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Appaloosa (2008)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Western  |  3 October 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 48,552 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 195 user | 187 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

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.



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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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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 »


When Alison and Virgil are in the coffee shop, she orders a coffee and a biscuit. Although refused a biscuit at first until Virgil intervenes, she is actually served a soup and bread roll, which moves around as the scene unfolds. Everett also receives a coffee at the same time, though no coffee has been ordered for him. See more »


Vince: You shoot him, you think we're just gonna ride away?
Virgil Cole: Nope.
Vince: We'll kill you and Hitch.
Virgil Cole: You'll try.
Vince: You're willing to die to keep us from taking him?
Virgil Cole: Sure.
Vince: Hitch, you willing to die, too?
Virgil Cole: Of course he's willing to die. You think we do this kind of work because we're scared to die? You.
Vince: Me?
Virgil Cole: You afraid to die?
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 »


Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground
Written by Walter Kittredge
Performed by Kate Jewell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

We can't have our law officers beatin' people half to death for no reason.
3 October 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Appaloosa is based on the 2005 novel of the same name written by Robert B. Parker. It's directed by Ed Harris, who also co-writes the story with Robert Knott. Harris also stars alongside Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger, Jeremy Irons & Lance Henriksen. Music is by Jeff Beal and Dean Semler provides cinematography on location in Albuquerque, Austin and Santa Fe.

Appaloosa is in the grip of bully boy rancher Randall Bragg (Irons), who finally oversteps the mark when the latest Marshall and his deputies are killed in cold blood. The townsfolk decide enough is enough and hire no nonsense travelling lawmen Virgil Cole (Harris) and his sidekick Everett Hitch (Mortensen) to protect and serve the town. Ruling with a rod of iron, Cole & Hitch start to bring order to Appaloosa, but the arrival in town of pretty Allie French (Zellweger) causes quite a stir between the two men. Bad timing too since the guys are trying to get Bragg to his rightful execution.

In the modern era the Western has been the hardest genre for film makers to tackle. You can probably count on one hand the number of great or agreeable ones that have surfaced post Costner and Eastwood's efforts of 1990 and 1992 respectively. Enter Ed Harris, who undaunted by the long odds of getting a Western to be successful; and suffering worrying overtures from his backers at New Line Cinema, got Appaloosa made. Well made as it happens.

Since the story itself is etched like the Wyatt Earp legend, there's really no fresh perspective on offer here. In fact, anyone familiar with Edward Dmytryk's excellent Warlock from 1959 will feel some narrative déjà vu. But Appaloosa does have strong performances and lush landscapes to see it successfully home. Slotting in a good helping of action, romance and humour also goes some way to making Harris' movie a worthy modern day Oater. True, the clichés are many, but Harris wasn't after revisionism, he wanted (and got) old fashioned Oater values. A film that follows those old beloved B movie Western conventions, but one that still retains a topical criminal thread.

The best reward in the film comes from spending time with Harris & Mortensen. Their characters are nicely drawn and not over cooked by the script. Cole & Hitch are devoted to each other, lots of straight love and respect exists between the two men. Their bond is believably brought to life by Harris & Mortensen, who formed a friendship when making A History Of Violence for David Cronenberg in 2005. Zellweger and Irons too are not without high merit value. She (stepping in when Diane Lane walked over delays), is pleasing and captivates in what is the critical glue role. While he is dandy dastardly supreme, a well spoken villain of much intelligence and crafty as a cat.

Appaloosa is a subtle film, both in story and as a technical production. Beal's score is unobtrusive, while Semler's photography manages to deliver that old fashioned feel that Harris was after (the low lighting for the interiors is particularly on the money) . Harris' direction is smooth and unhurried in pace, with the odd inspired bit thrown in for good measure (check out the up-tilt camera work during a train on a bridge sequence). While the production design can't be faulted. All that and you got the likes of Henriksen and Timothy Spall in the support cast too. A lovely film that is as tight as the friendship at its core. 7.5/10

38 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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
Jeremy Irons' voice in this film... gregfades
Best Western since the High Noon! peterczech
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