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High Plains Drifter (1973)

 -  Western  -  22 August 1973 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 28,414 users  
Reviews: 157 user | 65 critic

A gunfighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Callie Travers (as Mariana Hill)
...
Jack Ging ...
...
Ted Hartley ...
Billy Curtis ...
...
Stacey Bridges
Scott Walker ...
Bill Borders
Walter Barnes ...
Sheriff Sam Shaw
...
...
Asa Goodwin
...
...
Bootmaker
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Storyline

A stranger rides out of the hot desert into a small town in the wild west. The towns people are scared of him, and 3 gunmen try, unsuccessfully, to kill him. He takes a room and decides to stay. Meanwhile, a group of outlaws are about to return to the town and take their revenge - will the towns leaders convince the mysterious man to help ? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They'd never forget the day he drifted into town. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 August 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La venganza del muerto  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,512,351 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Stranger is quite a misogynistic character; e.g. his masochistic rape of Marianna Hill, etc. See more »

Goofs

After the town has been painted red, a shot pans past the bell tower atop the church. The (lack of) application of paint on the bell tower edges shows it was painted with a spray gun. Also, many of the buildings have a very thin and even coating of red paint applied. Again, obviously done with a spray gun. This technology would not have been available at the time. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Stranger: Beer... and a bottle.
Lutie Naylor: Ain't much good, but it's all there is.
[brings drinks]
Lutie Naylor: You want anything else?
The Stranger: Just a peaceful hour to drink it in.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing shot of The Stranger disappearing into the heatwaves plays out over the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Legend of the Phantom Rider (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
12th Review: Deconstructing the Western
20 December 2006 | by (the big screen) – See all my reviews

High Plains Drifter looks and feels like a deconstruction of the language of the Western.

A brilliant mix of psychological and macabre, and in places even quite bizarre, it is an investigation of what is created when weakness and desire meet the man driven half to madness (Eastwood) yet seems sane: he is pathological, but is he the only standard of true sanity as a protagonist here? Has he truly lost all sense of ethic?

He starts here as the archetype of antiutilitariansim: nothing he does is for anyone's benefit if it costs him a moment of care. He is cold, brutal, effective. Yet behind this there is a sense that he has a twisted right on his side. Having being so wronged his revenge is more complex than simply killing: it demands retribution, and retribution demands the whole town pays.

More existential than even Once upon A time in the West, or, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly it is about the nihilism and the circle of violence that must be closed.

The filming is supremely confident for a second film: real silences and pauses, laugh out loud lines and situations and cold, cold chills: the language of film is expressed explicitly and implicitly. This is the death knell of the Good vs. Bad traditional Western: it is more like Kurosawa's Yojimbo though here the bad guys are few and the townsfolk are by implication as guilty as the rest because they let evil thrive and let it break a good man.

Never answering it's own questions: like Lago itself it is a world created in isolation and as such is a unique and powerful testament to Eastwood's continuing expression of the darker psyche of the cost of opening up the cowboy image and getting to a colder, starker, realism that defined 70s films.

Compulsive viewing and an important film.


13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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