5.9/10
5,657
58 user 29 critic
The early career of legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickock is telescoped and culminates in his relocation in Deadwood and a reunion with Calamity Jane.

Director:

Walter Hill

Writers:

Peter Dexter (book) (as Pete Dexter), Thomas Babe (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Wild Bill Hickok
Ellen Barkin ... Calamity Jane
John Hurt ... Charley Prince
Diane Lane ... Susannah Moore
Keith Carradine ... Buffalo Bill Cody
David Arquette ... Jack McCall
Christina Applegate ... Lurline Newcomb
Bruce Dern ... Will Plummer
James Gammon ... California Joe
Marjoe Gortner ... Preacher
James Remar ... Donnie Lonigan
Karen Huie ... Song Lew
Steve Reevis ... Sioux Chief
Robert Knott ... Dave Tutt
Pato Hoffmann Pato Hoffmann ... Cheyenne Leader
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Storyline

Maverick writer-director Walter Hill's version of the famous Wild Bill Hickok legend is a dreams-cape western that is told entirely in flashback. Hickok's friend Charley Prince (John Hurt) narrates the events of Wild Bill's life while sitting at Bill's graveside. Hickok is played by Jeff Bridges as a mean, high-spirited, but gallant outlaw. He wanders the West, adding to his reputation with some well-chosen gunfights, and he meets up with characters such as Calamity Jane (Ellen Barkin), who becomes his sidekick for a time. After becoming a legend, Hickok signs up for a stint with Buffalo Bill Cody's traveling variety show. Eventually, he falls in love with Susannah Moore (Diane Lane), and his love leads him to tragedy in the town of Deadwood, SD.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Name Is Legendary. The Man Is Real. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for wild West violence and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Sioux | Cantonese

Release Date:

1 December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Divlji Bil See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,167,808
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The 2001 Region 1 MGM DVD erroneously listed the running time as a 1 hr and 55 mins when the actual running time is 1 hr and 38 mins. See more »

Goofs

When in the early scene wherein Will Plummer's horse falls, breaking Will's leg, a power pole and power lines are clearly visible over the roof tops. See more »

Quotes

Charley Price: This town... I really think it's like something out of the Bible.
James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickok: What part of the Bible?
Charley Price: The part right before God gets angry.
See more »

Connections

References The Plainsman (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

The Yellow Rose of Texas
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Loved the Movie, Would Probably Love the Man
29 April 2005 | by Bob-45See all my reviews

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickock: Soldier, buffalo hunter, lawman, adventurer, wastrel, whoremonger, opium user, syphilis-carrier, brawler. Wild Bill wasn't just worldly, he was world-class worldly. Yet there was a boyishly but noble, almost sensitive charm to this raging bar fight of a man. His murder by the hand of a coward smacks of Greek tragedy, though he was spared the final indignities of disease and self-abuse. "Wild Bill" pretty well accurately chronicles the life of the man. Walter Hill has beautifully established the enigmatic poetry of him. Jeff Bridges perfectly embodies his spirit, while his friends, "Calamity Jane" (Ellen Barkin), Charley Prince (John Hurt) and "California Joe" (James Gammon) provide letter perfect foils, thematic analyzers and comic relief. With the success of "Deadwood" on HBO, "Wild Bill" would probably be a deserved hit with audiences now. At the time, a movie whose gaminess made a Leone western look positively Disneyish by comparison was probably too off-putting for audiences. Now, it's time to examine the beauty of the performances amidst the accurate ugliness of actual conditions in mining towns like Deadwood in 1876. This is Barkin's best performance, Gammon's most charming and Hurt's most beautiful line readings. Who could ever forget the haunting look on the face of Song Lew (Karen Huie), proprietress of the opium den after saving the doped out Bill. Or Bill's disgust with the "opium of the masses" Marjoe Gortner (himself a former evangelical preacher) doles out to the suckers in the form of religion. How the movie beautifully integrates the old joke that "the best way to find a whore is follow the church bells" into the storyline. Christina Applegate is even very effective in her peripheral role, with her baby face and voluptuous body, a child whose eyes already reflect a soul dead from surrender to his conditions. "Wild Bill" is strong stuff indeed. If I can fault writer-director Walter Hill (and I believe it is still too soon to render a final judgment on this movie), I would fault his decision to shoot the flashbacks as erratic dreams, with unstable camera and black-and-white. I'd have chosen one OR the other, not both. No matter, "Wild Bill" will continue to haunt me, as great films do. for years to come. I just wish he'd added at least one flourish so effectively used in "The White Buffalo," another less well made, but impressive movie about Hickock. That would have been to include the scene of Bill passing the mountain of bleached Buffalo bones. For Bill's passing was perhaps a fitting climax to the death of that era; and, with it, the death of the "American West" of legend.

I give "Wild Bill" a "9".


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