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Ride the High Country

Joel McCrea , Randolph Scott , Sam Peckinpah    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Frequently Bought Together

Ride the High Country + TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Legends - John Ford (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon / Three Godfathers / Cheyenne Autumn / Wagon Master) + TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: John Wayne Westerns (The Cowboys / Fort Apache / Rio Bravo / The Searchers)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 45.97

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Product Description


Ride the High Country is the one Sam Peckinpah movie about which there has never been controversy--save at MGM in 1962, when a new studio regime opted to dump this beautiful, heartbreakingly elegiac Western into the bottom half of a double-bill. Westerns rarely even got reviewed back then, so it's wellnigh miraculous that critics discovered the movie and raved about it. Newsweek called it the best American picture of the year.

Veteran cowboy stars Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea portray aging gunslingers in the twilight of the Old West. McCrea's character, Steve Judd, signs on to transport a shipment of gold from a remote mining camp. Gil Westrum (Scott), an old crony now trick-shooting in a carnival, agrees to help but really aims to seduce Judd into stealing the treasure. The slow-building tension between longtime friends--one still true to the code he's lived by, the other having drifted away from it--anticipates the tortuous personal dilemmas played out to the death by Peckinpah's Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and Benny and Elita in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

The action scenes are powerful, if only beginning to suggest the radical technique with which Peckinpah would astonish audiences in just a few years. But his feeling for flavorsome dialogue, Rabelaisian humor, and full-blooded character acting is already unmistakable. Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones, and John Davis Chandler are among the "redneck peckerwoods" complicating the journey, and Mariette Hartley is fresh and saucy in her big-screen debut. As for McCrea and Scott, they are simply superb. The two proposed that they swap roles before filming got underway, and the question of who got first billing was settled by flipping a coin. Both men retired once the film was in the can. They knew they'd never top it. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best...of all time June 9 2002
Format:VHS Tape
When this film came out in 1962 I went with my Dad to see it at the movie theater. Its images, its words, its story have remained with me ever since....
Sam Peckinpah's RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is one of the finest western adventures in cinematic history. Everything---the superb acting from old time veterans Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, the crisp and pointed dialogue, the camera work (and film editing), and the never-overdone elegiac underlay of farewell and warning, not just about the "old west" of the motion pictures (of the 1930-1960 period), but about the reality of the American frontier and the American spirit--adds up to excellence.
If two actors truly symbolized the Old West of public imagination, certainly those actors were Randy Scott and Joel McCrea. How fitting that RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY should be their "so long, pardner" to the genre! In 1962 the classic Western was dying, the genre changing, just as America was changing. The spirit of American innocence and optimism was subtly being transformed--while we longed for the return of Randy Scott, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and moral certainties, Vietnam would soon make us a nation of cynics and skeptics. Thus, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is more than just a salute to two great Western actors and their farewell to that enduring American film creation the classic Western; RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY tells us, through two of the most admired cowboy actors of all time, about ouselves, about changing American society, and presents us with a classic morality tale. Steve (McCrea)Judd's remarkable words to Gil (Scott) Westrum, when Westrum gently suggests they might skip out with the gold they are charged with transporting, says it all: "All I want to do is enter my house justifed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic John Wayne Oct. 17 2013
By Allen Patterson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
How can you go wrong with the Duke. I am a huge fan and want the movies on DVD prices were right and the selection was great the more the better is the way I look at it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's Masterpiece June 26 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
After a lengthy apprenticeship in the theater and TV, this was Sam Peckinpah's second feature, and the only one that completely fulfilled his talents as a director. Joel McRea and Randolph Scott (finishing their sterling careers in a blaze of glory here) joust over right and wrong, money and honor in a parable about two men bringing a gold shipment from the mines to a bank. Ironically, they are brought to the brink of destruction not by greed but by the torments of young love, something of which they only have dim memories. Peckinpah, who was an accomplished TV scriptwriter, reportedly augmented N.B. Stone's original story with his own touches. The pacing and changes of mood, the action scenes, the great dialogue are all masterfully handled and speak of a very talented artist still more interested in his material than in himself. Sadly, this didn't last; Peckinpah's next feature, "Major Dundee", was a fiasco, and although he created many great moments in a dozen more films over the next 20 years, he never again pulled it all together over the course of an entire project. By the by, "Ride the High Country" is certainly worthy of DVD treatment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great in all respects. Oct. 10 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The opening scene of this movie fooled me. I thought the movie was going to be a Western comedy set in the city. I was wrong. The character interaction, dialog, and scenery are first rate. Even the soundtrack is stirring to the point that it moves your soul. The conversations between Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott reminded me of my own personal life. The ending is stirring. One of my favorite Westerns of all time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fine western! Aug. 24 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Fine little western - brilliantly acted by ol'cowboys Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott.Pity that "hell and fire" director Peckinpah didn't make more quiet and poetic films like this one. (OK, Junior Bonner is another one). Like this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should be in every Western collection May 17 2000
Format:VHS Tape
One of the best ever made. Aging ex-lawman does one last job transporting a gold shipment, accompanied by an old saddlemate and a young gun. A talented director, a good story, beautiful location filming, and great performances from a cast of skilled professionals make this film a "must." Should be seen in widescreen format, if possible.
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