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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

PG  |   |  Western  |  30 June 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 46,964 users  
Reviews: 182 user | 70 critic

A Missouri farmer joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.



(book), (screenplay) (as Phil Kaufman) , 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill McKinney ...
Paula Trueman ...
Sheb Wooley ...
Kelly (as Matt Clarke)
John Verros ...


Josey Wales makes his way west after the Civil War, determined to live a useful and helpful life. He joins up with a group of settlers who need the protection that a man as tough and experienced as he is can provide. Unfortunately, the past has a way of catching up with you, and Josey is a wanted man. Written by Murray Chapman <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines: army of one.




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

30 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wells  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie received mixed reviews on its release, but it wasn't until a few years later that aficionado Orson Welles, during a guest appearance on The Merv Griffin Show (1962), declared: "When I saw that picture for the fourth time, I realized that it belongs with the great Westerns. You know, the great Westerns of Ford and Hawks and people like that." See more »


During the attempted rape scene, crew members can be seen through the legs of a bandit. See more »


[first lines]
Josey's wife: Little Josey! C'mon in, let's get you cleaned up!
See more »


Referenced in Gran Torino (2008) See more »


The Outlaw Josey Wales
Written by Jerry Fielding
See more »

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User Reviews

Love, Hate, Revenge, Forgiveness, Sorrow, Life, Death.
4 November 2002 | by (Swieqi, Malta) – See all my reviews

Love, hate, revenge, forgiveness, sorrow, life, death, emargination, racism, the uselessness of war, betrayal, redemption, solidarity, friendship. Not many films manage to deal competently with even just one of these topics. This masterpiece deals with all. Within the first 4 or 5 minutes (even before the opening credits) one has already been exposed to more force and emotion than most films can pack up in 90 minutes.

By the end of the 2 hrs 10 minutes of this film one would have lived through tour-de-force highlighted by memorable climaxes and showdowns featuring some of the most striking dialogue in cinematic history... "dying ain't no way to make a living". Eastwood's character doesn't speak much but utters a handful of memorable lines.

The central character played by Eastwood is given fine support by an excellent ensemble cast including Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney and most of all John Vernon. John Vernon plays a character called Fletcher who turns out to be one of the most complex characters I have ever come across. His motivations and true intentions are never quite clear. He comes across as a bit of a Judas figure and yet he still retains his humanity as the script and Eastwood as the director never truly judge Fletcher, leaving the viewer to judge for him or herself. Almost every character is memorable and every performance fits in place.

The action is sudden and explosive and not always expected. The film takes many twists and turns, yet every twist is a natural consequence of the situations and characters in the film. Ultimately one is left with a truly rich cinematic experience which should appeal to more than just fans of the Western genre. Its themes of suffering and the consequences of evil acts is still sadly relevant in today's world - a world in which not all wars are won by the good guys and in which the good are sometimes persecuted by those who win these wars.

When thinking of the best pre-credit sequences ever forget most others... this should be your best bet.

78 of 98 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Opening scene fails to connect? ilBuono
Favorite scene? cmk78250
On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you think this film has aged? AbdulBenHassan
What is Your Favorite Part of the Movie? IamTenBears
Why do the Redlegs let Josie live at the beginning of the film? ronfar623
What Is The Greatest Movie Line Ever? Arbor1
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