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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

PG | | Western | 7 August 1976 (Japan)
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A Missouri farmer joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.

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(book), (screenplay) (as Phil Kaufman) | 1 more credit »
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589 ( 3,130)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...an army of one.

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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| |

Release Date:

7 August 1976 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wells  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,700,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Horse Wranglers: This movie contains some of the most wild horse scenes ever recorded and kept in a movie. Two scenes in particular: 1) At the beginning of the cabin shoot out, a horse jumps the stream, and doesn't stick his landing. As a result, you watch him skate on his front legs for at least twenty to thirty feet. 2) About three minutes later, one of the women shoots at three guys on the side of the hill, knocking people off their mounts. The people, and the horses slide downhill and don't stop until they hit the bottom. See more »

Goofs

The Gatling guns shown during the massacre of the surrendering confederates are not Civil War period versions of that weapon. The Model 1861 Gatling was a .58 caliber weapon firing from individually loaded brass or steel chambers which were fed into the receiver via a hopper or chute attached to the side of the gun's housing. As a result, the gun's rate of fire was significantly slower than is shown in in the film. The guns shown in the movie were models of 1867 or later, which were chambered for fixed ammunition, usually 45/70 and fed through a stick magazine on the top of the weapon's receiver. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in Seinfeld: The Strike (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
Performed by William O'Connell
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User Reviews

 
One of the finest westerns
21 March 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES is a wonderful story about a wounded man, Josey Wales, a Missourian who has lost his home and his family to the Civil War. As the Civil War ends in defeat and despair for the South, Wales alone of his guerrilla unit refuses to surrender. He has nothing left to live for, except to fight, and he cannot give that up.

This is a setup that has appeared many times in the movies, as the hero with nothing left to lose is a perfect excuse to show nonstop gunplay. To some extent, this happens in THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES too. It is an action western according to the classic formula, but it is more than that. Josey Wales heals his wounds as the story goes on, and begins to replace the friendship, and then the love, that he has lost. And as he heals, he begins to grow out of violence as a way of life. Many westerns have the theme of the older breed of man who tamed the west by violence being abandoned by his fellows; only this one, so far as I know, has the older breed of man abandon himself, that is to say, change his ways with the changing of the times.

Clint Eastwood is a decent actor, not a great one. But at times he has shown the skills of a really first-class director, and given his limitations as an actor it is the more to his credit that he did not hog the stage. He gives plenty of screen time to an excellent supporting cast, of whom the most memorable is Chief Dan George as aged Cherokee warrior Lone Watie, a role he plays with an eerily perfect balance of dignity and humor. Will Sampson makes an unforgettable cameo as Comanche chief Ten Bears, and Paula Trueman is a magnificently feisty Sarah.

John Vernon plays Fletcher, the man who betrays Josey Wales early on. I don't understand why Vernon could not find work in quality movies after this (he has appeared in 38 cinema releases since this movie and I challenge you to name any of them). Vernon has one of THE great basso-profundo voices in American cinema; only James Earl Jones could compare to it. If mountains could speak, they would sound like John Vernon. His role is a neat twist on the trope of the 'reluctant hero'; Fletcher is a reluctant villain.

The ending of THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES is the most beautiful and poetic of any in western movie history, maybe the most beautiful of any movie ever. According to the rules of the genre, the final confrontation between Wales and Fletcher can have only one outcome; the movie finds another way, because Josey Wales has found another way.

Rating: ***½ out of ****.

Recommendation: Western fans should own this one, but any movie fan should enjoy it.


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