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.


Howard Hawks


Jules Furthman (screenplay), Leigh Brackett (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2,924 ( 423)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





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 ... 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)


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


Burdette...he was the knife poised at the throat of Rio Bravo... See more »


Action | Drama | Western


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Howard Hawks did not want to cast Ricky Nelson, whom he considered to be both too young and too lightweight, and deliberately gave him the fewest possible number of lines for a third-billed star. However, he later admitted that having Nelson's name on the poster had probably added $2 million to the film's box office performance. See more »


When Chance asks Feathers if she was sorry she didn't go on the stage, Consuela turns around to face Chance twice. See more »


[first lines]
John T. Chance: Joe, you're under arrest.
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Featured in Ainda Não Acabámos: Como Se Fosse Uma Carta (2016) See more »


El Degüello
Mexican bugle call
Arranged by Dimitri Tiomkin
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User Reviews

Great characters, great performances, great stuff
10 May 2004 | by byghtSee all my reviews

Boasting one of the best casts you're likely to find in a Western, "Rio Bravo" delivers the goods in terms of slam-bang action and entertainment but also provides an impressive depth of characterization and some genuinely poignant moments.

John Wayne is at his best as the supremely Dukean Sheriff John Chance. Dean Martin gives the performance of a lifetime as Dude, an alcoholic whose struggle against his own demons forms the heart of the film. Angie Dickinson is radiant and razor-sharp as Feathers, a cunning but warmhearted lady drifter (Wayne & Dickinson's scenes are absolutely priceless). Ricky Nelson is instantly likable as the fresh-faced but streetwise Colorado (I LOVE that name!). And, of course, Walter Brennan steals the show in a film made up of show-stealing performances as the infinitely cantankerous and chatty Stumpy.

There's lots of great action and comedy here, but the part that had the deepest impact on me was the singing scene. For some reason, it just really hit home for me--Martin and Nelson's soulful crooning, Stumpy's harmonica, and the Duke hanging back with a small, genuine smile on his face; all of them realizing that they may not live out the night, but thinking to themselves that life will have been worth it nonetheless. It was that rare gem of a cinematic scene that feels completely real--where the emotions of the characters and the audience become one. After watching it, you feel as if you were actually in that cramped, stuffy little jailhouse, whiling away the hours with these unlikely friends. It was during this scene that I really felt what director Howard Hawks was getting at.

"Rio Bravo" is a thoroughly enjoyable and at times touching watch--even for someone (like me) who's not the biggest fan of the Duke, the Rat Pack, or teen idol actors (Nelson).

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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 »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Armada Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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