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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie isn't the best Western ever made, but it's a solid creative
effort that brings out many of that genre's most appealing aspects. It has
romance, gunplay, wonderful scenery, and, most importantly, a solid hero and
a solid villain. Westerns are, by nature, a morality tale. There's a Good
Guy and a Bad Guy, and in the end, the hero prevails through a combination
of courage, fair play, and ingenuity. And that's exactly what happens here.
The three principal characters are Quigley, an American sharpshooter hired by an Australian rancher, Marsden, and Crazy Cora, a woman shipped off to Australia by her ex-husband after accidentally suffocating her baby to keep him quiet while hiding from raiding Comanches. Quigley (Tom Selleck) is an expert long range marksman who has been recruited ostensibly to shoot dingoes, but, as he finds out after his first night with Mr. Marsden (Alan Rickman), his real targets are to be local Aboriginies. This leads to a rather violent falling out between the two men, which sets up the basic conflict in the movie. Marsden wants Quigley dead, and has numerous ranchhands to get the job done. Quigley has the shooting skills that allow him to pick off Marden's men pretty much at will. An uncredited "star" of the film is Quigley's Sharp's .45 calibre rifle, a gun so accurate it can kill a man from nearly a mile away.
Anyway, the movie proceeds in a more or less conventional fashion. After a big fistfight at Marsden's ranchhouse, Quigley and Cora are left for dead in the Australian outback. They are rescued by a band of Aboriginies, then quickly return the favor by picking off Marsden's men as they try to massacre more Aboriginies. Along the way, Quigley slowly falls for Cora. She may be nuts, but she's also charming, resourceful, brave, and beautiful.
In the end, Marsden gets what he deserves. Cora regains her sanity. And Quigley gets both the villain and the girl. Like I said, it's a Western in the classic tradition - well told and with great visuals.
Underseen western which , after a few theatrical misfires (though I also
enjoyed him in High Road to China), gave Tom Selleck a role which suited him
perfectly. A role which, as a previous comment stated, John Wayne would
have been right at home in. It can be argued that this is just a
politically correct revisionist western wherein the American witnesses
injustices on aborginals in a foreign land and is outraged to action despite
the utter mistreatment of native Indians during this same period back home.
Some may say it is so, but I prefer to think of Quigley as a man who came to
Australia BECAUSE of the injustices he's known back home and is looking
perhaps for something better. Selleck represents, as did John Wayne, the
decent and noble side of America, and there is no doubt that this is a man
given to stand up and do the right thing no matter where he is, Wyoming or
This aside, Quigley succeeds most as a light romance amidst the traditional shoot em up scenario. In fact, the love story is what drives it along most and provides it's most special moments. During a heartfelt speech beside the campfire, Cora relates how heartbreaking it was for her to have her Husband Roy, who blamed her for the death of their child, put her on a ship to Australia and walk away from her life not looking back. This is what matters to her most, as it matters to Quigley that she call him by his right name or he won't share his bed. When presented with their first parting, Quigley leaves Cora and the Aborigine baby in the cave and though assuring her he will return for her he rides away, without stopping to look back.
This is mere oversight on his part and it leads to the most moving scene in the film, one which never fails to bring a tear to my eye - when they are again about to be parted she asks him "I'll never see you again, Will I". He can't say because of what's ahead for him, but he puts his hand on her cheek and says "You sure look pretty in the morning sun". As he mounts his horse and rides off Cora watches after him wondering, as we are wondering, if he'll stop and look back. And then he does. It's one of the most thoughtful and emotionally fleeting moments in movie history. Too bad it hasn't been seen and appreciated by more people.
The musical score, by Basil Poledouris, is also a treat and it hits all the right notes. His score for Conan the Barbarian is an acknowledged classic but here I think he goes a step better. It truly is a nice piece of music to hear amid the action and quieter moments.
Quigley is a very good modern day western. It won't fail to entertain and it must surely be a film which both men and women can enjoy together. If they made more of these kinds of movies I definitely wouldn't complain.
I've been watching Westerns for some 60 years and Quigley Down Under rates
in my top 5 along with Unforgiven, The Wild Bunch, The Outlaw Jose Wales
Once Upon a Time in the West. I've watched it 6 times and haven't tired of
it yet. The musical score is superb, great story line and beautiful
cinematography. Excellent performances by Selleck, Giacomo and
Insofar as Quigley's marksmanship goes, there is nothing in the movie rifle shots that are not realistic as far as I'm concerned. During the Civil War, a Whitworth rifle with a telescopic sight had an effective range of 1800 yards and the exploits of Truman "California Joe" Head with his Sharps were lengendary in his own time. Even the Civil War Enfield was fairly accurate to 1100 yards. Given a Sharps with a custom load to match the rifle, it's a matter of familiarity, eyesight (preferably 20/10 or better), practice and reading the wind, the latter of which was shown prior to Quigley's demonstration to Marston and is by far the biggest variable in long range rifle shots. In short, anyone who is an excellent rifle or pistol shot is unbelievable. Check out Bob Munden's .45 Colt demonstrations. Blink and you've missed some of single or double shot feats. Literally!
That's not to say that Quigley is not a mythical character in the movie but no more so than Wild Bill Hickcok, Wyatt Earp or Bat Masterson came to be, usually for only one incident in their lives.
This is a 5 star Western if there ever was one. Can't recommend it too highly.
Matthew Quigley, a stoic rifleman arrives in Australia in the 1860s a
world far away from his home Wyoming
He is answering an ad from a
British landowner who will use his talents as an expert marksman
But things don't go according to plan and, at supper, and after we hear these words, "Nobody knocks me out of my own house," Elliott Marston becomes his arch enemy
Quigley's arrival sets the tone of the motion picture perfectly, coming into a fight with an evil plantation owner before he has even set foot on Australian soil where some genuinely funny moments happened especially when he met Crazy Cora right off the ship
After a showy display of his talents (continuously hitting a bucket at about a thousand yards) Quigley discovers to his horror that he has been hired for sniping Aborigines encouraged by the local authorities
Tom Selleck is excellent in the role of a cowboy, exuding natural charm, cool spirit and dignity He perfectly suited to the role of the finest sharp shooter hero with a moral There is a moment when he teaches local Aborigines a secret, and it hits the correct note...
Alan Rickman is perfect as Marston, the arrogant, clever bad baron who thinks himself the fastest six-gun
Laura San Giacomo believes Quigley to be a man she once loved and whose name is Roy She has her own tragic past as obviously her romance between Quigley and herself San Giacomo proves to be a lovable heroine
Director Simon Wincer creates outstanding scenery with the desolate Australian landscapes...
Those who haven't grown up with Wayne or Eastwood should take a fair glance at QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER, an excellent recreation of vintage cowboy movies with brilliant qualities that make a traditional standard among others. With modern styling, this will grow on you if Westerns haven't been your brand. It deserves high merits for top-notch costuming, make-up, and scenery that gets all dusty and brown. Acting is extremely well done, considering the late stage it's in. "Crazy Cora" is a cheerful rendition to lady-pokes everywhere in Western cinema, and one who keeps calling "Roy" all the time, plus Tom Selleck shows us what a true cowboy should be like. The orchestrated music will stick to your mind in years to come. One familiar old problem that Westerns would normally have is being more like the rest of them, but then again, this film provides testimony that there is great need of reviving the Western genre, which would still be hard to appease today. Highly recommended!
Unlike most "modern" westerns, this one is unburdened by the usual Hollywood flaws: overproduction, overacting and a massive cast of big names demanding their share of "face time." Selleck & San Giacomo do a masterful job of creating honest, three-dimensional characters facing a truly evil antagonist -- a part played with fiendish perfection by the superb Alan Rickman. Even the minor characters on both sides are well-cast and well-acted. Two other "stars" of this exceptionally fine film are Quigley's Sharps rifle and the musical score. The unusual, catchy theme will stick in your mind, and some of the dialogue will pass into screen legend, such as Quigley's remark about the Colt revolvers: "I said I didn't have much use for them. I never said I didn't know how to use one." To be sure, the writers take a few necessary liberties with the plot to make everything work, as in any movie, but it does work well. My wife, who is a gun enthusiast but not a big fan of westerns, has watched "Quigley" 7 or 8 times and never tires of it. There are a few films that will bear watching that often: The Usual Suspects, All About Eve, High Noon, Casablanca -- to name a few. Quigley is one of these.
I'm not really sure if this falls in the "Western" genre, but I think it's
pretty much the closest genre it would fit into. I've never really been
into westerns, but there is something about this one. It's a really good
Tom Selleck does a great job as Matthew Quigley. There really isn't enough I can say about Alan Rickman! He always plays the perfect antagonist! Maybe it's his voice, maybe it's the way he acts, I'm not sure, but all I know is that he is a great actor! Laura San Giacomo does a good job in the film too. Her character was a very strange one put in the film, but there is a reason for her strangeness. She does a fine job in the film too.
The story in this film is really quite simple and nothing terribly complicated, but it's really good and has a good moral to it. If you're the type of person that likes Westerns, then I would hope you would like this one too. Not only is it a western, but it's got a good amount of comedy in it too. Anyhow, I would definitely recommend seeing this film if you haven't already. I hope that you like the film as much as I do. Thanks for reading,
This is a bit a twist: a western in which the setting is Australia, not
the United States. Yet, the film features two American characters,
played by Tom Selleck and Laura San Giacomo. It's a simple, well-done
revenge story with a nice slow-developing romance as the subplot.
Meanhile, Alan Rickman, who was good at this sort of thing, plays the
hated, despicable villain.
The movie is appealing because it has a good mixture of action (and that is mixed, too, not just the same kind of fistfights or gun battles), romance, nice scenery and a little comedy thrown in. There's also a little PC thrown in as the good guys help out the downtrodden Aborigines, victims of racism by Rickman and his henchmen.
Warning: this a rough film in parts with a couple of harrowing scenes, such as people being pushed off cliffs, Selleck brutally beaten several times and wild vicious dingoes threatening San Giacamo and a little baby, but the action never goes on too long.
All in all, I found it one of the more memorable westerns I've watched. If for nothing else, the awesome sound of Selleck's Sharp Calibre .44 rifle makes this film hard to forget.
I was weaned on westerns and so after a while you get numb by the vast amount of bad ones done over the years.I always thought a `twist'gives a western something more,a `hook'if you will.This IS such a flick.It is also fair to say I am NOT a huge Tom Selleck fan.That being said I think this has become one of my top 5 favorite westerns ever and top 10 movies of all time.The hook is the Outback and this twist is right on target.The Aborigine are the Indians and we have the evil land owner in Alan Rickman and the `Lady'in Laura San Giacomo.In Lieu of the Mexican Army we have the English.A interesting Rifle to rival a artillery piece or Gattling gun for interest. The basic story is again,good vs evil and redemption via true love.Tried and true western themes,but this Outback setting is the new hook that makes it well done. Fine vast action theme music and a down hill chase via horseback that is a classic.It had to be well shoot and filmed and it was.The ending had a `mystical'setting not seen in westerns but a staple of the Aborigine mystique if you will. The movie also serves to bring light to the shameful treating of the Aborigine in Australia that climaxed only in the last 20 years.A dirty secret only hinted at of the policy in force until the late 1960s of removing Aboriginal children from their families.A touching scene with Laura San Giacomo and a small Aborigine child hammer this home on no uncertain terms.This film works on so many levels it should be recognized as a Aborigine in Australia `message' film set to western theme.I cannot say enough and recommend this film to everyone.You will not be sorry.
The first western I ever saw, QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER is my favorite. It's a great homage to the classic westerns of the past, with all the best elements combined in a fun movie about one man's fight against an evil land baron who (unknown to the hero) wanted to hire him to kill the local Aborigines, not the dingos as the hero originally thought. Tom Selleck ads another top-notch western to his resume, long with THE SACKETTS, THE SHADOW RIDERS, and the more-recent CROSSFIRE TRAIL. Alan Rickman is great as the bad guy, one of those characters you love to hate, and the beautiful Laura San Giacomo is a perfect western girl, whose (thankfully) is not the kind who becomes kidnapped and must be rescued. In fact, she spends a good deal of the film away from the action, caring for an Aborigine baby who was the only survivor of a tribe massacre earlier in the film. Director Simon Wincer proves what a genius he is at making westerns. He gets the most from everything, from the costumes to the performances, from the sweeping panoramic shots of the Australian outback to Basil Poledouris's lush score. And of course, no review of QUIGLEY would be complete without mentioning that awesome Sharps rifle. I cringe every time that wonderful rifle is thrown to the ground by Rickman. Glad to see that a DVD release is on the way, though it appears to be sorely lacking in the bonus features department. Anybody who likes westerns should check this film out. It's pretty family-friendly, too, with no harsh swearing and violence that never gets bloody or glorified.
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