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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Clint Eastwood's 31st film as an actor, 20th as international star and fifth as director, was the first to win him widespread respect. Critics had grumbled when the producer-star replaced Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff) in the director's chair a week into shooting. They ended up cheering when Eastwood delivered both his most sympathetic performance to date and--with the heroic collaboration of cinematographer Bruce Surtees--an impressive Panavision epic that stresses the scruffiness, rather than the scenic splendours, of frontier life.
During the Civil War, Union "Redlegs" attack Southerner Josey Wales's dirt farm and wipe out his family. Seeking vengeance, Wales throws in with a company of Reb guerrillas. Tagged as a renegade after the surrender, he flees west into the vastness of the Indian Territories, where, quite unintentionally, he finds himself cast as the straight-shooting paterfamilias of an ever-growing, spectacularly motley community of misfits and castaways. This is to say, Josey's personal quest for survival and something like peace of mind evolves into a funky, multicultural allegory of the healing of America.
Josey Wales is good, not great, Eastwood. The big-gun fetishism can get tiresome, and too many characters exist only to serve as six-gun (and at one point Gatling gun) fodder. But mostly the film is agreeably eccentric, and almost furtively sweet in spirit--a key transitional title in the Eastwood filmography, and one of his most entertaining
This is the western for which Clint Eastwood ought to have won his Oscars. Deservedly nominated for Best Picture in 1976, the buzz that year was with Copolla's second installment of the Godfather saga, and Eastwood's amazing cinematic masterpiece was ignored. That he was finally recognized for the much-inferior "Unforgiven" is a shameful irony.
The western genre was in decline by the 1970s and had largely devolved into cliché or cartoonish parody. The genius of Eastwood's vision was to take traditional western stereotypes and turn them on their heads, demythologize the rigidly black/white good-vs-evil Saturday morning matineé morality, and show us characters with real depth, real motivations and real inner conflicts; not always "good" or always "bad" but sometimes walking a fine line, driven to one side or the other by circumstances beyond one man's control.
The look of the film is gorgeous, showing us a smokey, autumnal by-gone world, sometimes crude, often gritty. It's not clear we'd want to live in such a time or place, but we are drawn in nonetheless. Wonderful acting, and a whole passel of great character actors (including the inimitable Chief Dan George) bring the story to vibrant life. There's plenty of action to keep the adrenaline flowing, and the story draws to a logical, satisfying, if artfully understated, conclusion. The score is also worthy of note; spare and expansive all at once, it ranks as one of the best to come out of the 70s.
Re-issued on DVD in 2001, this must-have western has been out of print for several years now and is becoming increasingly difficult to find except in some large, expensive anthology boxes. I'd recommend picking it up as soon as you can, especially since this DVD includes a fine "making of" documentary, an excellent companion to the film that you won't find anywhere else.
This is my favorite spagetti western!! Called Spagetti because made in Italy with many other movies in a flurry of filming activity, which produced many films in a short period of time. Not great movies, but they have become classics because Clint Eastwood starred in them, and his career has drawn intense interest.
A man joins the Rebel cause, because of murder of his wife and child by a Union officer, "Redlegs." His troop fight as long as they can against the Union, and when they are captured, they are betrayed again by the evil Union officer and a gatlin' gun. Jose Wales escapes, and is hunted down by Redlegs, until everyone is shot, but him and Jose. They decide finally that their dispute is not important anymore, and both take lessons away from this conflict that measure the entire scope of the Civil War, death, and what happens to principles when the world falls apart.
Appealing mostly to men, this story is complete, and offers a glimpse of life in the desperate lane. Great movie from the best actor to ever produce western's: CLINT EASTWOOD.
Have you ever finished cooking your favorite comfort meal, and you decide to watch a movie while you enjoy your dinner? Well, this is one of those movies. Not to violent, not to vulgar, or gory, but just right. This is the movie that everyone my house always agree to. Josey Wales is our family time movie.
Set during the Civil War era, Eastwood's family is murdered, and he rides off with a group of vigilantes to seek revenge. Eastwood is excellent. This guy really knows how to make a Western!
The movies other characters are great also. My family and I especially love the characters voices and southern dialect. It's so funny ! Like, "slow, like lasses in the winter time...." This particular scene always cracks us up. We just eat and laugh, and laugh and eat, while enjoying this movie. Eastwood is great stuff guys. Buy it on Ebay and get a good deal.
I have both; VHS and DVD, in case either breaks down.
Josey's adventure arises from the Redlegs' destruction of his home and their murder of his wife and little boy. The paradox is that this love of home and family transforms him into a feuding vengeance machine. This lightening fast gunman kills his enemies: bounty hunters, trappers, the Comancheros, and finally Captain Redlegs. Along the way, he draws similar characters to him. They don't appear to be similar. The similarity is that they have also experienced grief of loss. They also only want to rebuild a home: Lon Wady, the Arapaho girl, the Kansas pilgrims, and Ten Bears. The characters are simply drawn, but the dialogue brings the complexities of their existences to the fore. Almost every verbal exchange is worthy of an essay. Dare I paraphrase a few lines?
Ferryman: In this line of work, you have to be able to whistle Dixie and sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic with equal enthusiasm.
Carpetbagger: I can't blame you for that. It's good business.
Dry Goods Storekeeper: I'm a Hoosier myself.
Granny: I don't care for them much neither.
Josey: You got anything to eat around here?
Chief: I got this piece of rock candy, but it's not for eatin'. It's for looking through.
Ten Bears: It is good that warriors like us meet in the struggle of life and death. It shall be life.
Fletcher: He's got the first move. I owe him that.
Action, suspense, tragedy, romance, intrigue, and even something approaching triumph come in a package a "real" guy can appreciate. You may analyze the psychology that drives these characters or you may wait with bated breath for the two brief flashes of pale white female skin that TV censors block. Whichever the case may be, by the end you'll be saying, "I reckon so."
Without a doubt, the best western Eastwood has made. It ranks up there with all the other, Shane, Hondo, The Searchers, High Noon, etc. Chief Dan George is just excellent opposite Eastwood. Even the dog and indian woman fit right in with the pair. The story line, scenery and for once the western dialogue was done just right. The choice for the Indian Chief could not have been better. It was a movie that swept you up in it, everything working just right to keep you wanting it to go on. That era in American history had such bloodshed and violence that created men such as Josey Wales, the likes of which I believe are missed today. The code he kept too, the loyality he showed others, even that soft spot hidden deep within himself. Even the side he showed Iron Bears, strength with a willingness to live in peace and honour with someone totally different, yet so much like himself.
If you want to see a movie that will stay with you, this is it.
If you want a movie that you can watch often, this is it.
This is Clint Eastwood, the man and the director at his best.
This is a great movie as it depicts an era of our civil war at its end , and how a simple farmer has his family brutly taken away from him . Now The simple farmer Josey Wales seeks revenge on the "red legs" who took them from him to become one of the most notorious gun slingers their ever were. And along his journey he kinda unknowingly makes a new family and is able to finally settle down with peace in his heart as he has exacted his revenge on the ones who took his family. A great movie all together, Clint Eastwood in what i think is one of his best rolls ever.
Eastwood at his finest. A man's man.
Clint plays the role of a husband and father, living
in a remote area, farming the land.
That is until Union troops burn down his home,
killing his family.
Eastwood promptly is recruited into a Confederate
Partison unit, and fights the Union with them.
Later, he finds out that it is a double-cross, and
If you like this movie, you surely will want to see it again
This is pure Clint! "The Outlaw Josey Wales" is a story loosely based on several actual events at the end of the War Between the States in the border state region. Clint's son and his romantic interest in the movie turned in a particularly good role. An intersting bit of trivia: In Germany, this movie is titled "Der Texaner", which is completely confusing. It's also rated as restricted to those over 16. This version is in the North American (NTSC) VHS Format.
"The Outlaw Josey Wales" is a story loosely based on several actual events at the end of the War Between the States in the border state region. This is pure Clint! This version is in the North American DVD Format and was issued in 1999. An intersting bit of trivia: In Germany, this movie is titled "Der Texaner", which is completely confusing. It's also rated as restricted to those over 16. My specific interest in this is due to my gggrandmother's brother (Bob Lee) who is mentioned in this movie and was noted in history as the last Confederate hold-out in Texas, which caused the American Civil war to continue until 1866 in Texas ("...except in Texas...") -- over 1 year after the rest of the CSA had surrendered.