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Rio Bravo (1959)

 -  Western  -  4 April 1959 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 34,774 users  
Reviews: 178 user | 67 critic

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Rio Bravo (1959)

Rio Bravo (1959) on IMDb 8.1/10

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Carlos Robante (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez)
Estelita Rodriguez ...
Consuela Robante
...
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Jake (Stage Driver)
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Harold (scenes deleted)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sheb Wooley ...
Cowboy (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

The sheriff of a small town in southwest Texas must keep custody of a murderer whose brother, a powerful rancher, is trying to help him escape. After a friend is killed trying to muster support for him, he and his deputies - a disgraced drunk and a cantankerous old cripple - must find a way to hold out against the rancher's hired guns until the marshal arrives. In the meantime, matters are complicated by the presence of a young gunslinger - and a mysterious beauty who just came in on the last stagecoach. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sheriff | small town | jail | texas | deputy | See more »

Taglines:

Burdette...he was the knife poised at the throat of Rio Bravo... See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

4 April 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,750,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ward Bond's death scene was filmed from a distance because it was actually a double. Bond had already left the set to be back on location for Wagon Train (1957). See more »

Goofs

When Chance goes into Feathers' room after learning she was standing guard outside his room all night, Angie Dickinson's hair is alternately frayed and neatly styled. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John T. Chance: Joe, you're under arrest.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in True Romance (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

My Rifle, My Pony, and Me
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Performed by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Western that defines its type, one of the best, a match to El Dorado
30 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Rio Bravo (1959)

I saw this again because I just saw (and loved) the similar Howard Hawks movie, "El Dorado." This earlier one is more famous and revered, and I can see why at first. "Rio Bravo" is archetypal. It's more serious and a little more gritty and violent than the later one. It's also extremely well done, a kind of paradigm for the good guy/bad guy Western.

There are some humanizing factors here for this type of movie. John Wayne is his usual likable stern self but with a sense of humor. Dean Martin plays a (dirty) drunk in a way you can empathize with. And Ricky Nelson is mild and cute (and sort of dispensable). And then there is Angie Dickinson who has a kind of sculptural presence and comes off with pretty good ease as a young actress (she was a television actress all along, and later was a t.v. icon in "Police Woman," a middling cop show in the 1970s). This movie is partly about relationships--friendships, budding romance, rivalries.

And the overriding theme is one of sticking together against evil. The town is "good" and all of Sheriff John Wayne's friends are "good." I put it in quotes because they represent good, as opposed to evil. Or at least to indifference, which is a deliberate counterpoint to Zinnemann's famous "High Noon" where the town will not help the sheriff. (John Wayne was angry about High Noon and wanted to do Rio Bravo partly to set the record straight about how decent people really will rise to help their sheriff in dire times.)

The result is a surprisingly feel-good experience. The movie has its dark moments, but you learn quickly that our gang of good people (including, by the way, a cackling Walter Brennan) will prevail. So encounters might lose their chill and sinister edge, but they gain the power of winning. Maybe this is like Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies, where you know, in his joking way, he'll succeed. So these jokers, who really like each other and who even take time to sing a couple songs as a group (John Wayne just watches), succeed.

So is this a great movie? Yes, pretty much living up to its reputation. It is almost a final punctuation mark on two decades of Westerns (if we look at 1939 as the start, when four major A-list Westerns hit the screens after a terrible decade of trashy B-list versions). It sets the stage for the arch exaggerations like "Fistful of Dollars" and other Italian productions. And it sets the stage of Hawks's own "remake" of sorts, "El Dorado." And for my money, I like the way El Dorado pushes the ideas a little harder--both into a kind of campy humor and into a true buddy relationship between the leads in that film. Here Dean Martin is always marginalized, even as he pulls of some life-saving feats.

See them both. Check out the idea. Throw in High Noon and you'll have an idea of how the American Western was winding up some very prolific and profitable years.


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