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Totally bogus in terms of historical accuracy, but taken on its own terms as a comedy-western Young Guns is a very entertaining film
TheLittleSongbird22 September 2015
The main selling-points of Young Guns are the incredibly compelling story of Billy the Kid and its very talented cast- actors like Kiefer Sutherland, Terrence Stamp and Jack Palance promises a lot. While it is a long way from flawless, this viewer did find themselves liking Young Guns a good deal.

Young Guns does have its problems. The hard-rock soundtrack is incredibly jarring, can sound cheap and doesn't fit at all within the film, a lot of the film goes at a fast pace and the music sounded somewhat pedestrian at times. The storytelling does become a little less involving and quite ridiculous in the last third, where it also loses the momentum that the rest of the film has. Pacing is also a touch chaotic in places, and while he does what he can Charlie Sheen is badly wasted, his underwritten role doing little for his talents.

However, Young Guns is a good-looking film, with handsome scenery, evocative costumes and some clever, stylish filming. The dialogue is very witty and funny, the film blisters in the action with a tense and exciting if rather far-fetched somewhat climactic shootout and while it does butcher history the story is compelling and goes at a breakneck pace. While it entertain in the comedy, excites in the action and rouses as a Western, there are some nice dramatic moments, Lou Diamond Phillips' scene where he tells of the slaughter of his family is the film's most heartfelt scene. The relationship between Billy and Doc is also very well done, providing a lot of heart and funny moments. . Christopher Cain's direction is crisp and efficient, his decision to do the action in first-person comes over more than effectively.

Very good cast too, there have been mixed reactions to the performances quality, for me it was one of Young Guns' biggest strengths. There were initial reservations as to whether Emilio Estevez was too modern and too nice for Billy, but he is cool, fun and likable with a touch of sassiness in the role, and is closer in age to most other actors who have portrayed Billy. Kiefer Sutherland has one of the most strongest written characters in the film, and is remarkably poetic in this film, a pleasant change from the usual roles he takes on. Lou Diamond Phillips does overact quite broadly in places, but does mostly act with real soul and poignancy, especially in the aforementioned scene.

Casey Siemaszko is also very affecting, when he overcomes his fear it came over very emotionally. Dermont Mulroney has some good intensity without going overboard, and he is very amusing as well. In lesser roles, Terrence Stamp is a sympathetically and touchingly played and tragic father-type of figure, and Jack Palance is perfectly cast as Murphy (a rather one-dimensional role but Palance does much with it, and is genuinely menacing without trying too hard. Brian Keith is memorable in his short appearance.

Overall, not a flawless film in any shape or form and won't work for everybody but on its own terms it was a very entertaining film. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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"Regulators, Saddle Up"
bkoganbing5 August 2008
This retelling of the Billy the Kid saga here and in the succeeding film, Young Guns II, is yet another fictionalized account of the doings in Lincoln County, New Mexico 1878-1879. One fine day we may get an accurate picture of the events.

Here though several young actors some of whom were labeled the Brat Pack and who were coming up roughly around the same time in the Middle Eighties got an opportunity to play some real life western characters. The names of the characters these guys play are real even though the story is highly fictionalized to the extent that not all of them died during the period both films show.

One reason I do like Young Guns is that it does show what is probably the most realistic portrayal of Billy the Kid. Forget Robert Taylor, Johnny Mack Brown, Paul Newman, when you see Emilio Estevez on the screen you are seeing the real Billy, basically a punk who was skilled enough to back up his brag.

Estevez rides with Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, and brother Charlie Sheen. They are the 'regulators' who ride for John Tunstall the British rancher played here by Terrence Stamp.

It was the relationship between Tunstall and his young regulators that villain L.G. Murphy (Jack Palance) touches on. It's certainly led to speculation that these guys were some kind of a gay harem for Stamp. I certainly am not going to comment one way or the other because we just don't know. What's more cause for the animosity is that old country resentment of the English rulers.

What Young Guns essentially does is take the plot of the John Wayne classic Chisum and tell it from the Tunstall/Regulators point of view. Chisum himself is eliminated from the story, though he appears in Young Guns, II played briefly by James Coburn. So if you've seen that, you know what happens.

The young guys are great and Stamp and Palance provide a good pair of antagonists. Brian Keith is around for a memorable performance as Buckshot Roberts, a well known bounty hunter of the period.

Young Guns is a well done western with good editing at a pace that never drags. It's a modern classic not to be missed.
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Emilio Estevez goes nuts
SnoopyStyle25 December 2013
William H. 'Billy the Kid' Bonney (Emilio Estevez) has trouble with the law. John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) takes him in just as he has done with several other young men. They call themselves Regulators. One day, Tunstall is killed by his competitor rancher Murphy (Jack Palance)'s men. Sheriff reluctantly deputizes the Regulators to bring the murderers to justice. However, that's just the start of an all out war.

This is the best Brat Pack western. Emilio Estevez goes nuts in this movie. His manic laugh makes this movie. Oddly, Charlie Sheen plays the reasonable leader of the group. Kiefer Sutherland falls for Murphy's china doll Yen Sun. Lou Diamond Phillips is the Indian. Casey Siemaszko and Dermot Mulroney round out the Regulator crew. History be damn. This is fictional. Although there are some famous names for the characters. This is just a bunch of young guns having fun playing cowboys.
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Young Guns going for it!
Prismark1015 March 2015
Young Guns was the brat pack western starring some of the brat packers of the late 1980s, well a few were deemed to be seen as rising stars such as Dermot Mulroney and Casey Siemaszko.

The rest are more bona fide brat packers such as Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kiefer Sutherland accompanied by a rock score. However there is also room for western veterans like Jack Palance and Brian Keith.

Estevez is the hot headed Billy the Kid who became regulators when their boss (Terence Stamp) is murdered by Palance's gang.

Now when the film came out some critics were rather sniffy about the film and you have to applaud the movie for shaking the genre up a bit. However it is bewildering silly as well. In the shootout with Brian Keith in the latrine, well they could had just gone round the side to attack him and even from behind. Maybe they needed a reason to write Charlie Sheen out of the movie a third of the way through as he was in demand as an actor at the time.

There is also the silly scene where the characters get high which now looks laughable. Estevez character is supposedly to be fiercely loyal to his slain boss but also appears to be psychotic.

I remember liking the film a lot when it first came out but now it looks dismal. You end up thinking why does Stamp's character want to surround himself with young lost men.

Sutherland's poetic character comes off best but even his romance with the Chinese ward of Palance looks rather odd.
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A really poor western with laughable drama and acting - only watch if you're in the mood for noisy, senseless action
bob the moo18 April 2004
In 1878 rancher John Tunstall takes in a handful of young gunmen to work on his ranch. While he teaches them the value of hard work he also tries to turn them from their violent ways. When Tunstall is murdered by men in the pocket of powerful rancher Murphy. The law is powerless to do anything since the majority of them have been bought by Murphy, but an attorney convinces a judge to make Tunstall's men deputies and allow them to bring in his killers. However when the group go beyond the men they were set after and start going after Murphy himself, they become hunted men - by both those outside and inside the law.

This film is enjoyable in the sense that you can turn it on and relax, never having to worry about thinking or even remaining conscious - hell, I could actually feel brain cells just dying off as I watched it. It is no more than an excuse for the brat pack to ride around shooting guns and having fun - as a western it is pretty poor and as history it is totally, totally bogus! The plot is a series of shootouts punctuated with moments of inane comedy, dramatic subplots that fail and acting that would have been better served with a chunk of pineapple on the side. The story is not true and is pretty poor in terms of structure; the characters are given little bits of drama (Doc's girlfriend, Chavez's history etc) but they don't work and only serve to give the actors something to do to make them feel like they are acting. The action is noisy and simplistic and should really do the job if that's all you are looking for however if you are after anything more than noise you will be disappointed.

It is no secret that this film was just an excuse to bring together the so-called Brat Pack (although in fairness it is more just a collection of young stars). None of their characters really convince and the script just creates them as simplistic and wooden gunmen. The bits of personality that the script does put in are way too modern for the western setting and only serves to damage. Estevez is poor and far too modern and cocky; Sheen is a bit more suited to the genre but sadly isn't the film's focus. Phillips is very hammy and trades off his ethnicity too much - I supposed now that he has 24, Sutherland can look back and laugh at least! Mulroney and Siemaszko are not very good and just fill out the rest of the gang. Stars like Stamp and Palance add a bit of clout but really have little to do and seem to know what sort of film they are in.

Overall this is a very poor film that only serves as a noise for an hour or so. However even as that it doesn't work - too many supposedly `comic' or `dramatic' touches are just rubbish and add nothing to the film except minutes, a problem in a film that cannot fill it's inflated running time. The action is noisy and basic, the characters poor and the audience involvement in the story almost zero. I can understand why they made it but it is a mystery why so it was so popular (marketing it as an event picture probably) given that it has so many faults and so little value.
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"Get ready for hell!"
classicsoncall14 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I've always enjoyed watching this movie, and with my most recent viewing I followed up with the episode of 'Billy The Kid' from the three disc 'Gunfighters' DVD collection from Nonfiction Films (1998, listed as 'Gunfighters of the West' in the IMDb database). It was pretty surprising to see how closely the film followed real events in the life of The Kid, born Henry McCarty in New York City's Lower East Side in 1859. All the business with John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) and Alex McSween (Terry O'Quinn) is based in fact, although the real name of the Jack Palance character was Jimmy Dolan. He was a real life businessman (read that town boss of Lincoln County) who was challenged by Tunstall for rights to government contracts at Fort Stanton in the New Mexico Territory. Dolan headquartered his 'Company' at an establishment named the House of Murphy, hence the name Lawrence G. Murphy used in the picture. The ensuing Lincoln County Wars, often depicted as a range war, was in fact a mercantile war fought essentially over the right of one faction to make more money than the other.

I've often wondered whether the real life Billy would have been as maniacal as the way he was portrayed by Emilio Estevez. I would almost think so, but with the kind of charisma that made him entirely likable as a person to those who knew him well and called him friend. Estevez, along with his brat pack buddies have an engaging chemistry on screen, even if most of it is spent dispatching members of Murphy's thugs. If not for Estevez's pacing of the character, the tone of the film would have been entirely different, as most of the men gunned down in the course of the story were simply murdered to avenge the death of Tunstall.

My favorite scene had to do with the gunslinger in the saloon who Billy mocked into a gun-down. I'd consider that one of the fictional elements thrown into the story to highlight just how duplicitous the real life Kid could be. Did you notice how the gang reacted instinctively to back up their leader just in case?

I'm not as familiar with the sequel to "Young Guns" as the original. Both were written by John Fusco, so I'd expect that the continuity relative to historical accuracy is similarly maintained. Over forty films have been made about the legend of Billy the Kid, along with the blatantly contrived two season TV Western "The Tall Man" from the early 1960's. Your best bet apart from the documentary mentioned earlier, while maintaining an element of entertainment, would be tuning into "Young Guns".
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Young Guns
jboothmillard14 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I will firstly admit that I did not pay the fullest attention to this film while it was on, but I did understand everything going on, and I knew it was going to bit of an average film anyway, but still one I was interested in because of the all-star cast, from director Christopher Cain (The Next Karate Kid). Basically, set in 1878 in New Mexico, young gun men are picked up on the road by John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) to work on his ranch, but they also learn to read and be civilised, but competitive cattle seller and rich rancher Lawrence G. Murphy (Jack Palance) is hanging around and acting suspiciously. Tunstall is shot by Murphy's men during a scuffle, because Sheriff Brady (Daniel 'Danny' Kamin) is one of the gang Justice Wilson (Victor Izay) can't do anything about the situation, but attorney Alex McSween (Lost's Terry O'Quinn) persuades him to recruit the young men as deputies and give them the warrants to arrest the murderers. The young men: William H. Bonney (Emilio Estevez), who later becomes the infamous 'Billy the Kid', Josiah Gordon 'Doc' Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland), 'Jose' Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips), Richard 'Dick' Brewer (Charlie Sheen), Dirty Steve Stephens (Dermot Mulroney) and Charles 'Charley' Bowdre (Casey Siemaszko), do not intend to arrest the killers though, they just want to shoot them. After Dick and one of the others is killed the five remaining young gun men have the final showdown with Murphy and his gang, and Billy of course went on to become an outlaw and was eventually shot dead by Patrick Floyd 'Pat' Garrett (Patrick Wayne). Also starring Sharon Thomas Cain as Susan McSween, Brian Keith as Buckshot Roberts and Cody Palance, Jack's son as Baker. The cast all do their parts fine, especially Esteves in the leading role of the well known gunslinger, I may not have followed the story in full, but the action sequences are good to watch with all the guns firing and some blood, a not bad western. Worth watching!
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A stylish retelling of the Billy the Kid story
Tweekums11 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This take on the story of Billy the Kid features Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Philips as Billy the Kid and his fellow 'regulators'; young men employed by rancher John Tunstall, played by Terrence Stamp. When fellow rancher Murphy murders Tunstall the regulators find themselves deputised and going after those responsible. They are meant to be making arrests but the leave a trail of bodies wherever they go, usually because Billy likes to shoot first and ask questions later. As the body count rises they find that they are now the wanted men so they must decide whether to try and run or turn and fight.

This film contains a good cast who perform well, the story might not be true to what happened in New Mexico all those years ago but it is exciting and filmed in a stylish way; there are also quite a few comic moments which serve well to lighten the mood in between the thrilling action scenes. If you like Brat Pack films or modern westerns I'd certainly recommend checking this out but if you want gritty realism give it a miss.
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Revisionist and contemporary study about William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid
ma-cortes6 September 2008
This is a revisionist look about the known story of the West's greatest bandit. Contemporary-style Western with nice performances and fine direction by Christopher Cain who creates some good action scenes. The Kid is well played ,though sometimes overacting , by Emilio Estevez, he plays as a likable, sympathetic,attractive young and favourite with girls. Colorful and great cinematography by Dean Cundey. Modern and unfitting musical score by Anthony Marinelli. The motion picture will like to Western fans. Followed by a sequel titled 'Young Guns II'(Geoff Murphy,1990) with similar players and concerning about Billy and his band heading toward the Old Mexico and pursued by a posse.

The picture is based partially on actual events. These deeds are the following: Billy(Emilio Estevez) became a cowboy in Lincoln County(New Mexico)for cattleman Tunstall(Terence Stamp) along with a young group(Kiefer Sutherland,Charlie Sheen,Lou Diamond Phillips,Dermot Mulroney,Casey Siemaszko). Tunstall was supported by lawyer McSween(Terry O'Quinn). But Tunstall was murdered by rival cattleman Murphy(Jack Palance) and started the Lincoln County War. Billy seeks revenge for his death and he converted an outlaw and nasty gunfighter with a price on his head. Bonney and his gang pull off a hot pursuit against the enemies. Billy, his band and McSween were besieged but he went out firing his gun and made his escape. The Kid was caught and convicted of killing and sentenced to be hanged ; though shackled foot and hand , he managed to getaway from prison by shooting dead the deputies guarding him. Pat Garret(Patrick Wayne), a former friend, was elected sheriff and set off in pursuit to capture him and on 1881 tracked at Fort Sumner and there shot him dead by surprise. Legend says that Billy murdered 21 men in his 21 years of life but is really thought to be much less.
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Young Guns Go for It
wes-connors16 May 2010
These "Young Guns" are led by Emilio Estevez. According to the DVD sleeve's synopsis, "The year is 1878, Lincoln County. John Tunstall, a British ranchowner, hires six rebellious boys as 'regulators' to protect his ranch against the ruthless Santa Fe Ring. When Tunstall is killed in an ambush, the Regulators, led by the wild tempered 'Billy the Kid' (Estevez), declare war on the Ring. As their vendetta turns into a bloody rampage, they are branded outlaws, becoming the objects of the largest manhunt in Western history."

This modernized "Billy the Kid" gang bang delivers its promised gunslinging action. But, that's about it.

"Young Guns" only boasts authentic pretense. They have great hair and show off some butt cheeks. But, the "Old Guns" making cameos are better. Growing old gracefully, handsome Patrick (son of John) Wayne (as Pat Garrett) blows everyone out of the water. There are guns galore, but few females. The soundtrack rocks and the camera is grainy. In short, this is a western from the 1980s that stays there.

**** Young Guns (8/10/88) Christopher Cain ~ Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen
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Death is dealt and mocked by young guns.
michaelRokeefe13 July 2003
A brat pack resembling a "Wild Bunch" lets the bullets fly as Billy the Kid(Emilio Estevez)and his gang of "Regulators" are on the run into old Mexico where they are demi-legends. Action packed to say the least. Some fine performances turned in by some popular young stars:Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips and Charlie Sheen. Also in the cast are Patrick Wayne, Jack Palance and Terence Stamp. And an un-credited cameo by Tom Cruise. This shoot-em-up shoots the hell out of a lot of 'em out there. Duck and reload. You can almost smell the gun smoke. A terrific modern western about the late 1870s wild west.
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If we're caught, we're gonna hang... But there's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.
hitchcockthelegend2 August 2012
Young Guns is directed by Christopher Cain and written by John Fusco. It stars Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terry O'Quinn, Jack Palance and Terence Stamp. Music is by Brian Banks and Anthony Marinelli and cinematography is by Dean Semler.

Film is a telling of Billy the Kid's part in the Lincoln County War in New Mexico 1878. Plot sees the murder of John Tunstall send Billy and the rest of the Tunstall Regulators on a mission to avenge his murder.

It ain't easy having pals.

Often derided by Western movie purists as a sort of MTV Western made to showcase the various talents of the then Hollywood Brat Pack of Estevez, Sheen, Sutherland et al, Young Guns is actually a far more entertaining picture than some critical assessments suggest it is. It also has some rock solid Western history footings holding it up, yes it's far from accurate in various scenarios, age of characters and numbers in gangs etc, but the core story of the Lincoln County War is there. A massive success at the box office and spawning an equally successful sequel in 1990, Young Guns zips along at pace, contains high energy action sequences and provides plenty of quotable dialogue. Best of all, though, it doesn't take itself seriously, it wants to be a rooting-tooting Western of fun endeavours, if viewed on those terms it's an absolute winner, especially since the cast are playing it that way.

Alex, if you stay they're gonna kill you. And then I'm gonna have to go around and kill all the guys who killed you. That's a lot of killing.

Estevez is terrific as The Kid, blending boyish arrogance with fearless rage, a fun and scary character who is easy to get on the saddle with. Elsewhere it's a mixed bag, but apart from the disappointing Sheen, the casting decisions sit well and if you talk to ten different Young Guns fans you will most likely get a number of different answers come back as to who is their favourite Regulator (mine is Dirty Steve played by Mulroney if you are wondering?). O'Quinn is spot on as Alex McSween, Stamp adds classical tones to the ill fated John Tunstall and Palance is a neat fit as villain Lawrence Murphy. Nice to see Brian Keith get a cameo as a larger than life bounty hunter as well. Semler's photography and Cain's filming techniques are a bit too anachronistic at times and the Banks/Marinelli score too modern an accompaniment on occasions. But film rounds out as a nifty bit of Oater play for Gen X and showed that as the 1990s approached there was still love for this greatest of genres. 7.5/10
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He ain't all there, is he?
Hey_Sweden19 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"Young Guns" is another in the long line of Hollywood movies to take inspiration from the real-life Billy the Kid legend. And "inspired" is the right word, since, once again, this is a fabrication of factual events. But, overall, the film is fun: fast-paced, violent, not hard to follow, very well shot (by ace cinematographer Dean Semler), and generally well acted.

Emilio Estevez clearly has a ball playing the colourful outlaw in this story. It begins as British rancher John Tunstall (a wonderful Terence Stamp) recruits Billy as the latest in his "family" of outcast boys, whom the benevolent Tunstall employs as "regulators". Trouble brews when the villains, led by an effectively sleazy Jack Palance as Murphy, succeed in knocking off Tunstall. The boys are deputized into helping depose the villains, but Billy would rather go about seeking revenge. So, a couple of dead bodies later, and the Regulators become wanted men.

Efficiently directed by Christopher Cain (whose wife Sharon Thomas plays Susan McSween), "Young Guns" is decent robust entertainment that goes for a much more visceral approach than an intellectual one. Not that that's really such a bad thing. It serves to showcase a "Brat Pack" sextet of young actors: Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Estevez' brother Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, and Casey Siemaszko. Their performances are fine, but they tend to be outshone by veteran co-stars such as Palance, Stamp, Terry O'Quinn, The Dukes' son Patrick Wayne (playing Pat Garrett), and Brian Keith in an amusing but regrettably brief cameo as a scruffy old bounty hunter. Towards the end, keep your eyes peeled for Tom Cruise, in disguise as a bad guy who gets shot.

With stylized opening credits, and a jaunty rock score, this is clearly filtered through 1980s sensibilities, so it might not appeal to Western fans across the board. But, in truth, it's not as gory as some people might fear, and it delivers some good action. The finale at the McSween homestead is an exciting one.

Overall, entertaining stuff if somewhat overextended at 107 minutes.

Followed by "Young Guns II" two years later.

Seven out of 10.
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Well, I've had you pegged as the type that likes... educatin' young men.
lastliberal5 July 2009
This movie was recommended to me a long time ago, and I finally get a chance to see it.

Now, there are two things right off the bat that I like about the film. One, it's filmed in New Mexico, and that is a good setting for a western. Secondly, it has a whole bunch of actors worth watching, even if they don't do a great job of acting.

After Murphey's (Jack Palance) gang guns down the boy's guardian (Terence Stamp), they set out to arrest the perps.

Once Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) starts the killing, the rest of the gang have no choice but to go along. First, they get high, then they get wild.

With Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Charlie Sheen, it was a rousing western adventure.
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A Western for teens
grantss8 May 2015
A Western for teens.

Quite clichéd, unoriginal and predictable with a dialogue that is so over-the-top and gung ho that you have to think that the target demographic for this movie was teenage males.

Stock-standard, linear plot that signals just about its every turn and constantly feels like a generic western. Mentor of band of young cowboys gets killed, the cowboys go after the murderers, cue many shootouts.

Main cast consists of some of the brightest young stars of the time: Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dermot Mulroney. The supporting cast were where the more seasoned (and possibly, at the time, more well-known) talent was: Jack Palance, Terence Stamp, Brian Keith.
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Regulators! Mount up!
view_and_review21 March 2020
"Young Guns" was not only a spectacular movie, it was also the source of the sampled lines in the mid-90's hit rap song "Regulators" by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg. The Regulators were a group of young men taken in by John Tunstall (Terence Stamp). He educated them and used them to protect his financial interests. When he was killed by L.G. Murphy's men, Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) sort of decided for all of the Regulators that they would avenge Tunstall.

Billy the Kid was fantastically fearless and not just a little bit crazy. Insurmountable odds and a rising bounty on his head didn't bother him one iota. In fact, it probably made him more fearless and crazy. He brought the movie to life and helped to give us the classic Western final gun battle.
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Young Guns: Part 1.
morrison-dylan-fan5 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
After having heard about this movie for a while,i decided to pick it up.I feel its a really enjoyable (and pretty fast-moving) Western. The plot: In the Wild West,a group of young cowboys are getting taught how to be more grown-up by rancher John Tunstall.(Terence Stamp) However,rival rancher Murphy ,wants to get rid of his main rival.So he gets his gang to go kill him.Due to the sheriff being in Murphys gang,an attorney decides to hire the young cowboys to arrest Murphy and his gang.Things go very wrong when one of the cowboys-Billy the Kid (Emillo Estevez) goes crazy,and instead of arresting some of the gang members,he decides to kill them!This leads to a bounty getting put on all of there heads,they think of going to Mexico,but when they find the attorney is going to get shot,they decide to go save him.When they get there,they find out that Murphys gang has plans for the attorney and them... View on the film: First,i have to say that the main flaw with this film is its 1980s rock score.The film would (i feel) have been enhanced if it had used a non-rock score.The cast:I have to highlight some really good performances in the film.First is Terence Stamp as John Tunstall.Even thought Stamp is only in the film for the first half-hour.He gives a really great performance and makes the "regular" role of the father figurer/elder his own.The most under-used in the film is Lou Diamond Phillips as Jose.Phillips does a really good job in the film (especially in the films strongest scene,where he talks about his mother.)While Estevezs does a good performance,for me he just feels a little bit not right to play Billy.The main problem for me,is that he just seems like a kid thats messed up(and someone who would not be remember along time after his death.)The last performance i want to highlight is Kiefer Sutherland as Doc.Sutherland gives a performances,that steals every scene he is in.Even thought he is meant to (along with the other cowboys) be nasty,he comes off as a very likable character. Direction:While directer Christopher Cain does "homage" to Sam Peckinpah, (espectley The Wild Bunch) he still does some very interesting things.One of the things Cain does really well (that i think is pretty creative) is that during some of the shoot-outs,instead of showing all of them in "wide shots",Cain shows it in first person,so you can see the tension from the cowboys point of view. Final view on the film: A really good "recent" western,with some great performances.
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Avenging Their Mentor.
AaronCapenBanner1 December 2013
Christopher Cain directed this surprisingly good western starring Emilio Estevez as Billy The Kid(William Bonney) who, along with other "young guns"(played by Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, and Casey Siemaszko) are taken under the wing of British rancher John Tunstall, who educates and helps them, but is brutally gunned down by a rival rancher(played by Jack Palance) forcing Billy and his new gang to avenge his death by killing the men responsible, thus becoming wanted outlaws themselves, and passing into legend... Well acted and entertaining western keeps viewers' attention throughout, and is quite exciting as a result.
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Fairly accurate account of Billy the Kid & his gang
Wuchakk3 October 2016
Released in 1988 and directed by Christopher Cain, "Young Guns" stars Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid, an orphaned teen taken in by English merchant John Tunstall (Terrence Stamp) who mentors him and several other 'young guns' – Richard 'Dick' Brewer (Charlie Sheen), Doc Scurlock (Keifer Sutherland), Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips), Dirty Steve Stephens (Dermot Malroney) and Charles 'Charley' Bowdre (Casey Siemaszko). When savage injustice strikes, the youths team-up as deputies, but their hunger for justice takes them beyond the law wherein they must be hunted as an outlaw gang. Jack Palance, Brian Keith and Patrick Wayne are also on hand.

This is an excellent "modern" Western that sticks pretty close to history. The relatively lame 80's pop rock score wasn't as bad or prevalent as I remembered and, besides, it's mixed with some more traditional Western music, usually "live" stuff performed in the scenes, like banjo, guitar, etc. The movie is realistic with an amazing true-life story brought to action-packed life by a great cast with excellent performances and potent dramatic scenes (like, for instance, Chavez's notable venting sequence).

Be sure to catch the excellent 30-minute documentary on the real-life Billy the Kid on the DVD for comparison to the events in "Young Guns" and the sequel.

Speaking of which, 1990's "Young Guns II" is almost as good and is mandatory because it shows the rest of the story – the hiring of Pat Garrett to chase down the gang and put an end to it by taking Billy out. It also sticks pretty close to history, but takes some understandable licenses (e.g. Pat Garrett was never a member of Billy's gang).

The film runs 107 minutes and was shot in New Mexico and Old Tucson, Arizona.

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Digging Up the Oldies
gradyharp4 August 2011
YOUNG GUNS is a nifty film to watch, not so much for the historical accuracy of the legend of Billy the Kid that it blatantly avoids, but for the obvious good time this cast of then young bucks had in working together. It may be difficult to realize that when this film was made (1988) these boys were in their twenties, some at the apex of their careers while others were still on the rise, and now they are hovering around 50. Sort of a baby boomer film. The story based on bits and pieces of the life of one of America's outlaw icons was written for the screen by John Fusco and was directed by Christopher Cain; it looks like an extended ad for Abercrombie and Fitch - and that's not necessarily a visual bad thing!

The story is set in 1878 and a gentleman by the name of John Tunstall (an elegant performance by Terrance Stamp) is an English cattleman who has gathered 'regulators' to guard his property - those Regulators being the studs, Josiah Gordon 'Doc' Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland), "Jose; Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips), Richard 'Dick' Brewer (Charlie Sheen), Charles 'Charley' Bowdre (Casey Siemaszko), and the tobacco chaw chewing Dirth Steve Stephens (Dermot Mulroney). A 'new guy' comes on the scene, the handsome, winsome William H. 'Billy the Kid' Bonney (Emilio Estevez) and immediately attracts the attention of Tunstall who dresses him up and wins his affection. A neighboring cattleman Lawrence G. Murphy (Jack Palance) and his men are arch enemies with Tunstall and in time murder Tunstall, a deed that sets into action the killing spree that is the core of the film. Billy the Kid gains fame and his gang of 5 find favor in the eyes of the prairie people - a Robin Hood take on the story. And of course there is the encounter with Patrick Floyd 'Pat' Garrett (Patrick Wayne, son of John Wayne). It is a rootin' tootin' Western with some dialogue updating that somehow works coming form the mouths of the brat pack. A great movie? No, but it is an entertaining one and an homage to a period of time when these young actors had style - back then.

Grady Harp
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Bad acting
mm-393 April 2002
This film had a good script, but the acting was awful. I like the ending, and how the story transgress from the beginning to the end. With the awful acting, one can understand the reasons many members of the brat pack did not evolve from b movies and tv. Charlie Sheen did a good job, but they killed him off in the middle, and Jack Palance gives a scene of style in his role. 4/10
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Sometimes casting does make a movie
Mr-Fusion21 September 2018
I imagine it was pretty peculiar marketing a Western to the teen crowd. And honestly, the contemporary music feels totally out of place (easy-listening sax?!). It's for this reason primarily that I hadn't thought much of "Young Guns" on my first go-around (what, fourteen years ago?).

But my wife loves this movie, and I got much more out of it this time around. This thing runs almost solely on youthful star power, and these actors share a nice chemistry. It also benefits from a Terrence Stamp appearance and Estevez's charming wild-card Billy the Kid.

Not a bad movie.
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Something Different & Interesting
whpratt112 October 2005
Missed this film and finally got to view this very unusual story about an Irishman who takes in men and young ones who have very Special Talents. There is bad blood between the Irishman and the local politician's in town and bad bad threats are made back and forth with each other. Emilo Estevez,(William H. Bonney), "Another Stakeout",'93, gave an outstanding performance through out the entire film. Kiefer Sutherland,(Doc), "Dead Heat",'02, showed his great acting abilities who had a great taste in women and chose a cute petite Asian gal; who was really a slave gal owned by a wicked crook. Charlie Sheen,(Richard Brewer), "Rated X",'00, was fast with the guns and would kill a person at the blink of an eye lid ! Richard Brewer managed to get the name Billy the Kid, which made for another film, "Young Guns II "
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Pretty good, just questionable casting
Smells_Like_Cheese9 July 2006
I am a huge fan of Charlie Sheen and Keifer Sutherland, they're both very good looking and talented men. Even though I am not a huge fan of Westerns, I figured I could give this movie a look. With a very promising cast how could I loose? The story is actually pretty original and exciting. It's based around Billy the Kid and his gang. These boys have been raised by a kind man who took them in when they could have ended up having miserable lives. When the sheriff and his evil men take his life, the boys rebel and take over the town.

Young Guns is a pretty entertaining movie that I think anyone could get into. But I was a little concerned with Emilio as Billy the Kid, he just seems too nice to play him. But over all I'd say that he was convincing. So for those who enjoy westerns or just want a fun action flick, please pull up the popcorn and enjoy!

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i expected more (5.5/10)
disdressed125 April 2009
i found this western,starring a lot of hot young actors of the time, was entertaining,but i didn't like it much as a lot of other modern and even older westerns.i found it slow and boring at times,and less action than i's another interpretation of Billy The Kid,and the gang he rides with.apparently this interpretation is as close to the actual historical record.i guess that's for the acting,i did think the casting of Terrance Stamp and Jack Palance was inspired,but the rest of the acting was OK, although i didn't find it great.all in all,a pretty disappointing affair.for me,Young Guns is a 5.5/10
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