Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Movie Review: "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976)

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Movie"The Outlaw Josey Wales"
Director: Clint Eastwood
Year: 1976
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

A Missouri farmer (Clint Eastwood) joins a confederate guerrilla unit after his home is ransacked and his is family murdered by Union Army red legs. After the war ends, his unit is captured and killed, and he is declared an outlaw. Now, Josey must remain on the run from the very red legs who killed his family. 

"The Outlaw Josey Wales" is directed by Clint Eastwood, who also stars as the titular Josey Wales. It is based on the novel "Gone to Texas" by Forrest Carter. The story revolves around a Missouri farmer whose family are murdered by Union Army red legs. Josey, looking for revenge, joins up with a confederate guerrilla unit that regularly ambushes union soldiers. After the war ends, his group is asked to come in so they can end things peacefully. However, they are double-crossed, and the men are executed when they come in to lay down their arms. Wales is one of the only people left alive because he refused to come in and surrender with the rest of them. Now, he is an outlaw on the run as this red leg unit is set to hunt him down, after the reward placed on his head.

This film is a quintessentially classic western with awesome gunfights and incredible cinematography of the wide, open landscapes, thick brush, and arduous mountains. Clint Eastwood is the ideal old west tough guy, which is probably why he has played this part so many times in his very storied career. His piercing eyes and intimidating, almost permanent snarl make him the perfect candidate for the role of the baddest outlaw around. Though the character of Josey Wales is hardened by life, we still root for this anti-hero due to his tortured past and his tendency to help those in need, even if the help he gives is done so almost reluctantly. It also helps that Josey's killing and outlaw status is attained not because he exploits the weak, but because he seeks revenge against those who took advantage of the helpless. Those he kills are usually looking to make a profit from the bounty placed on his head, and well, he just can't have that now can he?

"The Outlaw Josey Wales" is an engaging story with some brilliant action. A word of warning: despite its PG rating, it is loaded with violence and even an attempted rape, which is a scene graphic enough to receive an immediate R rating today. Since it was the 70's, this was only enough for a PG. It's a hard scene to watch, so we figured we'd warn people going into the film for the first time. That being said, this is a great classic western worth checking out to see Eastwood's direction behind the camera and his glare and snare in front of it.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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