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Big Jake

Big Jake

4.8 8
Director: George Sherman, John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara

Cast: George Sherman, John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara


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John Wayne is the star of Big Jake, so we don't have to tell you who plays the title role. When his grandson (played by real-life son Ethan Wayne) is kidnapped by scurrilous baddie Richard Boone, Big Jake sets out to deliver the $1 million ransom. On the off-chance that there'll be gunplay, Jake brings along his sons Patrick Wayne and Chris Mitchum (the son of


John Wayne is the star of Big Jake, so we don't have to tell you who plays the title role. When his grandson (played by real-life son Ethan Wayne) is kidnapped by scurrilous baddie Richard Boone, Big Jake sets out to deliver the $1 million ransom. On the off-chance that there'll be gunplay, Jake brings along his sons Patrick Wayne and Chris Mitchum (the son of Bob). In one of her most passive screen roles, Maureen O'Hara plays Jake's estranged wife. Bruce Cabot provides unexpected comedy relief as a scraggly Indian Scout. Wayne fans will not be disappointed by the film's explosive denouement. The only real drawback to Big Jake is the presence of singer Bobby Vinton in a dramatic role.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This suspenseful, action-packed 1971 western was a real nostalgia trip for John Wayne. Not only was it directed by George Sherman -- the man behind the camera on several of the Duke's B-western quickies back in the '30s -- but it also teamed him (for the last time) with perennial leading lady Maureen O'Hara. The Wayne of Big Jake is the iconic figure familiar to most baby-boom moviegoers: gravelly voiced, craggy, larger than life, taciturn, and yet oddly avuncular. He plays one of his typically rugged individualists, a long-gone husband who returns to abandoned wife O'Hara when their eight-year-old grandson (played by John Ethan Wayne, in real life the Duke's youngest son) is abducted. Big Jake hits the vengeance trail, hell-bent for leather and in hot pursuit of the kidnappers led by Richard Boone. There's plenty of hard riding and gunslinging before the score is settled, with nary a dull moment. Sherman's direction is facile, his job undoubtedly made easier by a well-developed script with surprisingly tart dialogue. Wayne is pretty much the same as he was in most of his '60s and '70s films, revealing his tender side in scenes with O'Hara but reverting to his hard-boiled persona in the clashes with Boone, who delivers one of his best big-screen performances. Not exactly a formula western, Big Jake nonetheless hews closely to the basic pattern of Wayne's latter-day horse operas. Slick and fast moving, it shows the legendary star still shining brightly in his twilight years.
All Movie Guide
The style and content of Hollywood films changed considerably during the early 1970's and this had a trickle-down effect to the veteran stars of previous eras. Even John Wayne, who mostly stuck to his classic style during these times, had to bend his formula to fit the times. Big Jake is an interesting example of how Wayne rolled with the changes of 1970's Hollywood. It mirrors the influence that Sam Peckinpah and other revisionist filmmakers were having on the Western genre by including a theme of old ways (and heroes) being left behind by a changing generation. It's also much more violent than old school westerns, with an opening assault on a ranch and a dramatic standoff finale getting surprisingly bloody for a John Wayne vehicle. However, Big Jake retains a Hollywood feel via its classic ransom
escue plot and a familiar macho mindset (a theme of sons learning to obey their father - and thus learning how to be men - is key to the story). George Sherman directs with an appropriately stately style and Elmer Bernstein supplies a rousing score that harkens back to his classic work on The Magnificent Seven. Wayne delivers a typically convincing performance, using his formidable persona to sell the script's reverence for tradition. There is also solid support work from Patrick Wayne as a resentful but brave son and a creepy turn from Richard Boone as the quietly psychopathic villain. In short, Big Jake offers a unique mix of the old and the new that makes it worth viewing for all kinds of Western fans.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen version enhanced for 16:9 tvs ; English subtitles ; Dolby Digital ; English 5.1 Surround ; English Stereo Surround ; French Mono

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Wayne Jacob McCandles
Richard Boone John Fain
Maureen O'Hara Martha McCandles
Patrick Wayne James McCandles
Christopher Mitchum Michael McCandles
Bruce Cabot Sam Sharpnose
Roy Jenson Actor
John McLiam Actor
Bernard Fox Actor
Jim Burk Trooper
Ethan Wayne Little Jake
Hank Worden Hank
Chuck Robertson Actor
Bobby Vinton Jeff McCandles
Glenn Corbett O'Brien
Harry Carey Pop Dawson
John Doucette Buck Dugan
Gregg Palmer John Goodfellow
Robert Warner Will Fain
Dean Smith Kid Duffy
Virginia Capers Delilah
William Walker Moses Brown
Jerry Gatlin Stubby
Don Epperson Saloon Bully
Everett Creach Walt Devries
Jim Davis Head of Lynching Party
John Agar Bert Ryan
Tom Hennessy Saloon Brawler

Technical Credits
George Sherman Director
Carl Anderson Art Director
Newt Arnold Asst. Director
Elmer Bernstein Score Composer
William H. Clothier Cinematographer
John Ferguson Sound/Sound Designer
Rita M. Fink Screenwriter
Harry Julian Fink Screenwriter
R.M. Fink Screenwriter
Harry Gerstad Editor
Howard Jensen Special Effects
Ray Moyer Set Decoration/Design
Michael Wayne Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Abduction
2. Message for McCandles
3. The Plan
4. Ambushed
5. Our Own Reinforcements
6. On the Trail
7. Next Rendezvous
8. Mexican Village
9. "Smoke'em Out"
10. Ready to Go
11. Exchange


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Big Jake 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cafemom More than 1 year ago
This movie has been a family favorite for years. My children watched it on VHS when they were growing up. I recommended it to a young friend who was not familiar with John Wayne's work and discovered I did not have it in my DVD collection. I had to buy it immediately. It's up there with True Grit and The Cowboys as one of his best. It's also a family affair with two of his sons in the cast and two of his favorite co stars, Maureen O'Hara and Richard Boone as well. Great performances. Snappy dialog. If you haven't seen it, you should.
Guest More than 1 year ago
best john wayne ever
wendlz23 More than 1 year ago
what can i say. any john wayne movie is a classic. He is a handsome man and a good lead character. i watched the movie as a child in the 80s and i still watch it as an adult. Westerns are becomming outdated here in california, but i think it made its mark and people will all know who john wayne is. i recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
im a big john wayne fan and i think he should have received a academy award for this movie just like he did in true grit this movie to me is one of the betst john wayne films and i thonk the voters realy overlokked this film this movie brings out the best in the duke,richard boone is fantastic and bruce cabot is also great in this picture and harry carrey jr is also real good in this picture.
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