The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
42 Reviews
Sort by:
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.
27 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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.
46 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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."

35 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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?
21 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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.
27 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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.
23 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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.
22 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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!
23 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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.
20 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
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.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
It's worth seeing again
aljmac14 April 2009
I saw this when I was five. I liked it at the time and was too young to have heard about the politics and controversy with Clayton Moore or notice the dubbing of the title character's voice. Even watching it again the other day for the first time in almost thirty years, those things were not issues to the movie itself.

It was entertaining. There are things I'd change here or there, but overall it was good. The handling of Tonto still holds up today in our hyper-PC world.

It's not without its warts, but they can easily be seen beyond and the movie enjoyed. Definitely check it out.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not very good, but not that bad....
Chuck Miller26 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Given that Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels are firmly in our minds and hearts as the Lone Ranger and Tonto, it was imperative that the casting of this film be correct. It's fine to cast an unknown actor in the title role, but whoever conducted the screen test certainly goofed big time. If you have to dub the voice of Klinton Spilsbury, then he's probably not the best choice for the role. This was worse than casting Michael Keaton as Batman, because Keaton amazingly pulled it off.

Actually, the rest of the cast was pretty good. Christopher Lloyd as Butch Cavendish, Michael Horse as Tonto, and Richard Farnsworth as Wild Bill Hickok made the movie watchable.

The acting ability of Spilsbury is virtually non-existent, though the physical action was passable.

Other problems: The story has been told in films at least three times before, and the Lone Ranger never killed anyone in the other films and TV series. If the "real" Lone Ranger knew the fall would kill the outlaw, he would have chosen a different way to capture him. This Lone Ranger simply was not very believable.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Nice photography--little else
preppy-325 March 2008
The untold origin of the Lone Ranger. It shows who he was and how and why he became the Ranger.

Legendary bomb. The idea was not a bad one--reinvent and introduce the Lone Ranger for 1980s audiences. Right off the bat though there were problems. The studio ordered Clayton Moore (the original Ranger) to stop appearing anywhere as the Lone Ranger. It led to a nasty little battle that made headlines. I know of people who refused to see the film because of how Moore was treated. Also they hired the awesomely untalented Klinton Spilsbury to play the Ranger. Spilsbury was very handsome and muscular but had absolutely no charisma and just couldn't act. In fact his whole vocal performance was redubbed by another actor! Also his off screen antics (public drunkenness and beating people up) didn't help matters. Acting aside, the script is dull and slow. Also the Ranger himself doesn't show up until an HOUR in! There were some complaints at the time that the movie was too violent for a PG. However I don't think it was that bad.

There are a few (very few) things done right here--the photography was truly beautiful; Michael Horse was excellent as Tonto; Christopher Lloyd is lots of fun as the villain and when the Lone Ranger finally shows up (with the William Tell Overture booming from the soundtrack) it's really rousing. But, all in all, this is a boring and terrible attempt to bring back the Lone Ranger. It's easy to see why this bombed. A 4--mostly for the photography.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hal-752 January 2002
This movie contains the worst acting performance of all time. Spilsbury lacks energy to say the least. Energy is what Clayton Moore gave us in spades. I never felt once in this movie that Spilsbury was anxious for anything. Revenge, love, justice? Not in this guy's portrayal.

There is also no chemistry between Tonto and LR. If the plot did not force them to be friends, you don't get the impression they want to hang out with each other. Plus, the sidekick has the more interesting personality. Ewww.

The dialogue is predictable and boring.

The narration is stunningly bad and if you are familiar with the Dukes of Hazzard you can picture what this is like. I cannot believe the director would agree to this. It insulted me as a viewer by explaining every plot line I just witnessed.

Hey, at least the horses and locations looked good, maybe that is what happens when you hire a cinematographer to be your director.

RATING-2 You may be able to watch this one for laughs or to demonstrate to an alien what a bad movie is.
11 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
What a bomb!
ha784214 September 2003
I saw this in a theatre when it came out. It is too bad to be believed. Not 'fun' bad like "Plan Nine From Outer Space". This is 'just plain bad'.

It began to lose some of the audience the first time Klayton opened his mouth to [not] speak. I know I rolled my eyes. In fact none of the acting was anything to speak of. I'm sure the narration took it's toll, as has been said, but it's been 22 years.

I recall at times when they rode, the music got louder perhaps more annoying] and the action slowed a bit for a 'dramatic' effect. Tonto would lean forward and arch his back and for a while the picture would seem like an old west painting. Probably meant to be artistic, but it failed.

The scene where our [ahem] hero meets Silver was strange. A little too much attention paid to the horse's muscles and, yes, it was definately a stallion.

This was a film people walked out on. In the end I only stayed because, at one point, I had to see if it would get any worse. It didn't. It couldn't.
11 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
What Went Wrong?
Shield-311 July 2000
I just finished watching "Legend of the Lone Ranger" again, and, as always, I come away scratching my head. Why isn't this a better movie? What went wrong?

On the plus side: John Barry does his usual bravura job with the score. Michael Horse's Tonto is as smart as Jay Silverheels, but more vocal, which is a nice change. Jason Robards is obviously having a ball playing Ulysses S. Grant, and every time he's onscreen, the energy quotient goes up.

On the minus side: Merle Haggard's narration -- what were they thinking? With the exception of Horse and Robards, everyone else acts like they were drugged before walking in front of the camera. Christopher Lloyd in particular tries to make his Butch Cavendish menacing, but he doesn't have much to work with. And Klinton Spilsbury...

It had to take a lot of guts to put on that black mask. No other character is so thoroughly identified with a single actor: there are people who will debate that Sean Connery wasn't the best Bond, or that there were Tarzans other than Johnny Weismuller, but to the world at large, Clayton Moore IS the Lone Ranger. It's easy to beat up on Spilsbury just because he's not Moore, which isn't fair, but it goes beyond that. In order for a movie like this to work, you have to believe that your star is the Lone Ranger, and I kept getting the impression Spilsbury didn't buy it himself. The producers obviously had their doubts, too, which accounts for why they redubbed all of Spilsbury's lines.

What it boils down to is, "Legend of the Lone Ranger" isn't the total catastrophe some claim, but it still isn't very good. It has a certain irresistable attraction to the diehard Lone Ranger fan, like gawking at a massive car wreck -- it'll kill a couple of hours, but it doesn't stick with you when it's all done.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I am still smiling
skoyles7 August 2013
I first saw The Legend of the Lone Ranger with my then eleven year old daughter and have not seen it until this evening when I enjoyed a none to good DVD in a "FULL SCREEN"(i.e., butchered for 1.33:1 CRT TVs) format. I may never lose the idiot smile on my face. The music is what one can always expect from John Barry, one of the greatest composers to ever write for the movies. The details show a genuine effort to get things right: in the prologue set in 1854 cap-and-ball revolvers are used (1860 models but at least they tried); in the body of the motion picture Colt 1873s and Remington 1875s are used. The town and Indian village are beautifully realized while the gorgeous cinematography even survives FULL SCREEN. A pre-"Back to the Future" Christopher Lloyd is terrifying. It is redolent with references that only fans of the radio and Clayton Moore TV show would get: Detroit, John Hart, Striker. Somebody tried very hard! The Me generation's attempt to hold to the story and legend of what was entertainment and instruction for children required the blood and surfer hairdo (shudder) but such things do not detract from the Legend. I have yet to see the 2013 Lone Ranger but a friend has seen it and recommended it highly. We shall see but, for now, this 1981 movie, excoriated by critiques and shunned by North American audiences, can hold its head high.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hi-oh bomb
djray6522 October 2005
I remember this bomb coming out in the early 80's. At first it sounded like a great idea. A retelling of an American classic with the help of modern movie techniques of the day. There was a bit a of a back lash over the treatment of the original "Lone ranger", Clayton Moore. The movie studio had threatened legal action if Moore continued portraying him self as the real lone ranger. (Moore was performing at children's hospitals as the Lone ranger for sick kids.) To many Americans Clayton Moore was just that the; the one and only lone ranger. I had always felt that the studio could have done justice to both the fans and legacy of the lone ranger if Moore had been treated better. Maybe even a cameo in the new movie. How ever this was not the case, and many of the viewing public stayed away in droves. Also the story and acting were weak. All this added up to a big box office bomb, and rightly so. I personally I'm glad the studio lost big money after the way the real Lone ranger was treated. You don't treat an American icon that way.
9 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A lesson well-learned
Bobs-912 July 2005
I very well remember the bad press this film got because of the producers' court order against Clayton Moore using the name "Lone Ranger" or donning his black mask at personal appearances. Quite apart from any consideration of the film's quality, this was the absolute height of nearsighted arrogance and stupidity on the part of the producers and their attorneys. And I suspect that the lesson was well-learned after this film tanked, which was widely perceived as some sort of karma for the jerks responsible for the court order against Moore.

In more recent times it has become the custom, when reviving a legendary film or TV project, to invite the original star or stars for cameo appearances, and rightly so. Show some respect, you idiots! And even if they turn up their noses at the prospect, which has happened, at least the offer was made. This is proof positive that film producers, studio executives, and entertainment attorneys are not quite too stupid and arrogant to be taught by example.
7 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I am in the minority here
jammallnyte8 January 2016
For a movie to cost $18 million in 1981 would translate into approx. $50 million today. The movie The Hateful Eight people are talking about cost $65 million in comparison. So at the point it was a big budget movie and it failed miserably.

I do not understand why. Did the filmmaker take liberties? Named him John? etc? Of course and today that happens ALL THE TIME. This is a far better movie than how it is portrayed. I love to watch it whenever I can and it sure beats the hell out of that Disney/Johnny Depp attempt thats for sure.

I still get chills and John Ried kneels at his brother's grave..... stands up and turns.... and for the first time we see the mask and the William Tell Overture hits... damn if that isn't a great scene. Reminds me of the original Superman when we first see Superman and he flies by the lens and his music plays.

What I am saying is... if you have not seen this movie watch it. Watch it with an open mind and not with all the bashing some would give it.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Clayton Moore's boots are mighty hard to fill, partner...
Puck-2028 December 1999
What a turkey. Slow, plodding plot...wooden acting..even the voice of the Lone Ranger was dubbed! And the "big finale" was nothing more than the Lone Ranger and Tonto (Mexican for "Stupid"...a good title for this movie...) running around lighting dynamite. You'd be a lot better off watching the TV serial than this turkey....
7 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Far superior to the modern remake
Craig Rosenblum12 March 2014
This is just a good movie, I'd even say it's a great B-movie.

First off, what really sells me on this movie is the following factors.

1. The Music, I really love the music, just touches me, the power and the mystery of the American west, the natural wonders that is America. Just powerful and touching music.

2. Two Boys Meet, I really like the meeting of the two boys, maybe it was glossed over a bit, still the boys part was one of myth building that this movie does really well.

3. The Older Brother, he just out acts the guy portraying his younger brother, but he does it in such a natural way. This is how a normal guy would do or say, to protect his family, his loved ones.

4. The natural beauty of the American wild west.

5. Christopher Lloyd, I just purely love this classic character actor's work. Even when he's young, he just out acts, out performs as a pure evil, methodical, military style villain. He is outstanding as Butch Cavendish.

6. The Death of the Rangers, feels so real, so powerful, so dusty.

7. The power and truth of the white horse, as a spirit for truth and justice. The silver bullets and the white horse, mediums for delivering truth and justice! Hi Ho Silver, and away! 8. Jason Robards, He looks awesome, as the manly President Ulysses S. Grant, he exudes presidential material.

Even with the real bad moments of acting, plot writing.

There is still so much to treasure, to value.

And let's be honest, Hollywood really sucks at doing remakes, just look at how they poorly remade The Green Hornet.

FYI, are you aware that "The Lone Ranger" (John Reid) is a distant uncle to "The Green Hornet" (Britt Reid)? Even in the The Green Hornet TV Show in the 1960's in Britt Reid's office is a photo of a masked man, "The Lone Ranger".

To me this is a classic of both western myths, but of truth and justice.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
More like a TV pilot episode
tonellinon8 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The movie was enjoyable. I am biased, though. I grew up idolizing the Lone Ranger. I can never understand the decision to cast Klinton Spilsbury in the title role. This would not be too hard to understand if we follow the theory that a TV pilot was the original idea. But this theory falls apart when I consider that, for some reason, Spilsbury's voice wasn't deemed good enough, so it had to be dubbed. This causes the unintentionally comical situation of a Hollywood movie looking like a foreign-made spaghetti western because the dialog and the actor's lips are not always in sync. The narrator and the songs are irritating. Despite all this, I liked the movie. It started out with the elements of an epic picture about the story of a legendary hero, a film that should have been 3 hours long. Then, after the set-up of how he came to be the Lone Ranger, the film rushes into what seems like a TV episode. A small amount of screen time elapse from the kidnapping of the President to his rescue, which was reminiscent of a Gunsmoke or Bonanza episode, where the story had to unfold in between commercial breaks, all within 1 hour air time. A lot of people got very lazy in the making of this movie. Still, to me, it's as if it were a 98-minute episode of the Lone Ranger. Heigh-ho, Silver! Away!
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
the legend started simple, just a boy without a home...
GradyQ21 June 2003
Taken in by Indians, but still pretty much alone. So goes the godawful narration courtesy of Merle Haggard in this botched Klinton Spilsbury version of the Lone Ranger. You may be asking yourself: ""Klinton Spilsbury, should I know that name?" The answer is no, you shouldn't. The unknown Spilsbury had an eyebrow raising lack of credentials not only before this movie, but since as well. I don't think I've seen him in anything else. Michael Horse was an unspectacular Tonto. The only saving grace is Christopher Lloyd's Butch Cavendish. He's over the top and in top wild eyed form, yet by Christopher Lloyd standards, a subdued performance. The narraration and the fact that they dubbed Spilsbury's lousy voice make this a hilarious, if a little bit sad, experience. I don't mean to harp on the Merle Haggard narraration, but he really goes on and on. He's always saying things the viewer could pick up on just by watching, and he says it in the form of some awkwardly rhyming country ballad. I'm a fan of the Lone Ranger, and I saw this one as a kid and didn't know just how bad it was. They screwed up things that were cool about the Lone Ranger, like his silver bullets. Originally, the Lone Ranger used silver bullets because he never killed, and the valuable silver represented how precious a human life was. In the Klinton Spilsbury version, the Lone Ranger uses silver bullets because Tonto tells him silver flies straighter because it's "pure". In fact, he can't hit a target until he loads up the silver bullets. What kind of weak nonsense is that? They turn it into something magical instead of something powerfully symbolic. Oh well, water under the bridge. I think all parties involved in this fiasco have learned their lesson after the critics and the moviegoing public gave them their just desserts. Klinton Spilsbury sure hasn't shown his face again.
6 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An American icon goes down the toilet
heckles6 September 1999
Back in the early '80s., I had my first car and VCRs had not become popular yet, so therefore I drove out to see a lot of bad movies I would not bother with before or since. "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" was one of them, along with "Endless Love", "Tarzan the Ape Man" and (most horribly) "The Lonely Lady."

Words fail me in expressing how terrible Klinton Spilsbury is in this movie. Only look at his IMDb listing to see he was never hired again to work in a film. (As I understand it, Spilsbury's antics on the set didn't help. That was the reason, also, why Clayton Moore refused to bless this movie with the traditional cameo-from-the-former-star.)

However, the movie is not entirely Spilsbury's fault. The movie shows that fifties high-mindedness did not translate well into the cynical eighties. For one thing, his powder blue uniform, designed to look good on black and white TVs, looks silly and effeminate on the big color screen. The incredibly bloodless violence (i.e., shooting a gun out of a hand) is most likely to elicit an ah-come-on from a contemporary audience.

The movie did have one good selling point: Christopher Lloyd's properly cold-blooded Butch Cavendish. He was so much more potent than Spilsbury's Ranger that I wound up rooting for him by the end of the movie.
6 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews