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Arizona Raiders
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Reviews & Ratings for
Arizona Raiders More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Terrific cinematography

7/10
Author: Sir Loin from Phoenix, AZ
12 November 2005

I saw this recently on cable and, admittedly, I'm a bit biased due to the fact that I have lived in Arizona for 33 years. Looks to me that special attention was paid to the scenery in this film and it's a terrific shoot-em-up. I also applaud the defensive use of cactus in this film, quite painful as I've experienced in person :)

Lots of great action and like a previous poster said, the Indians are on the side of the "good guys" this time out and are not the enemies. Looks like it was a great time while filming!

They've been showing it on cable recently and it's worth your time if you happen to stumble upon it.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes good guys don't stand a chance.

4/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
26 April 2001

This mid '60s western has the look of a mid '50s release. After being sentenced to 20 years hard labor for crimes while riding with the Quantrell's Raiders, a young confederate hero(Audie Murphy)is offered an unconditional pardon if he will help round up the remnants of the notorious gang that is still terrorizing Arizona Territory. The gang has kidnapped an attractive daughter of an Indian Chief. The Chief and some of his braves help Murphy capture and break up the renegade Raiders. With the mission completed, Murphy rides away continuing his new career as an Arizona Ranger.

No real surprises, just feel good cowboy shoot 'em up. And its good to see the Indians team up with the good guys this time out.

Supporting cast includes veteran actor Buster Crabbe along with the attractive Gloria Talbot, "Red" Morgan, Ben Cooper, Michael Dante and Fred Graham.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Faithful remake of The Texas Rangers

5/10
Author: sandyjean2 from United States
24 November 2005

This movie is a remake of the 1951 movie "The Texas Rangers", same plot, same storyline, same lines. Only the locale and the actors are different. I take that back, this time it wasn't just a couple of men who were removed from prison, they were moved from state to state.

Having said that, I did enjoy the movie. There were enough changes to make it interesting. Audie Murphy did a wonderful job in the lead role. The location was beautiful. The director did a good job in making this movie stand on it's own.

If you liked the earlier movie, you will enjoy this remake. Audie Murphy fans should enjoy seeing him in this.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Test of Endurance

4/10
Author: ashew from United States
3 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is impossible to imagine a worse beginning to a film. Booth Colman plays a newspaper man who provides a long, meandering, long, convoluted, long, unnecessary, and overly LONG introduction explaining Quantrill's history. He actually breaks the fourth wall and talks directly into the camera as if we're his junior high school class. This goes on for a full SEVEN MINUTES before the movie starts, then they cut to Quantrill himself leading his men to a raid and we are treated to a DIFFERENT actor providing voice-over narration explaining what Quantrill is doing ALL OVER AGAIN. I GIVE!! UNCLE!! MAKE IT STOP!!!

Audie Murphy and Ben Cooper are convicted for their part in riding with Quantrill and not until THIRTY-EIGHT MINUTES into the film are they sprung from a chain gang by Buster Crabbe to earn unconditional pardons for themselves by becoming Arizona Raiders, infiltrating the newly-formed gang of old raiders, and bringing them all to justice. Even film fans who have never taken Screenplay 101 know that the entire premise of the film needs to be provided to the audience within the first ten minutes of the film, not thirty-eight! The most excruciating of all endurance tests.

Because Audie Murphy is the good guy, we know all the "tension" generated by whether he will or won't keep his promise to the rangers is pointless...of course, he strays from the goal every once in a while and someone close to him always manages to die because of it, so he is kept on the righteous path. Of course, the screenwriter has the most important symbol that Audie should care about die first, then a less important person (who seems to make a bigger difference to Audie), and then a Yaqui Indian woman is the one who drives it all home for him (even though they have no relationship and he has no reason to care at all about her). That's just dumb. On top of all that, the first half of the film sets up George Keymas' character as the arch-nemesis for Audie's character (and the main reason Audie agrees to become a ranger), yet it is all undermined when Audie kills him immediately upon finding the gang's hideout halfway through the film! From than point on, Michael Dante's character becomes the main nemesis, but he and Audie have no history/personal grudge/drama/conflict between each other...Dante's character is not even remotely as interesting, or evil, or sadistic as Keymas' character, so it becomes a "So what?" kind of scenario. Everything that gets built up fizzles into ho-hum and is undermined by the screenwriter, so we're left with a lot of dopiness and zero tension.

Okay, now for the good parts...

Audie Murphy, Ben Cooper, Ray Stricklyn, and Buster Crabbe are EXCELLENT!! They absolutely lift this poorly written and constructed film up several notches just by their presence and commitment to their characters. Audie Murphy was short, soft-spoken, and baby-faced...on paper, not the ideal characteristics for a Western hero (truly the anti-John Wayne)...yet it speaks volumes about his charisma and talent (especially for a self-professed "non-actor") that he is such a joy to watch.

If one can ignore the lousy stunt work, even worse stunt doubling, bad foley work, and unimpressive soundtrack, the directing was not bad at all. The action was handled well, and the Arizona scenery was really a pleasure to see.

This is, at BEST, a so-so film...for Audie Murphy fans only. If you can grip the seat cushions and force yourself through the first thirty-eight minutes, the rest of the film has several nice moments that are decent rewards for the initial torture. Don't spend money to rent or buy it, but if it comes on cable, it's worth a look.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Rangers and Raiders.

7/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
26 August 2009

William Quantrell's raiders are cornered by Capt. Tom Andrews and Quantrell and a number of his men are killed. Two are captured whilst Montana Smith and the others escape to carry on their illegal operations. Clint Stewart and Willie Martin are the two captives, who much to their surprise, are spared a death sentence on account of Capt. Andrews vouching for them as soldiers of integrity and honour. Sentenced to 20 years hard labour, the guys are faced with an interesting proposition when Andrews offers to break them out so as they can join the Arizona Rangers. The plan being for them to infiltrate the renegade Raiders and help to bring them down.

With few votes and even less reviews of substance written, one could be forgiven for thinking that Arizona Raiders is barely worth the time. Using elements of the Quantrell Raiders legacy and blending with the Texas Rangers plot lines, Arizona Raiders is not found wanting in the entertainment department. Directed by William Witney and starring Audie Murphy, Buster Crabbe {this film not to be confused with Crabbe's 1936 film, The Arizona Raiders} and Michael Dante, it's a film that has a number of issues within its plot. It would have been easy to just have it as a straight forward tale about bad guys turning good {something other reviewers claim it to be}, but writers Frank Gruber and Richard Schayer add impetus to the good v bad axis by cramming in other factors.

Murphy plays lead protagonist Clint Stewart, asked to basically switch sides and loyalties, his conflict-ion is excellently portrayed by genre legend Murphy. His resolve is further tested by emotional pulls involving his brother and best friend, with Witney and his team seemingly happy to put Stewart thru the mangler, with the result being a richly told character strand. Also into the equation comes the role of the Indians, so often seen as the nemesis and bad boys of the genre, here they get something slightly different as they become involved in this white man squabble, it's really rather refreshing the part they have to play. Tho the score from Richard LaSalle is badly out of sorts, this is off set a touch by the visual treat on offer with the locale. Beautifully shot by Jacques R. Marquette, the Gold Canyon location is a sumptuous extra character, giving an added depth to the story unfolding. The story is nicely paced by Witney, who rightly gives us development of characters in the first half of the piece, while all the genre staples of shoot outs, villains and chases are nicely added to the already intriguing broth.

A little treasure as far as this viewer is concerned. So if you be a genre fan such as I? Well do catch this one given the chance. 7/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Decent Audie Murphy Western

6/10
Author: romanorum1 from Rhode Island, United States
3 November 2014

At film's beginning Booth Colman, as editor of the Ohio Gazette, wastes seven minutes narrating the ruthlessness of William Quantrill, infamously known gang leader and Confederate sympathizer who murdered the adult male population of Lawrence Kansas. Since the first few active minutes of the movie do center on the Civil War brigand, one wonders why the narration persists for so long. Anyway, with the War over (1865), the story begins to move along smoothly as the Quantrill band continues to operate.

Union Captain Tom Andrews (Buster Crabbe) tracks down and corners Quantrill (Fred Graham) and his gang in an abandoned farmhouse/barn. Although some gang members escape, Quantrill is severely wounded and captured. He will eventually breathe his last in a Union hospital, and he will not be seen in the picture again. (By the way, Quantrill died in June 1865.) Meanwhile two gang members are captured, partially through the machinations of Montana Smith (George Keymas), a shady and disloyal gang member who escapes the Federal grasp. The two arrested ex-Confederate soldiers, Clint Stewart (Audie Murphy) and friend Willie Martin (Ben Cooper), served honorably for the Southern cause. But when they returned home at war's end they found that Carpetbaggers were in control. Since the two ex-troopers could not find work, they joined Quantrill's outfit. Though the sympathy of both Andrews and the presiding judge, the two receive lighter sentences than usual but still get 20 years hard labor in prison.

Escaping from the Federal troops, both Montana and Brady (Michael Dante) have reformed the Quantrill gang and are running roughshod in Arizona, where the post-Civil War law is not strong. Enter Andrews again, as he has been hired by the territorial governor to head up the newly formed Arizona Rangers. Andrews' mission is to capture the gang and bring it to justice. As Andrews is impressed with Stewart and Martin's background he makes a risky bargain with them: unconditional pardons and positions as Arizona Rangers if they infiltrate the gang and bring about its destruction. To make the situation legitimate, Andrews arranges for a fake-prison escape. The two ex-Rebels can flee to Mexico, but better judgment prevails and they go to work against Montana and Brady, who by this time have taken control of a Yaqui Indian village.

This rousing and colorful western features beautiful Arizona scenery. William Whitney directed a typical cowboy movie with some perky shoot-outs and ornery villains, especially Keymas' sadistic and vile Montana (By contrast, accomplice Brady is almost a church choir member). Fred Graham, who portrays Quantrill, was twice the age of the real outlaw, but his work here is sound. Murphy of course fits in well in a familiar role.

There were high quality westerns made in 1965, like "Major Dundee," "The Sons of Katie Elder," and the comedy-western "Cat Ballou." But it was a watershed year for the genre as times were a-changin'. In 1966 Burt Kennedy would direct "Welcome to Hard Times" (released in 1967). Also, westerns from Europe were making their arrivals in the USA. These films would alter the western and blur the distinction between the good guys and the bad ones. They kept the guns of the good guy, but took away most of his moral code. Alas, they created the anti-hero, a major influence of those westerns made in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

(See my review for the watershed western "Welcome to Hard Times" dated 23 Nov 2011.)

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"There's got to be an awful big catch to this."

7/10
Author: classicsoncall from United States
20 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

By this time in his movie career, Audie Murphy finally outgrew his boyish good looks and actually managed to look the part of either an outlaw or a hero, which in this case he was both. A surprise for me was catching Buster Crabbe this far into his career and appearing well matured beyond his Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers days as a matinée idol.

The story opens with a rather long fourth wall narration by an uncredited Booth Colman portraying a newspaper editor, setting the stage for a tale dealing with the last days of Quantrill's Raiders. Audie Murphy's character is Clint Stewart, who along with partner Willie Martin (Ben Cooper), are members of Quantrill's bunch and are captured during a Union assault and sentenced to twenty years hard time. Their release from a Texas prison is engineered by Captain Tom Andrews (Crabbe), who offers them eventual pardon if they cooperate in bringing the remainder of the gang to justice.

I have to say, for an otherwise rather mundane western I was impressed by a couple of scenes, the first of which had a Quantrill renegade named Montana (George Keymas) pull the old Luca Brasi trick of putting a knife through the hand of a card playing opponent who beat him with a full house.

The other occurred when Clint's identity as a Union undercover agent is about to be blown and his friend Willie tries to cover for him and is shot by Montana in the process, virtually committing suicide so the mission wouldn't be undermined. Of course, he was about half dead already after being beaten by the outlaws, so he might have figured it was for a worthy cause.

Oh yeah, can't forget the cactus torture by the Yaqui's. Nice touch there as well.

Over all a decent Audie Murphy Western for fans of the war hero and movie star, with excellent cinematography and location shooting for the Arizona backdrop. Brief intermittent scenes of Gloria Talbott as a Yaqui Indian should add to your viewing pleasure.

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Dirty Dozen mission for two

5/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
1 November 2014

Despite an unnecessary prologue in which we are treated to a history of the life and career of William Quantrill, Arizona Raiders concerns us with the efforts of former Quantrill members Audie Murphy and Ben Cooper to capture a large band of former Quantrill men led by Michael Dante and George Keymas who are now operating in Arizona.

The man who captured Murphy and Cooper is Buster Crabbe former Army captain and now in charge of the new Arizona Rangers. He's offering Murphy and Cooper a Dirty Dozen like mission, get them and there will be a pardon awaiting. What Crabbe doesn't know is that Murphy is both one unreconstructed rebel and he's got a younger brother in the Rangers already played by Ray Stricklyn. That fact cuts several ways before the film is over.

Arizona Raiders is a decent enough western. Murphy was still going strong in doing these second feature B films. But it was certainly nothing you couldn't see on television where westerns ruled at that time on the small screen.

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8 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Watched part of it being filmed

10/10
Author: Gidgetlea1240 (Gidgetlea1240@aol.com) from Tucson, Az.
15 February 2004

It was really great watching it being filmed. I was lucky enough to meet and get autographs from AUDIE MURPHY, BEN COOPER, GLORIA TALBOTT, GEORGE KEYMAS. Lucky enough to get my picture taken with BEN COOPER. I rate this movie 1000% I also have a bought copy and watch it quite often. Gidget [Lilly

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