouth when he talks in this movie! Amazing! 4 stars
10/13/01 Ross Rankin A bottle of whiskey, a can of Coppenhagen, & Josey Wales - it don't get any better than tha 5 stars
9/29/01 Don B the best movie of it time even today's movies don't stand with this film. 5 stars
9/23/01 Larry Smith If it's Clint Eastwood.. you can give it an "A"....... 5 stars
9/09/01 Stranded on the Island pretty good but not classic like good, bad & ugly 4 stars
9/03/01 the Grinch Best Western ever made? Damn STRAIGHT! 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla it was a good western 4 stars
5/19/00 tank Fantastic, subtle western with similar themes to those explored in Unforgiven (1992). 4 stars
5/14/99 "the Outlaw" is a one-man killing machine, this must be Clints' highest body count ever.A+! 5 stars
4/06/99 David FUCKING A AWESOME 5 stars
2/25/99 little jerry Clint proves he's THE director of westerns for the last 25 years. 5 stars
2/12/99 slink great Clint flick,the best western he ever made! 5 stars
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  02-Feb-1976 (PG)


  02-Jul-1976 (PG)

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