The Outlaw Josey Wales

1976, Movie, R, 135 mins

Review

OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, THE
starstarstarstar
An underrated early directorial effort by Clint Eastwood. The film opens as Union guerillas known as "redlegs" destroy the home and family of Missouri farmer Josey Wales (Eastwood). He joins up with Confederate soldiers to get his revenge, and, after years of battle, refuses to surrender to Terrill (McKinney), the man responsible for his family's death. He even rescues Jamie (Bottoms), a wounded young rebel, from the Union soldiers, who send Terrill and the reluctant Fletcher (Vernon) after them. Josey and Jamie next pick up two Cherokees (George and Keams), a stray dog, and, after rescuing them from Comanches, an elderly woman (Trueman) and her granddaughter (Locke). The old woman is so grateful she offers to let Josey and his ragtag bunch live at the farmhouse her son built. Josey manages to make peace with the Comanches, but the Union soldiers are another story.

Whereas Eastwood's homage to director Sergio Leone, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, was bleak from start to finish, THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES begins with life (Eastwood and his family) and ends with life (the communal family). In between is a long period of healing and rebuilding wherein Eastwood re-examines the "man with no name" screen persona he developed with Leone. THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES is a cautiously optimistic epic, deeply rooted in American history. Wales, despite his efforts, is not a loner. Instead of surrendering and assimilating into the "rebuilt" post-war society full of carpetbaggers, Klansmen, and dishonor, Wales and his group create their own society, steeped in honor, mutual respect and love. Bolstered by Surtees's magnificent cinematography, Fielding's fine score and an excellent supporting cast highlighted by the scene-stealing dry wit of Chief Dan George, JOSEY WALES affirms life and community with bracing conviction. leave a comment

Are You Watching?

The Outlaw Josey Wales
Loading ...

Shop

Clint Eastwood Selection: Dirty Harry/The Outlaw Josey Wales/Unforgiven
Buy Clint Eastwood Selection: Dirty Harry/The Outlaw Josey Wales/Unforgiven from Amazon.com
From Warner Home Video (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $22.86 (as of 08/20/14 11:38 PM EST - more info)
The Outlaw Josey Wales / Pale Rider
Buy The Outlaw Josey Wales / Pale Rider from Amazon.com
From Warner Home Video (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $18.98 (as of 08/20/14 11:38 PM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular