|Page 1 of 13:||          |
|Index||122 reviews in total|
78 out of 103 people found the following review useful:
Very enjoyable film, 4 June 2004
Author: John H. Holliday from Griffin, GA
I've done extensive reading and research on Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday
and this era. With that as a start, let me continue.
The roles of Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp were well-cast and portrayed. The actors bore reasonable physical resemblance to the real men. Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday was superb; I thought his portrayal was more accurate than that of Val Kilmer in "Tombstone", his personality and his appearance.... although with friends, Doc Holliday was a pretty affable gentleman.
The story was a nice story, although there were significant problems with some of the historical accuracy. First, Morgan and Virgil were NOT shot on the same night... actually 3 months apart. Things like that bother me when seeing a supposedly historically accurate film. But what I considered the weakest part of this movie (and "Tombstone" as well) was the very incomplete and weak buildup to the gunfight. There was so much more that happened, so much that affected the relationship between the good guys and the bad, so much missing that both films almost made the fight look like a spur of the moment battle... which is far from factual. What many people don't realize is that Bat Masterson spent time in Tombstone during this era, although not directly involved in the "action"; also, Luke Short was a major ally of Wyatt's throughout this time.
I very much liked that Wyatt's young life was shown... his time as town constable, his marriage to Urilla Sutherland, her death and his resulting devastation, his pony stealing in Arkansas... all things that most folks never realized.
I would very much liked to have seen more of Wyatt's revenge ride and subsequent deaths and scattering of the Clanton gang. Also, the absence of any sequence involving the robbery of the Benson stage and the killing of Bud Philpot and Peter Roehrig is regrettable, as this was a major factor leading to the battle. Also, as a result of the stage robbery, we should have seen a sequence regarding Wyatt's agreement with Ike about turning in the robbers. Finally, how Behan backed out on his deal with Wyatt regarding the sheriff's office... a major factor in the animosity between the two men.
Yes... there are many other missing historical incidents that would have made the film more accurate and real.
Anyone who has an interest in this era should see the film. If you're not a stickler like I am for total historical accuracy, you should enjoy the film.
79 out of 112 people found the following review useful:
A very misunderstood and under-appreciated film, 2 July 2004
"Nothing counts more than blood... the rest are just strangers," speaks
Wyatt's father at the beginning of the film--the most important line
perhaps in the movie, with the exception of Wyatt's own at the end
"Some say it didn't happen that way," commenting upon a flashback
recounting his brand of law and justice in the wild cattle town of
I wholeheartedly admit the film is long--but so are many other great films. I also admit that it is not the shoot 'em up Tombstone is, but this film is a far greater one, a character study of a man whose innocence is laid to rest by the harsh wilderness of both the American West and human nature. By the end of this movie, Wyatt is a used up and bitter man, and I would argue that this film was never meant to be a heroic portrayal of an individual, only a dark and complicated one. It reminds me thus of the greatest of character portrayals, Raging Bull--though I'm sure the parallel isn't obvious.
I probably am more forgiving of this film since I like Westerns, dark dramatic stories, and admittedly uneven plots, because the characters usually are so great in them. This one is no different, and was likely made for a viewer like me, and not the mainstream audience.
It's very ambitious, and successful, I believe, on its artistic merits. Whether it's "entertainment" for the masses, well that's another story altogether, and that story's name is probably "Tombstone."
52 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
An excellent script, beautifully visualized, 6 January 2000
Author: Steve Steckel from Los Angeles, California
As epics go, this film ranks high on my list. I attribute this mainly to the
screenplay, which is compelling, visual, and rich. The film follows the life
of Wyatt Earp, from his boyhood, through the fight at the O.K. Corrall, and
Unlike other adaptations of the same subject (namely, Kurt Russell's Earp in 'Tombstone'), this film deals with the famous gunfight as merely a step in Earp's life. Rather, the film focuses on the man behind the legend. To do this, it looks at Earp's life in two stages: his life before, and after, a major transition.
Contrary to what some may think, Kevin Costner does a very good job portraying the lawman. His character experiences a wealth of emotion, but the script is so well written that Costner does not need to stretch himself to portray Earp effectively.
The film comes together so well because of an excellent musical score, visually stunning cinematography, and strong acting by the supporting characters. It draws the viewer in, so much so that you do not feel you are watching a film, but are experiencing a moment in history. The direction by Kasdan is quite low-key, allowing the viewer to be drawn into the story, rather than simply showing it to us.
I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys epic stories, wonderful acting (particularly Dennis Quaid, although Tom Sizemore and Michael Madsen are excellent as well), and visually compelling shots. Do not let the length dissuade you: Kasdan's film is well worth the three hours.
50 out of 64 people found the following review useful:
Kasdan and Costner's Lyrical, yet Uneven Western..., 28 August 2003
Author: Ben Burgraff (cariart) from Las Vegas, Nevada
WYATT EARP, the second of the epic films about the legendary lawman released
between 1993-94, lacked the commercial values that made TOMBSTONE
successful, but was a far riskier film, with higher aspirations.
Writer/Director Lawrence Kasdan, whose previous Western, SILVERADO (1985),
had paid homage to Hollywood's Western clichés, wanted, with WYATT EARP, to
cut through the myths, and create a film that would honestly examine an
all-too-human Earp's life in the 'real' West, set against vistas of that
were nearly overpowering in their immense size and beauty. Unfortunately,
the result was a mixed bag; while the film is beautiful to look at (with one
of the most majestic film scores of recent years, composed by James Newton
Howard), the characters (with the exception of Dennis Quaid's 'Doc Holiday')
lack charisma, with Kevin Costner's portrayal of Earp so flat that it is
difficult to arouse much interest in him (it would be nearly ten years
before he finally 'got it right', in OPEN RANGE). The film ultimately comes
across as overblown and overlong, with it's memorable moments nearly lost
amid panoramic views of the West.
I still think, however, that WYATT EARP has a few redeeming qualities which make it worth viewing. Foremost is Dennis Quaid, giving the performance of a lifetime as the dying Doc Holiday. The actor lost over forty pounds to play the role, and is physically the closest in appearance to the dentist-turned-gambler/gunfighter of all the actors who have ever portrayed him. Gaunt, dripping sarcasm with a Southern accent between hacking tubercular coughs, Quaid seizes each scene he's in, and certainly deserved Oscar consideration. It is ironic that his performance had to follow TOMBSTONE's flamboyant 'Doc', Val Kilmer, who created such an over-the-top, audience-friendly character, that Quaid's more realistic portrayal would be forgotten.
Another reason to watch WYATT EARP is it's presentation of the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and it's aftermath. With the exception of John Sturges' HOUR OF THE GUN, no Westerns before TOMBSTONE and WYATT EARP had told the full story of the events, from the brief but deadly shootout, through the subsequent murder trial against the Earps, and Ike Clanton's vengeance, afterwards, resulting in Morgan Earp's murder, and Virgil Earp being crippled for life. Wyatt's bloody vendetta against Clanton and his allies was a grim reminder of 'frontier justice' and his ruthlessness even appalled Doc Holliday. The film doesn't attempt to gloss over or glorify Earp's actions, but does try to explain it, as an obligation to his family, who were the cornerstone of his life. Unfortunately, it took WYATT EARP nearly two hours to finally reach Tombstone, by which time audiences were fidgeting in their seats!
Uneven, but at times powerful, WYATT EARP was a major box office failure when released, and it never achieved the 'Classic' stature TOMBSTONE has, over the years. But it isn't a bad film, and Kasdan should be credited for his willingness to take an original look at a Western legend. It will be interesting to hear his comments, if a 'Director's Cut' DVD is ever released!
47 out of 66 people found the following review useful:
I'll Take This Version Over The Rest, 25 October 2005
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
This is one of the best, and underrated, westerns ever made. It was a
very intense, interesting character study of a famous lawman, showing
flaws and all. In fact, this is the only version, I believe, that
really shows the sadistic side of Wyatt Earp, and what made him a
bitter man. To be fair, it also shows his good traits.
It also has a terrific, deep cast and features a good mix of drama, romance and action. Even the music grows on you after several viewings. There is no humor in here: this is a serious story. Unlike the more popular "Tombstone," this Earp story has a lot less profanity and almost no usage of the Lord's name in vain....but there is rough language and some crude sexual remarks, so don't watch it with the kiddies.
At rate, the movie is a lot better than the critics would have you believe. (All nationally-known critics but one panned this, as far as I know.)
Kevin Costner performed one of his better acting jobs. It was nice to see Michael Madsen and Tom Sizemore as good guys. That's not seen in too many films! They were low-key characters, too. Dennis Quaid did a nice job as the fascinating "Doc Holliday." It's generally conceded that Val Kilmer's "Doc" in "Tombstone" was the best-ever, but Quaid version is just fine, thank you, and gets better and better with each viewing.
This is a long movie, but it's never dull and it never overdoes the action, either. The cast is deep so you see a lot of familiar actors. As mentioned, this film is extremely underrated. I know most people prefer "Tombstone" but I'll take this version of the Earp saga any time!
35 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
Kasdan's epic Western proved absorbing , 21 April 2006
Author: ironside (email@example.com) from Mexico
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Law and Order" (1932), a film starring Walter Huston and Harry Carey,
had blazed the Earp screen trail with a brave version of the 0. K.
Corral happenings, although the true-life characters were never named
"Frontier Marshal" (1939) starring Randolph Scott and "Wichita" (1955)
with Joel McCrea also told the story
To most modern cinema-goers, however, the Corral incident and the confused events and motivations which led to it have been best served by four films, John Ford's "My Darling Clementine" (1946), John Sturges' "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," (1957), Sturges' "Hour of the Gun" (1967), and George P. Cosmatos' "Tombstone" (1993). But the question has yet to be solved: should the American West be depicted on the screen as it actually was, or should it continue to be a form of mythology?
Hollywood's version of history is considerably at variance with the facts, and life on the frontier in the 19th century would appear to have been more dull and monotonous than exciting and colorful Certainly, life in Tombstone, Arizona, in its time of greatest prosperity as a mining town must have been anything but healthy, with its vast number of rough working men relieving their boredom with drinking and brawling, and occasionally shooting each other
In Kasdan's epic Western, Earp is the upright defender of the law, and Doc, a dissolute gambler Nevertheless, the men are compassionate and respectful, and both have a kind of dignity Holliday is much more credible as the black sheep of an aristocratic Virginia family and a jaded idealist Dennis Quaid allowed himself to lose 30 pounds of his weight only to accurately portray the gun-notorious Doc Holliday, now, alas devoted to the bottle and in the latter stages of tuberculosis
In this instance we have Quaid breathing fire and fury at the slightest hint of an insult before breathing more heavily into his handkerchief He's a multi-dimensional human being who provides most of the film's best moments His character has his own form of ability Quaid does a far better work of portraying the effects of Holliday's tuberculosis Kilmer, in "Tombstone," never seems to have anything worse than a bad flu, except when it's dramatically necessary for him to look bad in greater degree
Earp (Kevin Costner) finds Doc sincere but nevertheless strikes up an understanding which one feels will blossom into grudging joint gun-action should the need arise The need is obviously there in villainous Clantons and McLaurys The path is well and truly pointed to that rendezvous at the Corral
Kasdan's motion picture covers areas of Earp's life that George P. Cosmatos' film "Tombstone" does not even touch While "Tombstone" was an action picture, centering on the events leading up to and including the famous gunfight, Lawrence Kasdan's "Wyatt Earp" focused on the man himself and his life from childhood to the confrontation and beyond The film starts with the teenage Earp and progresses through old age
The action in Kasdan's film is firm and fresh, nicely photographed and the story well told But we always remember Ford's "My Darling Clementine" for its other qualitiesfor the unhurried lulls and the 'time off' taken on the way This is Ford indulging himself, as was his habit, but on this occasion the indulgences all come off and are imparted with magic
"My Daring Clementine" was a film of touchesFonda, seated, adjusting his boots and his balance while the world, such as it is, goes by; Fonda, the peacemaker, right-and-properly in church; Fonda, with an old-world frontier concept of courtesy leading his lady in the out of doors dance
Earp in Kasdan's biopic is an ordinary man who met and married a beautiful young woman who died of typhoid a short time after the marriage Profoundly bitter about her death, he goes from a drunken fellow to horse thief to buffalo hunter to stagecoach driver to Dodge City, Kansas where he became one of the most famous "Westerners" of all time...
46 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
I usually am indifferent about Costner,however, 29 September 2004
Author: senator_noc from New Orleans
in some people's criticisms of the flick I usually see "he was dull" or "he didn't give the character life," and I have to disagree. In actuality he gave the best rendition of the real Wyatt Earp and his life. The movie is a biopic, and for historians like myself it served its purpose, in showing the life and true personality of a figure Hollywood overglamourized. Wyatt Earp was not the type to dance in the snow and was indeed a cold hearted SOB. I prefer this to Tombstone and no doubt Costner was better than Russell. And actually Quaid was the better Doc. I wouldn't say it was a classic movie and spaghetti western versions of the story might be more "entertaining," however the darkness of Costner's movie is chilling and is the version that gets more replay value from me.
27 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Reassessing an underrated masterpiece., 19 February 2004
Author: Rocking DH from FL, USA
I have to thank Kevin Costner for taking me West. "Wyatt Earp" led me to
pick up a copy of the early Earp bio by Stuart Lake while working in
and I was surprised to find photos of the actual historical people tipped
inside. The resemblance of the actors to those they portrayed impressed
I continued to research. I went to Tombstone and stayed at a nearby ranch. The town itself declined Costner's office to rebuild it with accuracy, preferring the leave things as they are (very touristy). The gunfight was actually held in the street, etc. My research matched at least striking physical/type casting for 17 characters, from major characters (the Earps and their wives/women) to the Cowboys, Beehan, Doc Holiday, his Kate, and Bat Masterson. Linden Ashby is the most striking doppelganger; indeed, he seems to be a physical reincarnation of Morgan Earp. Dennis Quaid lost some 40 pounds or so for the role of Doc Holiday and his resemblance to the TB-plagued gambler from Valdosta, Georgia is eerie as well.
Costner caught a lot of flack for this film; in fact, few critics noted the historical sense that he achieved. Granted, some cuts are made in time frame/continuity to speed plot along (i.e. timing of attacks on Morgan and Virgil), and the film is lengthy. I learned that the Cowboy/Earp feud was not mere ill-will, but that the strife represented political differences and clashing economic interests, as well as the "theft" of a lover. The old diaries and biographies are fascinating! I learned that Morgan Earp told Allie Earp something like, "I want to leave Tombstone and never come back" moments before he was shot to death.
Of note, Johnny Beehan's partner in the Dexter Corral in Tombstone was a man named "John Dunbar". This was Costner's character's name in "Dances with Wolves". Go figure. Read more about it! Granted Lake embellished Earp's image, but the place, the times and the issues are fascinating.
28 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
A near miss, 12 September 2005
Author: gws-2 from United States
"Wyat Earp" had the misfortune to be released not long after the
classic "Tombstone," which told the same story. Nevertheless, "Wyat
Earp" is a laudable effort and well worth the time to sit through its
three hours and fifteen minutes running time.
The performances were uniformly good, with a skeletal Dennis Quade particularly fine as the doomed Doc Holliday. In fact, I thought that Quade's funny and moving performance as Doc Holliday was in the same class as Val Kilmer's portrayal of the same character in "Tombstone." The women playing the Earp wives, Catherine O'Hara, JoBeth Williams, Mare Winningham, and Betty Buckley, were also very effective. The beautiful Joanna Going was a pleasure to watch as Josie Marcus, the woman who Wyat Earp spent the last 47 years of his life with. Unfortunately, her acting skills did not match her beauty.
The thing that makes the film rise above the mediocre to me is its stunning visual and aural beauty. Its 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is world class, and its outdoor photography is evocative.
Recommended, 7 out of 10.
19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Overly long and deliberate but a fine story, 21 December 2003
Author: bob the moo
Wyatt grows up a young man who loves the law. When his wife dies early in
their marriage he goes off the rails and becomes a drunk and a thief.
he is offered a chance at redemption he takes it and becomes a deputy.
legend spreads and he is offered the chance to be the deputy for Dodge
He has great success but is removed from the job for being too brutal.
When his replacement is killed as the law falls away in Dodge, Wyatt
before moving on to Tombstone but finds his initial run-in with the
Clantonhas left harbouring resentments.
When I saw this in the cinema, it was hassled by the fact that another, more multiplex-friendly version of the story had just been released shortly before. Viewed separately years later it fares better without the comparison to Tombstone, which is, in fairness, more of a fun bang-bang affair, although now it struggles because Costner's reputation is not even at the level it was when this film was released. The plot is good and is supposedly a true telling of the legend, although the film is careful to pepper the running time with hints that stories get changed with the telling.
The very honest and respectful telling of the story means that it gets told in a very deliberate and careful manner. This means on one hand that we get a good picture over Wyatt's life as opposed to the events in Tombstone, however it also means that the film itself is a little dull and overlong. It is overly deliberate and doesn't flow as well as it should - flowing more like syrup than water at times. Where some three-hour running times fly by, here it does feel like at least three hours - not always a good thing! The filling out of the characters doesn't always work either - I knew more about Wyatt but I didn't understand his character much more, also I was surprised that I was none the wiser about why he and Doc became friends considering how long was spent with them. A big failing of the film is that it assumes the status of an epic rather than earning the status. What I mean by this is that it tries too hard to be an epic - with constant sweeping music where it didn't need it. I still thing the film has an epic sweep to it, but it didn't need the cinematic tricks to achieve it; in fact, it could have down played it and let the sweep of the film do it for itself.
The cast is pretty good and also pretty deep. Costner may not be seen as a star anymore but that doesn't mean he can't act and can't hold the attention. He is a reasonable Wyatt but he suffers from being too deliberate and too shut off at times. I understand he needed to do it for the character but it contributes to the film feeling slow. The other brothers are played well by Madsen, Ashby and Andrews. Maybe it is because of Costner's drab Wyatt, but Quaid really lightens things up as Doc Holliday. His colourful character stands out easily against the old west types. The support cast is deep and includes faces such as Hackman, Fahey, Harmon, Pullman, Sizemore, Rossellini, Williams and O'Hara.
Overall this is a film that requires patience - if you prefer your films to contain action more than story then Tombstone may be more for you - but, for all it's failings, this is still a solid western and a good telling of the legend with more emphasis on background than action and fluidity.
|Page 1 of 13:||          |
|Newsgroup reviews||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|