During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
Marshal Wyatt Earp kills a couple of men of the Clanton-gang in a fight. In revenge Clanton's thugs kill the marshal's brother. Thus, Wyatt Earp starts to chase the killers together with his friend Doc Holliday.
While passing through the town of Bannock, a bunch of drunken, trail-weary cattlemen go overboard with their celebrating and accidentally kill an old man with a stray shot. They return home to Sabbath unaware of his death. Bannock lawman Jered Maddox later arrives there to arrest everyone involved on a charge of murder. Sabbath is run by land baron Vince Bronson, a benevolent despot, who, upon hearing of the death, offers restitution for the incident. Maddox, however, will not compromise even though small ranchers like Vern Adams are not in a position to desert their responsibilities for a long and protracted trial. Sabbath's marshal, Cotton Ryan, is an aging lawman whose tough reputation rests on a single incident that occurred years before. Ryan admits to being only a shadow of what he once was and incapable of stopping Maddox. Maddox confides to Ryan that Bannock's judicial system is weak and corrupt, and while he's doubtful that anyone he brings back will suffer more than the ... Written by
When Vernon Adams (Robert Duvall) first aims down on Maddox (Burt Lancaster) with his rifle from above, Maddox is riding away from him up a long draw. Immediately afterward, Maddox is still traveling up the draw and looks up and sees Vernon in front of him and above him aiming down at him. The positions switched 180 degrees. See more »
Bannock Marshal Jared Maddox:
You can't break the rules, Laura.
Oh, the rules! I forgot the rules. You think they change the killing? Because you never draw on a man first, you think that really matters? Do you know what they call you, Jared? The widowmaker!
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This is perhaps the best of those enigmatic Michael Winner productions that focus the plot on the emotions and personalities of the protagonists of the film. I love Michael Winner productions. They are never shot in a studio; and his realism is virtually unapproachable by any other director of the time.
Lawman is a story of pride,arrogance and people fixed into paths of life which they cannot change. Burt Lancaster is sterling representing "The Law"; a force that cannot be swayed. He desires, or thinks he desires, to be something else, but he is indeed the law, and cannot escape his fate. The characters of the town, the men he comes to arrest for a killing, all follow their own ordained paths. Because not one of them can, or will, bend or accept the events that are occurring, they all converge on the final climax that is one of the greatest statements of human futility that I have ever seen in a film. The climax of this story is fantastic, and almost totally unexpected. No one should spoil it for you, even a little.
There are a number of truly great character actors in this film, and each gives a flawless performance. In True Michael Winner form, the action is stunning and the violence is portrayed with all the realism that shows how awful and devastating it can be. This is a gritty, but deep story that holds one in its grasp without pause. I highly recommend it.
Unfortunately, Lawman is a rare film; almost never broadcast. If you are fortunate enough to find a copy for rent,or purchase, do so with all haste. It's a Winner!
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