The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) Poster

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I've always liked it
Katatonia28 April 2003
I know that I am in the minority here, but I've always really liked this movie. I fondly recall viewing it in the theater with my parents when i was 6 years old. Maybe I am blind when it comes to the film, but i don't see any major problems with it. It's not a perfect film, but it is quite enjoyable. Let me put it this way, there are many films out there which are much worse!

I think what i liked the most was the music score, that theme song was haunting to my ears and one of the few that stayed fresh in my mind for so many years. John Barry truly did a marvelous job on this one, and many other movie scores over the years as well. I wish i could find the original theme song on CD, or at least on MP3.
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Where have all the heroes gone?
witch king5 May 1999
The well-deserved negative comments about this beautifully-filmed fiasco have all but obscured one important good deed: the attempt to update the Lone Ranger on the wide screen, in all his majestic conservatism. Where the studio, in my mind, failed, was in treating the Ranger as "someone we know." For anyone who grew up in the late '40's or early '50's, and remembers Brace Beemer's voice [one God would have envied], or even his predecessor's [Earle Graser], or remembers how naturally Clayton Moore assumed the role for television, the expensive exposure of Klinton Spilsbury was cruelly unnecessary. Why trifle with the Masked Man's origins? He was perfect as we knew him! The Ranger, for all you out there in cyberspace, was NEVER named John; that his last name was Reid was well-known, but to give him a first name [and an unremarkable one at that], was to snatch away some of the mystery and aura surrounding the character. The Wrather Corporation, which bought the rights to the Lone Ranger from George W. Trendle, made this foolish mistake, and they robbed the Masked Man of any heroic pretense by making him, in essence, one of us. If someone bought the rights to the Superman character, changed his planet from Krypton to some other location, and did away with his earthly name of Clark Kent, can you imagine the reaction? The Wrather Corporation robbed themselves of a valuable property by re-tooling the Lone Ranger, and the result was this cinematic fiasco. It could have worked well, even without a "name" actor. The film was shot through with admirable creative strokes. Two come to mind. First, the racist attack on the young Tonto, second, the planned gang-rape of Amy Striker on the hijacked stagecoach, neither of which could have been broadcast nor televised in the '40's or '50's. Even the scene in the confessional could have proved a brilliant stroke [indeed, we saw it imitated in the 1998 "The Mask of Zorro" to wonderful effect]. The point is that it all could have worked! The sadistic ambush of the Texas Rangers at Bryant's Gap was realistic and moving, but could have been dealt with far more effectively by means of flashbacks. The film failed because the studio didn't care enough to probe the reasons for the Ranger's motivation [the superficial one of revenge for the massacre at Bryant's Gap wasn't enough] and Tonto's reasons for his remarkable and deeply humane devotion to his friend. A re-orchestration of the Republic and classical overtures would have heightened the film [as expensive as this might have been] from an ordinary Western into something else; a retelling of a classic myth and cultural icon. We Ranger fanatics are much the poorer because a rich corporation bought the rights to a character without understanding caring] about the emotional underpinnings of the legend. American audiences were ready for a "modern" Lone Ranger in 1981; I'm not certain that anyone cares anymore, and that's the tragedy.
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I Liked This Movie
sonny_196314 March 2006
I thought Klinton Splsbury was a good Lone Ranger and Michael Horse was a good Tonto.

The magic of this film, for me, is the first half, when we see how John Reid becomes the Lone Ranger.Also, a great scene where he finds a wild white horse, breaks him, and names him Silver. But a later scene just blew my mind away.

In that scene,after Reid and Tonto bury his brother and the other ambushed Texas Rangers, he decides to wear a mask so the bad guys won't recognize him. He tells Tonto the mask will be a symbol of justice. At this point, we have not yet seen his alter ego.

That changes when we see him from the back kneeling at his brother's grave and vowing to avenge his death. Then he puts his hat on, turns around, and as we see him in his mask for the first time, blaring trumpets sound out the start of the William Tell Overture. Being a Lone Ranger fan, this literally sent shivers down my spine.

The scene continues as they both ride away to more of the overture, and, of course, we hear "Hi yo, Silver, away."

Breathtaking!
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I liked this movie!
guil fisher25 December 2001
After reading so many bad comments on this film, I guess I'm one of the few that disagree with the critics. I really liked this movie. I thought it was well directed by William Fraker, with terrific photography and a well written story. So, for once, there isn't a lot of blood and guts all over the place. Who cares? It was also interesting to me to see how the Lone Ranger got his name and the whole silver bullet legend, which I never knew. So, thanks for filling me in on that subject.

Some wonderful performances by all of the leads. How wonderful to see Jason Robards as President Grant. He added so much to the role with his usuall unbeatable acting abilities. This is a terrific actor in all that he does. And Christopher Lloyd as "Butch" Cavendish, the villain, plays the part with simplicity and not the usuall western bad guy. It was nice to see Lloyd play a different kind of role other than the character from "Taxi" he's known for. I liked Matt Clark as the Sheriff. You see Clark in many films and most of the time his work goes un-noticed. This actor, too, does fine character work. Then we have the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Yes, there are many legends that lean on the gay relationship, but this viewer liked these two actors. I didn't know that Klinton Spilsbury's voice was dubbed as the Ranger. But I thought he had lots of charm and certainly good looks, with or without the mask. His scenes with the horse, Silver, were wonderfully humorous and appealing. His scene in the church with Amy was also well played and well photographed. I liked this actor and don't understand why he never appeared again in a film. It must have been his own choice.

As Tonto, Michael Horse was perfection. Simply played with dignity for his race, he brought some nice quality to the film. You felt that unsaid respect and devotion the two heroes had for one another. If you want to go the gay route, do so. I guess in this day and age, one must take that aspect and build on it. What, then, does that say of the Three Muskateers?
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The Lone Ranger Truly Does Ride Again
Brad L. Wooldridge17 September 1998
The Legend of the Lone Ranger is an earnest adaptation of the origin and earliest adventures of John Reid's masked alter ego. Not particularly well made or well acted, Legend does have its moments, especially after lead Klinton Spilsbury dons the familiar black mask and white hat. To hear the upbeat tempo of the William Tell Overture truly does bring shivers to old fans' spines once more. Spilsbury, despite a nationwide search, was not a good choice for the Lone Ranger. He is not especially tall, broad shouldered, or very heroic in his movments. And obviously his voice was not good enough for the role either, as James Keach was brought in to dub over Spilsbury's lines. However, Spilsbury does prove to be physically capable, and his fight scenes and shoot outs are very much like the legendary Clayton Moore's. Michael Horse has departed from Jay Silverheel's monosyllabic and subservant version of Tonto. He is an activistic sidekick, prepared to defend his people to a fault, even if he has to step over his partner, the Ranger. Look for fairly good acting from the various co-stars, including Christopher Lloyd as the fiendish Butch Cavendish, Richard Farnsworth as Buffalo Bill, and especially Jason Robards as a frequently inebriated President U.S. Grant. All in all, not a great film, but one that tries incredibly hard to keep the Legend of the Lone Ranger alive.
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Interesting
wildwest19993 May 2004
What is most interesting about this film, other than it's parallels to Zorro (which was written in the early 1900's): is the fact that Klinton Spilsbury never spoke a single word of dialogue throughout the entire piece, his lines being completely dubbed by James Keach, Stacey Keach's brother; Harrison Ford's stunt double from the later release of Raiders being run over during the stagecoach stunt homage to Yakima Canutt; and that John Hart, temporary replacement for Clayton Moore on the TV version of the Lone Ranger, being cast as Mr. Striker, newspaper editor and creator of the Lone Ranger mythos.

I personally like this film despite it's flaws. It's good, but could have been so much better.
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One of my favorites
CareyFisher6615 August 2005
"The Legend of the Lone Ranger" will always be one of my favorite movies. I am really tired of people bashing this movie. I will take "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" over a lot of the pretentious and overrated snoozers that have won Best Picture at the Academy Awards year after year. The movie is fast paced, entertaining and a great re-telling of the Lone Ranger story. Great cinematography! A wonderful and scenic film to look at. Klinton Spilsbury takes a lot of unwarranted criticism for his performance but I see nothing wrong with it considering his entire performance was dubbed by the less than stellar James Keach. Blaming Spilsbury for the acting makes no sense since Keach seems to phone his performance in. All in all, a fun movie deserving of a little more respect.
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8/10
If you're a fan of the Lone Ranger, you'll be thoroughly entertained!
jfreeman7143 November 2006
When you were a kid and listened to the Lone Ranger on the radio it was exciting. Years later, when Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels played the Lone Ranger and Tonto in the TV series The Lone Ranger, it brought ones heroes to life through the eyes of a youngster. Who can forget the masked man riding away at the end of the program shouting, "HiHo Silver,and Away", all to the stirring music of the William Tell Overture! Wow!

We all loved and respected the lone ranger and his faithful companion Tonto, but we never really knew the story of how the two came to be such great friends and why they had chosen fighting evil and injustice as an occupation. Well,the Ledgend of the Lone Ranger brings us right up to speed in a fashion that reveals many of attributes and flaws that are found as choices for all us. Loyalty, honesty, character, and fair play are pitted against deception, greed, cruelty and murder! Sounds just like another Lone Ranger episode. But,No! This time the hero is portrayed in the role of the victim. Will good have its day and triumph over evil? Things look mighty grim, after all, we've been into at least half the movie and haven't even seen or heard of our hero. And that's the point. Stick around for the wonderful second half to see how the Lone Ranger evolves, when he comes upon Silver, when he's reunited with Tonto and when he rides like the wind to even the score, as Rossini's Overture creates goosebumps, just like it did when we were kids!
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9/10
A great movie
richardvwhite16 March 2007
This movie was wonderful and one of the most memorable of my life. It was much more interesting and exciting than any of the old Clayton Moore stuff. The action sequences were well done, and it was emotionally effective. It gave me some good thrills, like when The Lone Ranger shoots the rope that is about to hang Tonto and then rides up and carries him off with a dazzling display of gunfire, and of course, all to the rousing William Tell overture. This is touching because you remember how Tonto found The Lone Ranger left for dead after the Butch Cavendish attack and nursed him back to health. I can't believe that it was not a hit. No, it wasn't perfect, but it certainly deserved a lot more respect than it got. And Jason Robards performance as Ulysses S. Grant was charming. I just hope I can find a copy somewhere as soon as possible.
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10/10
A timeless film for the family.
jesleaford22 March 2009
I was surprised to read that this movie did so poorly at the box office. We saw it 6 or 7 times in the theater and just assumed everyone else did too! We loved it as kids and still do today as adults. I still want to gallop around the living room on my pretend horse when I hear the song. If you want to look at this movie from a cinematic standpoint, I guess it isn't as good as the blockbuster, special effects extravaganzas produced today, but it is a good quality story and film without a lot of needless blood and guts. I can't wait to show it to my son, who is the same age now as I was when I first saw it. It's a classic and will forever be in my top 5.
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