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Young Guns (1988)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  12 August 1988 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 38,804 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 115 user | 47 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.

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Title: Young Guns (1988)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sharon Thomas Cain ...
Susan McSween (as Sharon Thomas)
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Thomas Callaway ...
Texas Joe Grant (as Tom Callaway)
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Storyline

1878 in New Mexico: John Tunstall picks up young gun men from the road to have them work on his ranch, but also to teach them reading and to civilize them. However he's a thorn in the side of the rich rancher Murphy, as he's a competitor in selling cattle. One day he's shot by Murphy's men. Judge Wilson can't do anything, since Sheriff Brady is one of Murphy's men. But attorney Alex persuades him to constitute Tunstall's young friends to Deputies and give them warrants of arrest for the murderers. Instead of arresting them, William Bonney just shoots them down. Soon the 5 guys become famous and William gets the name "Billie the Kid" - but they're also chased by dozens of Murphy's men and the army. The people however honor him as fighter for justice. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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The odds were a hundred to one. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

12 August 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jovenes Pistoleros  »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$44,726,644 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Casey Siemaszko plays Charlie, a pugilistic cowboy, who happens to be "handy" with his fists. In Of Mice and Men (1992), Casey Siemaszko plays Curley, a rancher's son, who is "handy" with his fists. See more »

Goofs

The position of the three knives thrown at Billy. See more »

Quotes

William H. Bonney: Murphy's taking inventory in Tunstall's store right now and you're saying that means nothing to you?
Chavez: It means nothing to me? Murphy and his politicians have taken more blood from me than they ever will from you.
William H. Bonney: How do you figure?
Chavez: The Red Sands Creek Reservation. 200 people butchered in the snow with their stomachs empty. My mother's people. You see, Murphy was under government contract to supply us with beef, but two winters ago, he sent only rotten meat. No corn, no flour, just rancid beef ...
See more »

Connections

Version of The Time Tunnel: Billy the Kid (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting modern western relies a little too heavily on cliche
18 July 2001 | by (Annandale, VA) – See all my reviews

An Englishman running a New Mexico ranch in the old west recruits wayward young men to be his ranch hands. Among their duties is protecting the ranch from his more powerful and villainous neighbors, thus earning them the title "regulators". Through a combination of discipline and nurturing, he is able to civilize the men and give them discipline. When murdered by another rancher, the regulators are deputized to help catch the men who did it. But one of the regulators, known now as Billy the Kid, is a relative newcomer who has not yet learned self-discipline. Engaged in a power struggle for leadership of the group, he is far more interested in killing the villains than bringing them to justice, thus turning the group into outlaws themselves.

Although the movie is very well made, it never really explores the potential of the plot, relying instead on cliches to entertain us. It also seems completely confused in its portrayal of the main character. Is William Bonney a homicidal maniac or a fiercely loyal man out to avenge the death of a father figure? Is he a caustic head-strong youth or a steely smooth-talking leader? Depending on the scene, you can take your pick. He's clearly supposed to be a sympathetic anti-hero, but this is accomplished only by turning his antagonist into a cartoonishly evil villain, portrayed in perfectly predictable manner by Jack Palance. The shootout scenes are nicely filmed, but as the movie progresses they move more and more towards standard western cliche.

The strongest point of this movie is the relationship of the characters played by Sutherland and Estevez. Doc is strongly attracted to Billy the Kid and admires his strength of character at the same time that he fears him and is repulsed by his murderous actions. Both actors do an excellent job trying to pull this off in spite of the limited development which the script allows. This and the support of a very competent cast makes the film worth watching but not necessarily worth going out of your way for.


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