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Young Guns (1988)

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A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.

Director:

Christopher Cain

Writer:

John Fusco
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Popularity
2,170 ( 642)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emilio Estevez ... William H. Bonney
Kiefer Sutherland ... Doc Scurlock
Lou Diamond Phillips ... Chavez y Chavez
Charlie Sheen ... Dick Brewer
Dermot Mulroney ... Dirty Steve Stephens
Casey Siemaszko ... Charley Bowdre
Terence Stamp ... John Tunstall
Jack Palance ... L. G. Murphy
Terry O'Quinn ... Alex McSween
Sharon Thomas Cain Sharon Thomas Cain ... Susan McSween (as Sharon Thomas)
Geoffrey Blake ... J. McCloskey
Alice Carter ... Yen Sun
Brian Keith ... Buckshot Roberts
Thomas Callaway ... Texas Joe Grant (as Tom Callaway)
Patrick Wayne ... Pat Garrett
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Storyline

1878 in New Mexico: John Tunstall picks up young gun men from the road to have them work on his ranch, but also to teach them reading and to civilize them. However he's a thorn in the side of the rich rancher Murphy, as he's a competitor in selling cattle. One day he's shot by Murphy's men. Judge Wilson can't do anything, since Sheriff Brady is one of Murphy's men. But attorney Alex persuades him to constitute Tunstall's young friends to Deputies and give them warrants of arrest for the murderers. Instead of arresting them, William Bonney just shoots them down. Soon the 5 guys become famous and William gets the name "Billie the Kid" - but they're also chased by dozens of Murphy's men and the army. The people however honor him as fighter for justice. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't count the odds, count the bodies. See more »

Genres:

Action | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 August 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jovenes Pistoleros See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,011,393, 14 August 1988

Gross USA:

$45,661,556

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$45,661,556
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A few members of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club were used as extras in the bar scene when the group goes to arrest Henry Hill. They were also used as extra security during the shooting of the final battle; that crowds of onlookers were getting too big. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie when Billy is first taken in to the ranch it appears he's getting ready to shoot a pig. As he takes aim, the sun shines through the barrel from behind, making it obvious that the gun is not loaded. See more »

Quotes

Charley Bowdre: Hey Kenney, you bastard. It's you and I.
See more »

Connections

Version of I Shot Billy the Kid (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(uncredited)
Written by Robert Burns
[Sung at New Year's Eve dance]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting modern western relies a little too heavily on cliche
18 July 2001 | by bobc-5See all my reviews

An Englishman running a New Mexico ranch in the old west recruits wayward young men to be his ranch hands. Among their duties is protecting the ranch from his more powerful and villainous neighbors, thus earning them the title "regulators". Through a combination of discipline and nurturing, he is able to civilize the men and give them discipline. When murdered by another rancher, the regulators are deputized to help catch the men who did it. But one of the regulators, known now as Billy the Kid, is a relative newcomer who has not yet learned self-discipline. Engaged in a power struggle for leadership of the group, he is far more interested in killing the villains than bringing them to justice, thus turning the group into outlaws themselves.

Although the movie is very well made, it never really explores the potential of the plot, relying instead on cliches to entertain us. It also seems completely confused in its portrayal of the main character. Is William Bonney a homicidal maniac or a fiercely loyal man out to avenge the death of a father figure? Is he a caustic head-strong youth or a steely smooth-talking leader? Depending on the scene, you can take your pick. He's clearly supposed to be a sympathetic anti-hero, but this is accomplished only by turning his antagonist into a cartoonishly evil villain, portrayed in perfectly predictable manner by Jack Palance. The shootout scenes are nicely filmed, but as the movie progresses they move more and more towards standard western cliche.

The strongest point of this movie is the relationship of the characters played by Sutherland and Estevez. Doc is strongly attracted to Billy the Kid and admires his strength of character at the same time that he fears him and is repulsed by his murderous actions. Both actors do an excellent job trying to pull this off in spite of the limited development which the script allows. This and the support of a very competent cast makes the film worth watching but not necessarily worth going out of your way for.


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