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The Cowboys [HD DVD]

John Wayne , Roscoe Lee Browne , Mark Rydell    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   HD DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
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Notorious as the first John Wayne film that does the unthinkable--subject Wayne's character to a nasty fate after only a short time--the 1972 Cowboys isn't much more interesting beyond that. The story finds Wayne playing a rancher who takes 11 boys on a cattle drive. They run into a nut case (Bruce Dern) who deprives the kids of their leader, and the rest of the film is a tale of revenge. Mark Rydell (Cinderella Liberty) directs an unexciting production, although performances by some of the younger actors such as A. Martinez and Robert Carradine are memorable. The DVD release has a widescreen presentation, trailers for 13 of Wayne's films, a featurette, optional French soundtrack, and optional French subtitles. --Tom Keogh

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Director Mark Rydell takes the acting and physical talents of veteran and rookie actors alike and melds them into a great cowboy flick. John Wayne, in one of his last films, is his usual bigger-than-life presence as rancher Wil Andersen who is faced with the need to get his cattle to market but without any help to do it. It just so happens that "gold fever" has struck his part of the West and all of the trail riders have turned into gold miners. The only trail hands left to choose from are the 11 boys who attend the local school. Andersen is faced with the challenge of herding both the cattle and the greenhorn cowboys 400 miles to market.
Andersen hires a black cook, Jebidiah Nightlinger, to feed the troupe and, after a few short days of learning the "ropes" of cattle herding, they set off on their mission. Along the way, there are some great scenes, especially the night the boys discover the sour mash that Mr. Nightlinger has hidden in his chuckwagon and the scene where the cowboys meet up with a travelling group of prostitutes. Bruce Dern as the evil rustler, Asa Watts, is outstanding as the movie's villan. Dern has that great way of contorting his face and eyes to create that genuiunely creepy style of acting that he's displayed throughout much of his career. In the scene where he captures one of the young cowboys and pumps him for information about the cattle drive, it appears that the young man really is terrified of Dern.
By now, the reader of this review probably knows that (for one of the few times in his acting career) John Wayne dies in "The Cowboys". Without going into a lot of plot-revealing details, let me suffice to say that his death does not go unpunished. The boys deliver the cattle to market and become men along the way.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Duke western May 22 2004
Format:DVD
The Cowboys is a good but not great Duke western that benefits from good performances by the cast. Because all the men in town are off in search of gold, rancher Wil Andersen is forced to hire 11 schoolboys to help him drive a herd of cattle to Montana. Obvious problems arise on the trail as Andersen and his cook, Jebediah Nightlinger, try to help the boys learn how to be cowboys. Andersen, Nightlinger, and the 11 cowboys also must deal with a band of rustlers threatening to steal their cattle herd. The plot for this movie is nothing special, but it is still a very enjoyable movie. John Wayne and Roscoe Lee Browne are very good as are the kids. For a Duke western, the ending is a little shocking, but the revenge motive works here as the "cowboys" go after the rustlers. The Cowboys is a beautifully shot movie in the barren desert and the green mountains that deserves a watch to see the Duke in one of his last movies.
As usual, John Wayne is excellent as rancher Wil Andersen, who must watch out for the eleven schoolboys turned cowboys. He takes on a father role to them which is very believable by the end of the movie. Roscoe Lee Browne is also very good as Andersen's cook, Jebediah Nightlinger, who must deal with more than a little racism on the trail. Bruce Dern with his rattlesnake theme is incredibly creepy as rustler, Long Hair, although sometimes his character has been called Asa Watts. The 11 cowboys are all pretty good in their roles including Robert Carradine, A. Martinez, and Alfred Barker Jr. The DVD offers widescreen presentation, production notes, a featurette on the making of, and trailers from 13 different John Wayne movies. The Cowboys is not an action packed western, but it is still entertaining with good performances from the Duke, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Bruce Dern. For an enjoyable western with a bit of a twist, check out The Cowboys!
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By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
If you stop and think about it John Wayne actually made several westerns that took surprising twists. In "The Searchers," Wayne played Ethan Edwards, who spends the entire film tracking the neice who had been taken by Scar's band of raiders so that he can put a bullet in her brain, only to end up taking her home. But for his legion of fans, "The Cowboys" had to be the biggest surprise of all.
As rancher Wil Andersen, Wayne finds that his hands have left him to join a gold rush and he has no one to help him get his herd of cattle to market before winter. His only option are a group of young school boys, a hot headed young gun man named Cimarron (A Martinez), and an old cook named Jedediah Nightlinger (Roscoe Lee Browne). With hardly any training, Anderson and his "cowboys" hit the trail. But not only do they have to do deal with hundreds of heads of cattle, rattlesnakes, and the elements, there are also a gang of man led by Asa Watts (Bruce Dern) following them as well.
I think that Bruce Dern had a pretty good career after this 1972 film, which was in doubt at that time because his character shoots down John Wayne in cold blood, which was definitely not considered a smart career move at the time. Wayne warned Dern he would be hated and the young actor actually received death threats. A movie in which John Wayne actually dies is always something of a shock for movie goers (e.g., "Sands of Iwo Jima"), but usually that tragic fate is saved for the very end of the film and in "The Cowboys" there is still the entire final act of the story left to be told. The one thing you have to admit is that no other actor being killed off in the middle of a western could shock you more than the Duke.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie
the movie was good.
I love westerns/, anything to do with John Wayne.
Enjoyable movie for an enjoyable evening .Good.
Published 5 months ago by Trudy Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent movie
i always enjoyed this movie. my son also has enjoyed over the years he is in early 20 s now.
Published 7 months ago by lenore carriere
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
My Grandfather loved this movie, and I'm not even a huge John Wayne fan but this ones a goodie, a real keeper.
Published 8 months ago by Tara C. Vivian
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Nobody could ever better the Duke. He was one of the best western actors of the 20th century. He's going to be missed.
Published 14 months ago by Watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Oneof his bet performances
Should have been nominated for this one, great director, great supporting characters, such as Bruce Dern, wonderful as the awful bad guy.
Published 17 months ago by Jay
4.0 out of 5 stars Good John Wayne Western
This is my wife's favourite John Wayne movie. He is the same as he always is but the kids make the movie. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2012 by BobbyT
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom prevails Not your typical "duster
Not your typical "duster"starring "the Duke" although there's cattle, horses and cowboys. Instead more of a coming of age ,good versus evil with healing between generations and... Read more
Published on April 10 2012 by jahoody
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love John Wayne.....
Great Movie! If you love or even like John Wayne this is a must have.
Published on Feb. 21 2010 by J. Wheeler
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie almost ruined by "the little things"
John Wayne is amazing in this unique western drama that has him forced to use boys rather than men, to take his 1500 head of cattle to market, because of the gold rush. Read more
Published on May 27 2007 by Catherine Jobin
4.0 out of 5 stars looking for a title
what is the name of the book that this movie waas based upon?
Published on July 22 2005 by Sarah
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