Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo

4.7 16
Director: Howard Hawks

Cast: Howard Hawks, John Wayne, Dean Martin, Eric Hilliard Nelson

     
 

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Set in Texas during the late 1860s, Rio Bravo is a story of men (and women) and a town under siege. Presidio County Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) is holding Joe Burdette (Claude Akins), a worthless, drunken thug, for the murder of an unarmed man in a fight in a saloon -- the problem is that Joe is the brother of wealthy land baron Nathan Burdette (John

Overview

Set in Texas during the late 1860s, Rio Bravo is a story of men (and women) and a town under siege. Presidio County Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) is holding Joe Burdette (Claude Akins), a worthless, drunken thug, for the murder of an unarmed man in a fight in a saloon -- the problem is that Joe is the brother of wealthy land baron Nathan Burdette (John Russell), who owns a big chunk of the county and can buy all the hired guns he doesn't already have working for him. Burdette's men cut the town off to prevent Chance from getting Joe into more secure surroundings, and then the hired guns come in, waiting around for their chance to break him out of jail. Chance has to wait for the United States marshal to show up, in six days, his only help from Stumpy (Walter Brennan), a toothless, cantankerous old deputy with a bad leg who guards the jail, and Dude (Dean Martin), his former deputy, who's spent the last two years stumbling around in a drunken stupor over a woman that left him. Chance's friend, trail boss Pat Wheeler (Ward Bond), arrives at the outset of the siege and tries to help, offering the services of himself and his drovers as deputies, which Chance turns down, saying they're not professionals and would be too worried about their families to be good at anything except being targets for Burdette's men; but Chance does try to enlist the services of Wheeler's newest employee, a callow-looking young gunman named Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson), who politely turns him down, saying he prefers to mind his own business. In the midst of all of this tension, Feathers (Angie Dickinson), a dance hall entertainer, arrives in town and nearly gets locked up by Chance for cheating at cards, until he finds out that he was wrong and that she's not guilty -- this starts a verbal duel between the two of them that grows more sexually intense as the movie progresses and she finds herself in the middle of Chance's fight. Wheeler is murdered by one of Burgette's hired guns who is, in turn, killed by Dude in an intense confrontation in a saloon. Colorado throws in with Chance after his boss is killed and picks up some of the slack left by Dude, who isn't quite over his need for a drink or the shakes that come with trying to stop. Chance and Burdette keep raising the ante on each other, Chance, Dude, and Colorado killing enough of the rancher's men that he's got to double what he's paying to make it worth the risk, and the undertaker (Joseph Shimada) gets plenty of business from Burdette before the two sides arrive at a stalemate -- Burdette is holding Dude and will release him in exchange for Joe. This leads to the final, bloody confrontation between Chance and Burdette, where the wagons brought to town by the murdered Wheeler play an unexpected and essential role in tipping the balance.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
To some cineastes, this 1959 western is a collaboration between star John Wayne and director Howard Hawks that's second only to the classic Red River. The film turned western-movie conventions in on themselves; instead of unfolding across broad expanses of land, it takes place mostly in the confines of a small jail in a dusty border town. The action doesn't include lengthy chases, cattle stampedes, or massive Indian attacks; it flashes across the screen in short, violent bursts. And the main characters are not larger-than-life archetypes; they're demonstrably flawed and continually struggling to overcome weaknesses of various sorts. Wayne plays a rugged, stubborn Sheriff John T. Chance, who comes to town and arrests Joe Burdette (Claude Akins), the brother of the area's most prominent cattleman (John Russell). He enlists the aid of his former deputy (Dean Martin), now a hopeless drunk who fears the cattleman's inevitable retribution. Holed up in the jail with a crippled deputy (Walter Brennan) and an adventure-seeking young man (Ricky Nelson), Wayne and Martin reluctantly participate in a protracted battle of wills that both sides know must culminate in a fight to the finish. Like many of Hawks's films, Rio Bravo is about camaraderie, courage under fire, and the determination to overcome weakness -- even if it means contemplating failure. Wayne's near-mythic stature is not as obvious here as elsewhere, mainly because Hawks surrounds him with a talented ensemble cast. Martin, cast against type as the downtrodden lawman forced to confront his worst fears, gives what may be his best screen performance. Brennan's garrulous sidekick is a delight, and teen idol Nelson -- included solely to give the picture "youth appeal" -- handles himself surprisingly well. Angie Dickinson had limited screen time, but she makes a strong impression as the leggy saloon girl who fitfully romances Wayne's character. Even people who don't like westerns enjoy Rio Bravo, and for diehard horse-opera addicts it's a must-have movie that holds up well under repeated viewings.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
The inspiration behind Rio Bravo originated with the outrage that John Wayne and director/producer Howard Hawks both felt over the 1952 western High Noon -- neither man appreciated that earlier movie's depiction of the town marshal (played by Gary Cooper) and his desperate appeal to the townspeople for help against the band of outlaws headed their way. And so the two of them, in conjunction with screenwriters Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman, set out to do a film in response, and the result was Rio Bravo, which was a complete inversion of High Noon in virtually every detail of its plot and structure. Both movies unfold in strictly linear fashion, but where High Noon takes place in real time, covering the life and death of a western town on a single morning in 85 minutes of screen time, Rio Bravo sets a surprisingly leisurely pace across nearly two and a half hours, telling a story spread across three days. Both movies utilize the services of composer Dimitri Tiomkin; but in contrast to High Noon's use of a central ballad that only the audience could hear, the centerpieces of Rio Bravo's score include a trumpet dirge that is very much in the consciousness of the characters; and the score also contains a pair of songs (one of them, "My Rifle, My Pony, And Me," adapted by Tiomkin from his own main title music for the 1948 Hawks/Wayne film Red River) sung by two of the characters. Finally, beyond its relationship to High Noon, Rio Bravo's most notable aesthetic attribute is its marvelously neat construction. As the opening credits roll, we see the wagons led by Pat Wheeler (Ward Bond) toward the Texas border town of Rio Bravo. Those wagons, as we later learn, contain dynamite, a cargo that will play an essential role in resolving the film's central plot conflict; and we glimpse Wheeler himself, whose friendship with Chance and whose offer of help will lead to his murder, an event that will drive the plot for the last two thirds of the movie, right through to the denouement. Rio Bravo was Bond's final film and it was a fitting send-off for Wayne's longtime friend -- his character is essential to the structure of the movie, introducing the town of Rio Bravo under the credits and providing the means by which Wayne can explain what is going on and why he and his deputies have to do this job alone. "Joe Burdette isn't worth one of those that would get killed," Chance tells Wheeler, who ends up the only man on the side of the law who is killed. The care with which Brackett and Furthman's screenplay lays out its material -- in what is essentially a moral, literary, and cinematic chess game -- is reflected throughout this "opening." Every key character and plot element is introduced within the first 30 minutes, along with the relationships that drive them, leading inexorably, move after move (not without some surprise twists) to the violent denouement. Rio Bravo was one of Wayne and Hawks's most successful and satisfying vehicles, which may help explain why they liked it so much and were so impressed with its potential for further exploration, that they remade it twice, once as El Dorado and once as Rio Lobo.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/26/1993
UPC:
0085391105039
Original Release:
1959
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Wayne Sheriff John T. Chance
Dean Martin Dude
Rick Nelson Colorado Ryan
Angie Dickinson Feathers
Walter Brennan Stumpy
Ward Bond Pat Wheeler
John Russell Nathan Burdette
Estelita Rodriguez Consuelo
Claude Akins Joe Burdett
Malcolm Atterbury Jake
Harry Carey Harold
Bob Steele Matt Harris
Nesdon Booth Clark
George Bruggeman Clem
Bob Terhune Charlie, the Bartender
Ted White Bart
Riley Hill Messenger
Bing Russell Cowboy murdered in saloon
Eugene Iglesias 1st Burdette man in shootout
Fred Graham 2nd Burdette man in shootout
Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez Carlos Remonte
Myron Healey Barfly
Tom Monroe Henchman
Robert Donner Actor
Dimitri Tiomkin Conductor

Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director,Producer
Gordon Bau Makeup
Marjorie Best Costumes/Costume Designer
Folmar Blangsted Editor
Leigh Brackett Screenwriter
Jules Furthman Screenwriter
Russell Harlan Cinematographer
Ralph S. Hurst Set Decoration/Design
Leo K. Kuter Art Director
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer,Songwriter,Musical Direction/Supervision
Paul Francis Webster Songwriter
Jack Williams Stunts

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Rio Bravo 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent acting by Dean Martin. Completely opposite of the almost-cowardly Kane in High Noon. I've worn out two tapes, now own the DVD and a framed poster. The best John Wayne movie ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have already seen Rio Bravo 40 - 50 times and I would always see it again. The story, the actors and are great and to me it's the only western.
Guest More than 1 year ago
GREAT MOVIE!!!! THE DUKE IS THE DUKE AND IT DON'T GET NO BETTER WHEN HE'S ON THE SCREEN. WALTER BRENNAN, A SUPPORTING ACTOR WHO, ONCE AGAIN, IN THIS FLICK, STEALS THE SHOW WHEN HE'S IN THE SCENE, AS WALTER HAS DONE FOR YEARS THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER!!! WALTER, AS 'STUMPY', PLAYS HIS ROLE TO THE HILT!!! GREAT SONG WHEN DINO & RICKY SING 'MY RIFLE, MY PONY, & ME', GOOD HARMONY TOGETHER ! DINO DOES GOOD IN HIS ROLE. ANGIE DICKINSON A LITTLE WEAK. BUT, NOT BAD FOR A NEW KID STARTING OUT IN SHOW BUSINESS. THE DUKE, DON'T GET IN HIS WAY! HE'LL RUN RIGHT OVER YA, PILGRIM, BRINGIN' LAW & ORDER TO TOWN!!! GREAT FLICK !!! IF YOU DON'T LIKE THIS FLICK, AND YOU DON'T LIKE JOHN WAYNE, YOU JUST NEED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY !!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is one of those movies that gets better every time you watch it. You feel like you know the characters. It is like they are old pals.So everytime you pop it in your DVD player, it is like you're hanging out with your buddies.
Western-Addict More than 1 year ago
Great cast, great story, very well done. My wife, 8 and 10 YO kids, we all love it. Ol' Stumpy cracks the kids up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Wayne Joe your under arrest.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Of the old John Ford style westerns, Howard Hawkes' 'Rio Bravo' is possibly the best. The script, casting, acting, and direction are all excellent. Also, 'Rio Bravo' features Wayne at his best and most 'Wayne-like.' This movie could be a prototype for filmmakers in this genre to follow. It is exciting, the characters are fun and interesting, and it just has a 'feel good' quality to it. It is interesting to note that director Hawkes later ripped off his own success with this movie when he cloned it to produce 'El Dorado.' 'Rio Bravo' is highly recommended.