8.0/10
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229 user 69 critic

Rio Bravo (1959)

Passed | | Action, Drama, Western | 4 April 1959 (USA)
Trailer
2:46 | Trailer
A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

Jules Furthman (screenplay), Leigh Brackett (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
433 ( 3,803)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Sheriff John T. Chance
Dean Martin ... Dude ('Borrachón')
Ricky Nelson ... Colorado Ryan
Angie Dickinson ... Feathers
Walter Brennan ... Stumpy
Ward Bond ... Pat Wheeler
John Russell ... Nathan Burdette
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez ... Carlos Robante (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez)
Estelita Rodriguez Estelita Rodriguez ... Consuela Robante
Claude Akins ... Joe Burdette
Malcolm Atterbury ... Jake (Stage Driver) (scenes deleted)
Harry Carey Jr. ... Harold (scenes deleted)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sheb Wooley ... Cowboy (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Sheriff John T. Chance has his hands full after arresting Joe Burdette for murder. He knows that Burdette's brother Nathan, a powerful rancher, will go to any lengths to get him out of jail. Chance's good friend Pat Wheeler offers to help but within 20 minutes of making the offer is gunned down in the street, shot in the back. That leaves his elderly deputy Stumpy, the town drunk Dude - once a deputy and a pretty good shot when he was sober - and a young hand, Colorado, who used to work for Wheeler. Nathan Burdette meanwhile has a couple of dozen men at his disposal. Chance does his best to prepare all the while romancing a pretty gambler who goes by the name of Feathers. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You've seen nothing like 'em together and in the heat and hate of Rio Bravo nothing can tear 'em apart! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After seeing the film, Gary Cooper said it was "so phony, nobody believes in it." Ironically, Cooper had been a visitor to the set since he was filming The Hanging Tree (1959) nearby. This film is considered to be John Wayne and Howard Hawks' reply to Cooper's own film High Noon (1952) because neither Wayne nor Hawks thought a real lawman would want or need to ask for help in handling a problem like Cooper's character did in that film. See more »

Goofs

The majority of the men in the film are clean shaven. Given the 1885 setting of the film, this would be statistically unlikely as most men in the Old West wore facial hair. Facial hair at this time was in fashion and it was nearly impossible to shave frequently with the limited access to clean water. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John T. Chance: Joe, you're under arrest.
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Connections

Referenced in Ouaga saga (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

El Degüello
Mexican bugle call
Arranged by Dimitri Tiomkin
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User Reviews

 
Western Tai Chi
6 February 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

When Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) murders a man on a whim, Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) arrests him and puts him in small Texas town's jail. The problem is that the U.S. Marshall is a week away from taking Burdette off his hands, and Burdette's brother, Nathan (John Russell), won't see his brother put away. Complicating the situation even further, Burdette is rich enough to hire a score of thugs, and the only support that Chance has is from a drunk, Dude (Dean Martin), and an elderly crippled man, Stumpy (Walter Brennan).

Rio Bravo is a sprawling pressure cooker. For anyone not used to the pacing of older films, this is not the best place to begin. Uninitiated audiences are likely to find it boring--the plot is relatively simple, and they would likely have a difficult time remaining with Rio Bravo for its 2 hour and 21 minute running time. It's best to wait until one is acclimated to this kind of pacing, so as not to spoil the experience. The film is well worth it.

John Wayne was an enthralling paradox, and maybe no film better demonstrates why than Rio Bravo. He had almost delicate "pretty boy" looks and a graceful gait that were an odd contrast to his hulking height and status as the "action hero" of his day. He speaks little, and doesn't need to, although he is the star and thus the center of attention. He tends to have an odd smirk on his face. Wayne's performance here interestingly parallels the pacing and tenor of the film--that's not something that one sees very often, or at least it's not something that's very easy to make conspicuous.

And he's not the only charismatic cast member. Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan and Angie Dickinson are equally captivating. Even when the full blow-out action sequence begins (and that's not until about two hours into the film, although there are a few great shorter action scenes before that), the focus here is still on the interrelationships between these characters, with Brennan the continually funny comic foil, Nelson the suave, skilled youngster, Martin the complex and troubled but likable complement to Wayne, and Dickinson as the sexy, forward and clever love interest.

Director Howard Hawks seems to do everything right. He guides cinematographer Russell Harlan in capturing subtly beautiful scenery--like the mountains in the distance over the tops of some buildings, and a great sunrise shot--and asks for an atmospheric score (such as the repeated playing of Malaguena by a band in the background) that shows that plot points weren't the only element of the film that influenced John Carpenter (who partially based his Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) on this film). But most intriguing is probably Hawks' staging/blocking. You could easily make a study of just that aspect of the film. The characters are always placed in interesting places in the frame, and they're constantly moving in interesting ways throughout the small collection of buildings and streets that make up the town. There is almost a kind of performance art aspect to it. Wayne, for instance, repeatedly touches base at the jail, then picks up his rifle, circles around to the hotel and back, almost as if he's doing some kind of western Tai Chi.

Rio Bravo is nothing if not understated, and as such, it may take some adjustments from modern, especially younger, viewers. But it's a gem of a film, and worth watching and studying.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

4 April 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo See more »

Filming Locations:

Tucson, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$12,535,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Armada Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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