THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES [1976] movie review

December 31, 2011 · Print This Article

Not until the final third of the movie was I fairly certain some time in the distant past I saw THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES in its entirety while earlier some scenes did seem familiar. I had no idea how the story turned out though, so the movie in essence was new to me. UNFORGIVEN is one of my all-time favorite movies of any genre, and it was great to see how Clint Eastwood developed as a director and actor in JOSEY WALES. I recognized the line of dialogue, “for squirrels and such,” influencing a line in UNFORGIVEN that was either word for word or substituted snakes for squirrels, while keeping exactly the same delivery.

JOSEY WALES makes no attempt to hide that it is a straight out revenge movie, taking care of that plot setup all in the first five minutes. What is different is that Eastwood does not hunt down each person one-by-one, in fact he is chased throughout the entire movie by the men he would actually like to take revenge on.


Along the way he begrudgingly takes on riders and helps out others who would otherwise be killed.


It is classic Eastwood acting, always seeming to stare off into the distance, never looking directly at anything, squint-eyed. There is no look I like better in movies. His character actually has a good amount of dialogue. Humor is used at appropriate times in trademark Eastwood exchanges with both good and bad guys.


One of the things I liked most is it showed sympathy to various American Indians, at least Eastwood’s character did. Coincidentally, I heard an interview by an author of a new book on David (Davie) Crockett earlier tonight and Crockett got ousted from congress because he stood up to the government about the constant relocation of Indian tribes. It was good to know there was some objection about this by white men at the the time.


JOSEY WALES is a satisfying semi-modern western that is very entertaining while only somewhat skirting outside traditional lines.


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