Number of Times Seen – at least 3 times (Video in 1987, 30 Jan 2002 and 5 Jul 2016)
Brief Synopsis – After a former lawman is unjustly lynched and hanged, he decides to try and find the men responsible.
My Take on it – The story of how I originally saw this movie at the age of 13 is quite interesting.
We had a geography/American History teacher who was a pretty big film buff (or so I thought at the time) and when we would have class parties, he would show us different “historical” films. (That’s actually how I also saw the 24 hr miniseries Centennial (1978) which he showed us during normal class).
One day, we had some kind of party in class and he showed us this film.
Not many of us were interested in seeing a Western, but why not? It was instead of class.
I recall how the teacher Mr. M. (yep, that’s what we called him) mentioned that two of the characters (Ben and Billy Joe) won awards for the scene with the hangman because it was so emotional.
Even back then, in a world pre-IMDB, I knew he was wrong. 🙂
Suffice it to say, I still remembered parts of this movie from seeing it nearly 30 years ago!
I love the way that this movie tells a subtle tale about how one should deal with the past while looking towards creating a better future.
Clint Eastwood is superb here as the wronged man who uses the law to fight an injustice. His role in the film really is able to capture the many aspects of why he is so beloved in this genre.
The idea to take a revenge flick and do it this way is a bit unconventional, but it works in more ways than one.
Along with Clint, the cast is amazing here; Pat Hingle, Ed Begley, Ben Johnson, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and The Skipper himself, Alan Hale Jr. are all great.
The musical score by Dominic Frontiere is superb and helps create the right atmosphere for everything that happens.
I believe that this is one of Clint’s best Westerns!
Bottom Line – Great Clint western that is able to capture so much of why he is so liked in this genre. Definitely a revenge flick done right. Excellent music by Dominic Frontiere helps create the perfect atmosphere. Great supporting cast. Excellent message about dealing with the past and preparing for the future. One of Clint’s best westerns IMHO. Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Reportedly, producer Leonard Freeman clashed with director Ted Post during production. One day Freeman showed up on the set, issuing orders and taking charge. Post wanted to confront him, but Clint Eastwood intervened. Eastwood spoke to Freeman, and Freeman left the set and didn’t return. What he said was, “If you show up on this set again, there won’t be a set … won’t be a cast, won’t be a crew.” (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy
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