Appaloosa (2008)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Western  |  3 October 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 48,339 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 194 user | 185 critic | 32 from

Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Jauregui ...
Marshall Jack Bell (as Bobby Jauregui)
James Tarwater ...
Chalk (as Jim Tarwater)
Gabriel Marantz ...
Joe Whittfield
Benjamin Rosenshein ...
Town Boy
Phil Olson
Abner Raines
Erik J. Bockemeier ...
Fat Wallis


1882, New Mexico Territory. Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are itinerant lawmen, hired by desperate towns as marshal and deputy. The city fathers of Appaloosa hire them after Randall Bragg, a newly-arrived rancher with money and a gang of thugs, disrupts commerce and kills three local lawmen. Cole and Hitch contrive to arrest Bragg and bring him to trial, but hanging him proves difficult. Meanwhile, a widow has arrived in town, Allison French, pretty, refined, and good-natured. Virgil falls hard, and it seems mutual, but there may be more to Allie than meets the eye. Can friendship and skill with a gun overcome a pernicious villain and green-eyed jealousy? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Feelings get you killed.


Crime | Drama | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


Release Date:

3 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Entre la vida y la muerte  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$248,847 (USA) (19 September 2008)


$20,207,003 (USA) (16 January 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The second time Ed Harris has played a character named Virgil (the first being The Abyss.) See more »


A store in town (seen when Bragg is brought to town in captivity) is called "Ladies and Gents Clothing and *Millinary*", should be "Millinery". See more »


Phil Olson: Well, what he did sir, was crazy!
Everett Hitch: You calling Virgil crazy?
Phil Olson: -Yes. No.
Everett Hitch: Well, if... You think a man makes a living as a gun hand isn't crazy?
Phil Olson: -You're not crazy.
Everett Hitch:
  • Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever I am, I'm not Virgil Cole.

Phil Olson: It doesn't give him the right to go busting up innocent people.
Everett Hitch: No, it doesn't, and mostly innocent people don't get busted up, and if they do, it's because of who Virgil Cole is and what he is, and you hired him to be Virgil Cole.
Phil Olson: I'm not sure I understand.
Everett Hitch: No, I'm not sure you do ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

While being credited, items relating to positions and roles are displayed. Examples: Producers are listed as money is shown, an antique ink dryer is shown for the editor, production designer shows an antique tin cup and costume designer shows the top of a hat. See more »


References Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) See more »


Streets of Laredo
Performed by Kate Jewell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An old school western that more than gets the job done. It's a tour de "fource" for Ed Harris
2 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Films are made for us to escape to a new reality, whether that reality be complete fantasy, present day, the future, or in this case, the good old West. What we have here is a great western that looks and feels like a classic in the making, an old school western with an old school touch of directing (and acting) from Ed Harris. Appaloosa is very accessible in a film genre that isn't so accessible. It's a straightforward film that, despite that, never becomes predictable and formulaic. Harris's wonderful job on all fronts make Appaloosa one of the most complete films of the year. It's got it all, great writing, killer acting, and a great atmosphere that allows the viewer to get trapped in this old western world.

Set in 1882 New Mexico, Appaloosa follows the fate of the town of the same name, which has fallen into the control of a ruthless outlaw (Jeremy Irons), and the powers that be have hired new hands to take control of the situation (Harris and Viggo Mortensen). However, when a mysterious widow (Renee Zellweger) arrives in town, loyalties will be tested, friendships will be put on trial, and guns will be fired.

The strong point, as I've said, is Ed Harris, who pulls the quadruple threat of acting, directing, writing, and producing. Despite all the work he did on this film, he still manages to turn in an Oscar worthy performance as the steadfast and unwavering commander of the town. Harris is subtle, nuanced, and never out of control. He commands the screen every time he's on it, without yelling or doing anything too crazy. Viggo Mortensen's near silent performance is not short on talent either, as one of silent acting's kings continues to show incredible versatility (the guy is a fantasy king, Russian mobster, and now an old west Deputy Marshall). To complete the trifecta of greatness, Jeremy Irons is the only guy I can imagine in the role of the film's villain. His freezing stare, mixed with the icy cold voice he is most known for, makes him one of the most memorable villains of the year.

Renee Zellweger really didn't add anything to the movie, though her character wasn't too interesting, and just serves as a plot device. This is what keeps the film from getting that "10" from me. The rest of the supporting cast is really a non-issue, as the story really only revolves around a few characters.

What I enjoyed most about the film is that it really made me feel like I was out west...right down to the little details, such as sandstorms, the presence of Native Americans, small drawls from the actors (thankfully none besides Zellweger had a bad one), and the different kinds of horses & guns in the film. Harris keeps the film moving nicely, and there's only a few moments where I felt it dragged a bit. Like I've said, it's hard to find a real fault here...the film is just well done all around, from a production standpoint.

When all is said and done, I knew how I felt about this film the second the lights went on. I clapped and said, "that was great". Appaloosa is an old school western that has everything a fan of the genre could want...including a suspenseful and tense gunfight and crazy Native Americans on horses! It's definitely one of the most complete westerns and films I've seen this year, and should be in contention for a few awards come Oscar season.

137 of 202 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Renee Zellweger looks like a troll in this movie. dcobra
What a DREADFUL Screenplay film_ophile
How the F@%k is 3:10 to Yuma rated higher?? notapplicable42
Renee ruined this movie jtg49wgx
Best Western since the High Noon! peterczech
Jeremy Irons' voice in this film... gregfades
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