Her father's murder sends teenage tomboy Mattie Ross on a mission of "justice" to avenge his death. She recruits tough old marshal "Rooster" Cogburn because he has "grit" and a reputation for getting the job done. They are joined by Texas Ranger La Boeuf, who is looking for the same man for another murder in Texas. Their odyssey takes them from Fort Smith, Arkansas to deep into Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) to find their man.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org> [edited]
The strangest trio ever to track a killer. A fearless, one-eyed U.S. marshal who never knew a dry day in his life... a Texas ranger thirsty for bounty money... and a girl still wet behind the ears who didn't care what they were or who they were as long as they had true grit. See more »
When accepting his Academy Award for his performance, John Wayne said, "Wow. If I'd have known that, I'd have put that patch on 35 years earlier." See more »
At dinner with Mattie & Chen, Rooster angrily tosses his finished plate atop the stew pot and a chunk of bread tumbles off onto the table. Different size chunks of bread reappear and disappear in subsequent shots. See more »
Little Frank... You take care of your mama.
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When submitted for a rating from the MPAA in 1969, the film was given an "M". The film was edited and rerated "G". The American VHS version contains the "G" rated cut while the DVD is the uncut "M" version (which would be printed as "PG" since the symbol was changed in the 1970s). See more »
Like most Americans, I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands of westerns in my life. I don't care for them much, primarily because I usually can't fall for them.
In movies, the desire to please as wide an audience as possible seems always to win out, effectively robbing most westerns of the motion picture's essential gambit; the suspension of disbelief. It's very hard to lose oneself in a tale of the late 1800's when the female lead's eye-liner and coiff are pure 1950. Or 1940, 1960, whatever. In True Grit, very little of 1969 is allowed to intrude on this rather simple tale of justice and revenge. This movie is anchored by two very strong themes, shared by all the actors, across most of the scenes.
The first, is language. The dialogue is an absolute delight. Crack open anything by Mark Twain, Henry James or any other late 19th century author, and you will see that people really did speak differently 150 years ago. That the dialogue in 99% of westerns is straight from the time of their filming is a travesty, at best.
Second, is innocence. Not that of any one character however, but the innocence of the human race as a whole. It is probably almost impossible for any of us now, in this day and age, to truly imagine what it must have been like to live back when. But one thing's sure, people were much more naive. There was no such thing as mass-communication, a good percentage of the population didn't read, and newspapers, the only "organized" form of news at the time, were hard pressed to report on anything more than a day's ride from town.
This basic, shared innocence is achingly portrayed by Robert Duvall in two short sentences near the end of the movie when he's caught Mattie and he's attempting to threaten her. Study those two lines, and you'll see that "Lucky" Ned Pepper, the worst villain in the story, really has no idea of what he could possibly do to a slip of a girl. He's totally at a loss. The unspeakable, modern-day atrocities we consume every day with our coffee and bagels are so far from contemplation by Duvall's character, that all he can do is assure her, "I'll do what I have to". It's a priceless moment - frighteningly accurate commentary wrapped in two lines of simple dialogue, delivered with dead-on interpretation.
The only other western I can think of at the moment that delivers with such viscerally historic accuracy is "Unforgiven".
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