The Rounders (1965) Poster


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"Whatever Suits You, Just Tickles Me Plum To Death."
bkoganbing21 May 2004
So said the agreeable Henry Fonda to just about every suggestion Glenn Ford or other cast members made to him.

This the first of a series of very agreeable entertaining comic westerns that Burt Kennedy directed and/or wrote starring some of Hollywood's great but aging male stars. I think for the first and only time both Ford and Fonda play a pair of losers. They seem to forever be in financial bondage to their off-and-on employer Chill Wills. Wills just out-slickers Ford and Fonda just goes along with that line that must have been repeated about 8 times in The Rounders.

But their biggest problem comes from a white-faced roan horse that Wills has talked the gullible Ford into taking. The horse named "Old Fooler" has a streak of cunning malevolence that provides most of the laughs in this comedy. If there was a special award given to animals for performances Old Fooler should have won it in 1965. In fact that horse created his own acting genre, the animal anti-hero.

Burt Kennedy gave us a lot of good laughs starting in the mid60s with his films and this is one of the funniest.
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comfortably enjoyable flick
Robert D. Ruplenas12 August 2004
This movie is far from a classic of the western genre but, to use a far-fetched metaphor, watching it is like putting on a very comfortable pair of old, worn slippers. The story line is hardly earth-shaking - two modern day, never-quite-making-it, just-over-the-hill cowboys spend another year treading water in their line of work and wind up pretty much where they started, not that it matters a whole lot to them. But the story is worked out with just right the combination of charm, humor, pathos and whimsy to make it a thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half. The main key to the movie's success is the work of old hands Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford; their chemistry is just right, and a joy to watch. Also worth mentioning is the gorgeous cinematography of the western setting. This little charmer is minor gem of its type.
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Excellent movie
thedon194018 July 2006
Fans of Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda should enjoy this movie if for no other reason than to watch those two play off of each other. Two modern day cowboys Ben and Howdy (Ford and Fonda) hire out to break a wild horse for rancher Jim Ed Lowe(Chill Wills). They have worked for Jim Ed before and have little respect for him however as usual they need the money. What happens next is pure fun (for the viewing audience) with Sue Ann Langdon and Hope Holiday providing the love interest in the film. What that horse does to those two cowboys makes the movie well worth watching. The film is loaded with acting talent including Kathleen Freeman,Denver Pyle, and Edgar Buchanan all fine supporting characters and veterans of westerns. The actual stunt riding is handled by veteran Pro rodeo rider Casey Tibbs I believe though he may be directing other riders at times. I rate it excellent.
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A wry contemporary Western classic, or "it takes a hard man to eat boiled owl... "
vfrickey25 June 2008
The Rounders is one of those oddly well-crafted movies which seems to have benefited from a fortunate gathering of the stars at its making. Good movie-making alone seems insufficient to account for its success; every frame of the film seems almost hand-painted; every minute scripted with more than common care (if not with up-to-date cinematic technique).

Director and screenwriter Burt Kennedy is the center around which this gem of a movie formed - the same wry humor that has characterized most of his movie and TV productions shines through here (Kennedy created a small swath of "Simon and Simon" episodes, a span of "Combat" episodes, little, memorable Westerns like "Dirty Dingus Magee," a little of almost every genre before passing on in 2001.) The cast, though, was one of those companies of actors you didn't often see together in low-budget Westerns then (1965) and still don't often see thirty-some years later. And, for a wonder, every actor and actress - from a remarkable cast - pulled his or her weight.

Denver Pyle ("Bull") would go on to anchor "The Dukes of Hazzard" as "Uncle Jesse" after a life in Westerns; Edgar Buchanan (as the irascible "Vince Moore," creator of "that wonderful stuff" in a still located under his barn floor) was just embarking on a long stretch of soft duty as "Uncle Joe" in "Petticoat Junction," plus a number of cameo roles in various other TV and movie projects after spending a good career in movies; Sue Ane Langdon was playing one of a number of sexy/innocent ingenue roles that ran from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s, then after a short hiatus, she would go on to play a series of older roles); Chill Wills would stay with the role of tightwad ranch owner "Jim Ed Love" for the movie AND the TV show which spun off of it the following year.

"The Rounders - The TV Series" ran in the 1966 and 1967 seasons, not a bad run, considering the two leads were replaced by younger, less seasoned actors (including Patrick Wayne as "Howdy Lewis"); not only do we see Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda as the stars of this rollicking epic but as a bonus, Peter Ford and Peter Fonda (sons of the stars) appear in uncredited roles.

The production, if it can be said to have a weak spot, suffers from Disney Disease - that bogus-homespun touch which afflicted Disney's Wonderful World of Color's series of outdoor documentaries (in which announcers with wrinkly, familiar old voices narrated carefully-edited wildlife documentaries in which little baby animals hardly ever got caught by predators). Fortunately, the screenwriter played off of this ambiance for laughs, so that the overall feel is something like "Mister Roberts Goes West."

Fonda ("Howdy Lewis")and Ford ("Ben Jones") work well together on screen as a pair of itinerant, half-clever cowboys who seem always to get the worst from every deal they make with Jim Ed Love. Both actors spent time with the novel, apparently, and their performances benefited from the extra work. This compensates for clumsy special effects (clumsily faked double takes from the "plug-head" horse who is the bane of "Howdy's" existence, for example).

But "The Rounders'" main failing is also its saving grace - an artlessness which makes the show much more enjoyable (to me, anyway) than if it had been a little more polished. It earns a solid eight out of ten points for a great off-beat Western comedic style.

"The Rounders" may just be the last good OLD Western movie; the genre lay in a restless, unquiet coma with brief flashes of lucidity (and a few unlamented "electric westerns") until Clint Eastwood and a handful of other talented directors brought it back to vibrant life. But "The Rounders" is a valedictory for all of those great westerns (and all the not-so-great ones that were worth having, anyway) that Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Chill Wills, Edgar Buchanan, Denver Pyle and all the rest of those guys gave us.
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A realistic sense of the aging cowboy and a playful horse in a beautiful setting.
gwenearnold-18 August 2009
My husband and I saw this film when it was first released and all I remembered these many years later was that we had liked it, so I taped it when TCM reran it and loved it! The fellow from England who complained that it seems more like the 1880s just didn't know that in S. Texas, where we're from, and I guess AZ where the film was set, cowboying was still much the same. All of this, including the small town parade rang really true. I absolutely fell in love with the horse all over again; he should have had top billing. I wonder where there might be a bio of him...anybody know? And for the one who regrets they didn't show baby animals being killed...I thank them for that. I see movies for entertainment!
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Excellent, must see for all cowboys, real or pretend!
clindley4 July 2000
This is truly the number 1, modern cowboy "cult" movie. The film captures the true life of a modern day working cowboy. All aspects of this film are the most realistic and true, day to day accounts of the REAL cowboy. The mundane, humor, drama, suspense and romance of the American Cowboy are captured in The Rounders. A must see!
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brainless but entertaining
MartinHafer19 July 2006
Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda star in this slowly paced but amiable picture of two modern cowboys who just drift through life. They are older but only in a chronological sense--as they drink, bust broncos and party through life. At the same time, there are a couple of women who want to get them to settle down and grow up--and this is the main theme throughout the film.

What works best in the film is the dialog--particularly the repartee between the two leads. While the film itself never really seems to go anywhere, it seems enough just to sit back and watch this relationship unfold. An odd but satisfying film.
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Cheeky western romp...
moonspinner557 August 2009
Burt Kennedy adapted Max Evans' book and directed this utterly unassuming, pleasant time-filler which keeps tongue-in-cheek and deep thoughts in neutral. Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda play two horse-tamers in Arizona who bond with a bucking roan horse; Sue Ane Langdon and Hope Holiday are two tootsies they tangle with. Sleeper hit from 1965 offers Glenn Ford more room to shine than his co-star; Fonda is so non-aggressive and laid-back, it's easy to forget that he's around. Overall, Kennedy's approach is a bit mundane, and the picture doesn't have a big impact, but the scenery is certainly nice and the ladies--in and out of their clothes--are lively. ** from ****
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Quite interesting
darth_sidious6 August 2000
I was quite surprised when I watched this, thinking it was a western when actually it wasn't. The picture is set in 1950s or 60s and the locations at times makes you wonder if it was set in 1800s.

The director makes some interesting comparisons between the lonely west and the modern town. The performances are good, especially the horse. The director made excellent use of the widescreen frame. This is unwatchable in pan and scan.

Not a great film but certainly worth watching for locations and direction. Could've done with a better screenplay.
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Great Cast/Much More Than I Expected
Hitchcoc22 August 2017
A couple of saddle busters, Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda are getting tired of falling off horses. They have the most fruitless jobs and no sense of money or the future. The work for great character actor Chill Wills who knows just how to manipulate them and keep them broke. There are a couple women after them but matrimony isn't for them at this stage. Everything ends up depending on a horse that has incredible spirit. Take a look at the cast list with some of the best character actors of the time. Of course, the stars are no slouches either. It's such fun to see Henry Fonda in perpetual pain. A real sleeper of a movie.
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" Two Cowboys Stuck With An Ornery Horse "
PamelaShort1 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda play two ageing bronco-busters, making a meagre living breaking wild horses. They fantasize about a wonderful retirement of a island paradise- but their weakness for wild girls and booze leaves them forever with no money in the bank. The hilarity in this film comes in the the form of a stubborn, old roan horse, who causes the two endless frustration trying to break him and finally a back-firing scheme to make some real dough entering the wild horse as a bucking bronco in a rodeo. Ford and Fonda are a pair of perfectly matched characters in this film, with riotous comic antics and witty dialogue, this western is very funny from start to finish. Sue Anne Langdon and Hope Holiday play two floozy type girls the cowboys pick-up along the way. A very risqué scene for the time takes place as Ford and Fonda cleverly hide the girls bare derrières using their cowboy hats as they manoeuvre their way through a crowd. Chills Wills, Edgar Buchanan and Denver Pyle along with other characters help to round out this very amusing western comedy. I really enjoyed this lighthearted film with Glenn Ford's dreamer character and Henry Fonda's character being a little more sensible, but gullible enough to still go along with Glenn Ford's cockeyed ideas.
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Not enough story
kenandraf1 July 2001
Fonda and Ford look dashing here and the cinematography is good but the story here is lacking in this movies attempt to illustrate the humour of modern cowboy life.A better story,script and screenplay would hav made this one much better.Only for Ford/Fonda fans and for big fans of comedy westerns......
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The Rounders Turned Out To Be Flat
ccthemovieman-19 May 2007
Wow, with a combination of "western" and "comedy," I expected this to be entertaining at the very least. Well, it wasn't, despite a cast that included Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda. Well, even with "big names," there is no guarantee a film will be enjoyable.

The comedy was very weak and the storyline wasn't much: simply a bunch of aging cowboys ("bronco busters," to be exact) trying to tame horses, with one of the horses giving them a particularly hard time. Meanwhile, a couple of women harp on those guys to settle down. Halfway, through, I was bored silly. That's the main problem of this film: a weak story.

At least there were some good visuals to enjoy, mainly the wonderful background scenery. Sue Anne Langdon ("Mary") was nice on the eyes, too.

To be fair, if I could see this on 2.35:1 widecreen on DVD, I might change my opinion on the photography alone.
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An Oscar for the horse!
Mun25 July 1999
Two cowboys having a hard time breaking in a horse. Slow at times and some cheesy jokes and performances (except for the horse). Well worth a look, at least once.
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"You boys care for a little snort?"
jhkp31 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is just a great, enjoyable, modern western comedy. But it's not a laugh-a-minute type of comedy, more of an episodic, leisurely look a cowboy life. We follow the adventures of Ben Jones and Howdy Lewis (Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda) as they work for the snaky Jim Ed Love (Chill Wills, who's great), breaking in horses and gathering stray steers in the high country around Sedona, Arizona (back when it was a fairly sleepy little town).

A lot of the film is concerned with how one particular horse owned by Mr. Love makes their life miserable, and how they try to sell him, give him away, and even fantasize about turning him into dog food...until *SPOILER* they get so attached to him...but we won't go into it.

If you're looking for a clever plot, or any kind of plot, this really isn't the movie for you. Several people have written on here about how true to life this movie is re the lives of cowboys. Well, I'm from the east and have no idea what cowboy life is like but I can tell an authentic thing when I see it, and this has the feeling of authenticity about it. It's also an incredibly warm yet sharp and satiric look at people and work, human nature, etc.

There's wonderful scenery, and a terrific music score by Jeff Alexander that underscores the humorous and the pastoral moments equally well.

The cast is fantastic, with Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda, both great, and very well matched as the two leads, Edgar Buchanan marvelous as Vince, their friend with two daughters (the unrelated Joan and Kathleen Freeman, both excellent) and a penchant for making moonshine whiskey, Denver Pyle, Doodles Weaver, and in the last quarter of the picture (which becomes a more raucous comedy, suddenly) Sue Ane Langdon and Hope Holliday as a couple of cute strippers stranded in Sedona.

I loved it and I hope you will too
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Howdy, it comes to me that we ain't exactly the smartest cowboys that ever lived.
Spikeopath24 December 2016
The Rounders is directed by Burt Kennedy and Kennedy adapts the screenplay from Max Evans' novel. Music is by Jeff Alexander and cinematography by Paul Vogel. It stars Glenn Ford, Henry Fonda, Sue Ane Langdon, Hope Holiday, Chill Wills and Edgar Buchanan.

Two ageing bronco-busting rounders get into (mis)adventures with a crafty old equine along for the ride...

It's one of those films that has amiable blood coursing through its veins. We are in very good company with Ford and Fonda, two likable and most reliable veterans of the silver screen, and crucially it looks like they are having fun - and it's infectious. Teamed up with a splendid comedy horse who gets up to mischief when ever possible, the boys also find some sexy lady love interests that puts a nice little risqué cheek on things, cheek actually being a very literal word at times.

Technically it's a very good production. Filmed in Metrocolor/Panavision, the vistas are superbly photographed by Vogel, with Arizona locations including Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Crossing, San Francisco Peaks and Village of Oak Creek. The stunt work is high quality, well shot by the wily Western movie veteran Kennedy, while Alexander's musical compositions have the desired jolification. Rounding off is a splendid and comforting support cast that sees Denver Pyle joining Buchanan and Wills for further Western genre reassurance. 7/10
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Ford and Fonda are Rounders!
JLRMovieReviews10 November 2011
Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda are pals that corral horses, or whatever cowboy/rustlers do with horses. Round them up. But they don't ever seem to get ahead. Chill Wills gives a memorable performance, and almost steals the show, in his white suit as a rich owner of horses and land, but who's notoriously cheap and who has a way of talking them into working for him again, despite the fact Glenn said, never again. They always complain, especially Glenn, about working and never getting anywhere, but after a while you get the feeling, he's been the way he is all his life and he's just one of those who like things as they are, despite all his talk to the contrary. With a good cast, including Denver Pyle and Edgar Buchanan as two characters they try to give a wild horse to, and Sue Ane Langdon and Kathleen Freeman, this is one laid-back film that's short on story but is long on good company. "Whatever suits you just tickles me plumb to death." For good old fun with Ford and Fonda, just yourself a horse and hold on, tight.
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How is this not a western?
ash-gonzalez52226 June 2012
Look, I get that some people have never seen what small town Arizona is really like, but my home town is hardly a step above this film. Saying this movie isn't a "Western" is a misnomer, IMO. It's set in Sedona, AZ which is a smaller community. Just because John Wayne isn't there to shoot all the bad guys and never die shouldn't take away the quality western movie effect. There are no shoot outs, no "bad" guys - though Jim Ed Love is quite the sleaze. Overall, it's a good movie. The old Roan is a great character and Ben and Howdy take the cake. It's amusing, clean, and just a fun family film. I've been looking all over to find a DVD of this since I saw it on my mother's BETA machine.
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Entertaining enough, don't expect greatness.
lancekoz2 April 2008
It's true what most commenters here have said...this is well acted by the two leads, and the scenery is spectacular. But the sad sack situations and the outdated sexist humor wears on the viewer after a while, parts of it seeming like a slow version of Benny Hill.

The art direction, casting and photography are all so realistic and good, it would have been interesting to see these qualities used on a "real" story about the misfortunes of modern ranchers.

There might've been an Oscar in there somewhere if these resources were put to serve a story by one of a number of Western writers, and it would've rung true.
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Good idea,bad story
kenandraf29 June 2001
Very weak story in this movie's attempt to portray the funny side of modern cowboy life.Good cinematography and but below average directing coupled with bad screenplay and script.Fonda and Close did a great job though and they really looked dashing.Recomended only for Close/Fonda fans and also for big fans of western comedy movies......
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"There's more than one way to break a horse."
classicsoncall25 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I can't be the only one who noticed it, but I didn't see it mentioned by any other reviewers or find it in any of the trivia for this film, so here goes. Did you take a good look at the blaze faced roan each time it was ridden casually versus when it was a bucking bronco? I'm sure it was two different horses. The mild mannered horse was a solid brown color, and when it was going berserk, it always had a dusty gray look to it. At first I thought that was the idea, having him kick up enough dust to make it look like it was affecting his coloration. But then, about the middle of the story, Ben (Glenn Ford) and Howdy (Henry Fonda) are making their way up to the high country, and Howdy remarks how different the horse's disposition can be at different times, almost like two different animals. To which Ben replies "You could say that" with a wry smile. That's what clinched it for me.

Well as for the rest of the story, this was a bit of a slow mover for me. Having been long time partners, I didn't get a real good sense of Ben and Howdy being buddies very much, any charisma between Fonda and Ford just didn't seem to come across. A lot of it seemed tired to me, making it appear more like a B Western with big names rather than an A list production. In fact it wasn't much of a Western either come to think of it, but a story about aging horsemen who use their skill and experience to make a buck before blowing it at the end of each season.

Even more lamentable was that scene with the pair of valley girls the duo tries to help out when their car breaks down. I guess the script called for them to play it dumb because they sure played it dumb. Following that 'hats behind the behind' scene I'm kind of grateful the girls didn't get to do their Snakes of Love act; I can only imagine what that was all about.

Well far be it for me to suggest you shouldn't watch this flick, because if you're a Fonda or Ford fan I guess you could find this somewhat entertaining. This is where I get to paraphrase Fonda's character when he'd say something like 'Whatever suits you would just tickle me plum to death". I'll have to leave it at that.
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