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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

PG | | Western | 7 August 1976 (Japan)
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A Missouri farmer joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Forrest Carter (book), Philip Kaufman (screenplay) (as Phil Kaufman) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,474 ( 239)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Josey Wales
Chief Dan George ... Lone Watie
Sondra Locke ... Laura Lee
Bill McKinney ... Terrill
John Vernon ... Fletcher
Paula Trueman ... Grandma Sarah
Sam Bottoms ... Jamie
Geraldine Keams ... Little Moonlight
Woodrow Parfrey ... Carpetbagger
Joyce Jameson ... Rose
Sheb Wooley ... Travis Cobb
Royal Dano ... Ten Spot
Matt Clark ... Kelly (as Matt Clarke)
John Verros John Verros ... Chato
Will Sampson ... Ten Bears
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Storyline

Josey Wales makes his way west after the Civil War, determined to live a useful and helpful life. He joins up with a group of settlers who need the protection that a man as tough and experienced as he is can provide. Unfortunately, the past has a way of catching up with you, and Josey is a wanted man. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...an army of one.

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Navajo | Spanish

Release Date:

7 August 1976 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wells See more »

Filming Locations:

Kayenta, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$31,800,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Non-showbiz acquaintances of Eastwood and Locke said when they took the couple horseback riding, Sondra couldn't even saddle a horse by herself. Someone had to do it for her. See more »

Goofs

The gang of "Red Legs", kill Josey's wife and son and burn his home to the ground but for no logical reason, they leave Josey himself alive. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Josey's wife: Little Josey! C'mon in, let's get you cleaned up!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by 16 secs by the BBFC to edit the attempted rape of Laura Lee in order for the film to receive a 'AA' (14 and over) certificate. All later releases were upgraded to an '18' certificate and fully uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Western Movie Heroes (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
Performed by William O'Connell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the finest westerns
21 March 2003 | by Danimal-7See all my reviews

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES is a wonderful story about a wounded man, Josey Wales, a Missourian who has lost his home and his family to the Civil War. As the Civil War ends in defeat and despair for the South, Wales alone of his guerrilla unit refuses to surrender. He has nothing left to live for, except to fight, and he cannot give that up.

This is a setup that has appeared many times in the movies, as the hero with nothing left to lose is a perfect excuse to show nonstop gunplay. To some extent, this happens in THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES too. It is an action western according to the classic formula, but it is more than that. Josey Wales heals his wounds as the story goes on, and begins to replace the friendship, and then the love, that he has lost. And as he heals, he begins to grow out of violence as a way of life. Many westerns have the theme of the older breed of man who tamed the west by violence being abandoned by his fellows; only this one, so far as I know, has the older breed of man abandon himself, that is to say, change his ways with the changing of the times.

Clint Eastwood is a decent actor, not a great one. But at times he has shown the skills of a really first-class director, and given his limitations as an actor it is the more to his credit that he did not hog the stage. He gives plenty of screen time to an excellent supporting cast, of whom the most memorable is Chief Dan George as aged Cherokee warrior Lone Watie, a role he plays with an eerily perfect balance of dignity and humor. Will Sampson makes an unforgettable cameo as Comanche chief Ten Bears, and Paula Trueman is a magnificently feisty Sarah.

John Vernon plays Fletcher, the man who betrays Josey Wales early on. I don't understand why Vernon could not find work in quality movies after this (he has appeared in 38 cinema releases since this movie and I challenge you to name any of them). Vernon has one of THE great basso-profundo voices in American cinema; only James Earl Jones could compare to it. If mountains could speak, they would sound like John Vernon. His role is a neat twist on the trope of the 'reluctant hero'; Fletcher is a reluctant villain.

The ending of THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES is the most beautiful and poetic of any in western movie history, maybe the most beautiful of any movie ever. According to the rules of the genre, the final confrontation between Wales and Fletcher can have only one outcome; the movie finds another way, because Josey Wales has found another way.

Rating: ***½ out of ****.

Recommendation: Western fans should own this one, but any movie fan should enjoy it.


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