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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Exceptionally scripted film, well directed and acted.

Author: hero from THE SEA RANCH, CA, USA
13 January 2000

Emphasis has been placed on realism is this exceptionally scripted and well directed/enacted version of previously screened material. The characters' interrelationships have been portrayed in much greater depth than is usual in many action westerns. It's refreshing to have the issue of guilt and ambivalence resulting from an act of moral conviction and responsibility revealed, elevating the value of what could have been simply a stale reissue of antique western genre. This fresh film provides the opportunity of fulfilling viewing--worth the investment of time.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Finally, a faithful adaptation

Author: jbuntz from Clarks Summit, PA
14 January 2000

I've been a fan of the western genre since I was a little girl, and "The Virginian" has been one of my favorite novels for 30 years. I've seen the Gary Cooper and the Joel McCrea movies and both of them were a disappointment. They made too many changes to an already perfect story. Ah, Bill Pulman's is so different. It's very faithful to the spirit of the original story, even when it changes details. The characters are beautifully realized. I think it's a gem of a film. Thanks, Bill for your sensitivity to an icon of American literature.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

No Disappointment Here

Author: stew99 from Seattle, WA
13 January 2000

A pleasant surprise! I wasn't sure what to make of the idea of Bill Pullman filling the role made famous by Gary Cooper and Joel McCrea, so I approached this movie with some trepidation. But it was very enjoyable, and Pullman did a great job in the part. The dialogue was well-written and much more authentic to the time period than most western movies. The scenery was spectacular. And I was glad to see much of the original book's plot was intact, although there were a few changes made which were somewhat disappointing. But, altogether an engrossing and realistic movie. Pullman, as both actor and director, has managed to truly capture the essence and personality that, I believe, author Wister intended for his all-too-human hero.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Another Bill Pullman gem

Author: Canela04 from Claremont, CA
25 May 2001

Just about the time I think Bill Pullman couldn't do any better.......along comes another diamond.....this one not the least bit in the rough. Beautiful authentic adaptation of Owen Wister's book...marveously cast, and the scenery a feast for the eyes. Even though the Canadian scenery was extraordinarily beautiful, I would have liked to have had the movie filmed in the U.S.A.

The female lead was a bit wooden, but she can be credited with giving a passable performance. I venture to ask.....why would a Vermont straight laced, proper lady venture out into the wilds of the untamed West and still demand an eastern gentleman's manners? A cowboy's manners are every bit as appropriate as any other gentleman's for a lady....and Bill Pullman's Virginian was every bit a gentleman. He needed no educating from Molly 'in that regard'.

I do take pleasure viewing Bill's father-in-law as an extra in Bill's films. A nice gesture.....typically Pullman. His children must have had fun being in Dad's film also. What a guy!!!!!!!!!!!

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful movie, with a slower pace and more formal style completely in keeping with the time period.

Author: Elizabeth from Los Angeles, California
17 February 2003

Not only is this a physically beautiful movie, but it has an authentic feel on a number of levels. Seeing this movie, I can believe that time was experienced differently by people living in a rural, pre-technological world. And I found the more formal style of speaking, while a little awkward in my modern ears, totally believable. I don't know if this really is how things were, but this movie is persuasive. For the rest of it - the romance is romantic, the mans-gotta-do-what-a-mans-gotta-do thing is well done (understandable, not chest-beating silly) and the bad guy (Dennis Weaver) is an interesting blend of bully and weasel. All the performances were terrific, in fact. In an odd way, this movie makes many other recent Westerns (which I actually also enjoyed) seem a little less realistic. There's something really lovely here, if you give it time to unfold.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A Worthy Portrayal...

Author: daghda_jim from Virginia (Honest!)
31 January 2000

...but quite different from the book. I saw this film first, then read Wister's novel, which was reminiscent of the better Zane Gray tales, in their portrayal of the real West and what westerners were like.

Bill Pullman did a fine job, as star and director, but I have to wonder why they made a number of pulp western-y changes. The shootout in the book was simple and powerful, compared to the film's version. The book had examples of rude horseplay and one-upmanship that was the basis of Trampas' hatred for the Virginian, and went deeply into what kind of a man you had to be to survive out in the West of that time.

In some way this gives you the best of both media: see the film first, for the enjoyment it provides, and then dig up a copy of the novel for an interesting, considerably different version of the story.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing rewriting

Author: elijahbailey from Falls Church, Virginia
16 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was ready to give this latest version of "The Virginian", one of my favorite novels of all time, a whirl when it aired.

I could not believe my ears, though, when in the first meeting by the black-haired man with his nemesis Trampas while playing "cyards" in Medicine Bow, Wyoming, the critical line that sets up the whole protagonist situation of the story was altered!

Owen Wister's novel reads as follows:

It was now the Virginian's turn to bet, or leave the game, and he did not speak at once.

Therefore Trampas spoke. "Your bet, you son-of-a ----,"

The Virginian's pistol came out, and his hand lay on the table, holding it unaimed. And with a voice as gentle as ever, the voice that sounded like a caress, but drawling a very little more than usual, so that there was almost a space between each word, he issued his orders to the man Trampas: --

"When you call me that, SMILE!" And he looked at Trampas across the table.

Yes, the voice was gentle. But in my ears it seemed as if somewhere the bell of death was ringing; and silence, like a stroke, fell on the large room. All men present, as if by some magnetic current, had become aware of this crisis. In my ignorance, and total stoppage of my thoughts, I stood stock-still, and noticed various people crouching, or shifting their positions.

"Sit quiet," said the dealer, scornfully, to the man near me. "Can't you see he don't want to push trouble? He has handed Trampas the choice to back down or draw his steel."

Then, with equal suddenness and ease, the room came out of its strangeness. Voices and cards, the click of chips, the puff of tobacco, glasses lifted to drink, - this level of smooth relaxation hinted no more plainly of what lay beneath than does the surface tell the depth of the sea.

For Trampas had made his choice. And that choice was not to "draw his steel."

In the Pullman production, the critical line becomes, "When you call me that - smile, so I'll know we're still friends.

EGAD!! This is both fiction - the two men had never before crossed paths, and it completely undercuts the whole tone of the exchange!

At this, I gave up on the project and turned it off. Hollywood probably thinks it can improve on the balcony scene in "Romeo and Juliet", as well!

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Pullman pulls off a superb job!

Author: jgower from Florida, USA
26 January 2001

I've always liked Bill Pullman as an actor, so I was anxious to rent this movie when it came out on video (it was originally a TNT production). I wasn't expecting it to be quite this good, however, and I was very impressed by Pullman's superb directing (he directed, produced, and acted). The cinematography (it has that late-90s western hue and tone to it) was excellent, and the music was also very good.

There were several aspects of the film that were very much like "Lonesome Dove" (it even co-starred the lovely Diane Lane), which can only be taken as a compliment. Anyway, this was an extremely enjoyable modern western.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:


Author: spanky6666 from Belgium
7 April 2004

If you like an honest and touching western-like movie, you really got too see this one! Be warned however,this is not your usual all-shooting all-dancing big budget western movie ! Nothing has been exaggerated or romanticized like 98% of all other Western movies do,if you know what I mean... My English writing is not good enough to explain what I really mean, I can only urge you to read the user comment of Elizabeth (Feb-17-2003) ,that explains my thoughts about this little gem the best... If you're not blinded by hollywood standards and want to see an off-beat western, give this one a try,you won't be disappointed ! Go see it now,...hurry !! :)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Modern Western which is easy on the eye, but remains an average effort

Author: med_1978 from United Kingdom
21 November 2007

I bought this film on video. I had viewed this film before and was a little disappointed but decided I wanted to view it again to make sure, as I do like the western genre and some films grow on you upon repeat viewings.

Unfortunately for me with this film it was not the case. I have grown to respect the lead actors in this film. Diane Lane whom I thought was outstanding in film such as A Walk on the Moon, The Big Town, Must Love Dogs & Unfaithful. Bill Pullman impressed me in The Guilty & Mistrial. I was however sorely disappointed with this routine effort. This is most definitely a family western and you can clearly see it is made for TV. The acting is okay, however the leads are somewhat weighed down by a poor script. On the positive side a lot of the cinematography is stunning, but the film never really rises above its TV roots unlike earlier predecessors such as Lonesome Dove also Coincidently starring Diane Lane. As far as modern westerns go this is not in the league of Open Range, Unforgiven, Tombstone, The Missing etc.

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