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4.3 out of 5 stars30
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on May 18, 2004
Ok, so the historical aspect is questionable, so what? This is classic John Wayne, good guys against bad guys, and predictably great until the final reel. I always felt they left the door open a little for a sequel, or moreover that this was placing a John Wayne bootprint on the story behind the story of the Lincoln County War. Whichever way, I thoroughly enjoy this every time I see it. Probably not one of the "GREAT" John Wayne westerns, and I'm being a little generous with 4 stars, but the transfer quality to DVD makes it worth it, although there isn't any extra stuff. Just under two hours, and a little violent for very young children, otherwise Enjoy
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on February 5, 2003
Based upon historical fact, this film follows the famous range war in which Billy the Kid made his name, but chiefly from the viewpoint of aging cattle baron John Chisum (Wayne in the title role). It's 1878 in New Mexico Territory, and Chisum rides into the local town of Lincoln to meet his niece Sallie (Pamela McMyler) off the stage. His foreman and long-time Good Right Hand, Pepper (Ben Johnson practically stealing the movie--he should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor), remarks upon the many acquisitions being made by would-be real-estate magnate Lawrence J. Murphy (Tucker in a cheerfully malevolent role), but Chisum isn't looking for trouble. Still, he is inexorably drawn into the escalating situation when lawyer Alex McSween (Andrew Prine), whom Sallie befriended on the journey, finds it impossible to turn a blind eye to Murphy's machinations, and helps stake the idealistic Easterner to a store to run in competition with the one Murphy bought out from under its original owner. Not until his friend and neighbor, Britisher Henry Tunstall (Patric Knowles), is murdered on the road by two deputies of Murphy's hand-picked sheriff (Bruce Cabot), does Chisum's temper finally come unglued, and the story continues through the siege (canonical) of the McSween store by Murphy's forces, the shooting down of McSween in the street, and at last a classic brawl (in an ultimately burning building) between Chisum and Murphy that always reminds me of two old range bulls butting heads. As always, the supporting cast adds immeasureably to the movie: Geoffrey Deuel as Billy Bonney; Christopher George (who also played a villainous role in the Duke's "El Dorado") as his old enemy, gimpy, half-crazy bounty hunter Dan Nodeen; Richard Jaeckel as Jess Evans, with whom Billy once rode; Glenn Corbett as Billy's friend (and future killer) Pat Garrett. The mild liberties that are taken with history (such as Sallie's attraction to Billy) only serve to fill out the characters better. There's plenty of classic Old West action and a good score (Merle Haggard's vocal, "Turn Me Around," should be released on a retrospective of his songs), and Chisum is portrayed as a decent man who loves the land and wants the best for the people who live on it (interestingly, he isn't expected to carry a romantic relationship at all, though it's strongly hinted that he came close to marrying Sallie's mother). A solid entry to the Wayne oeuvre and one well worth your time.
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on March 16, 2000
CHISUM is the kind of good, tough, old-fashioned western that Hollywood has apparently forgotten how to make. This film focuses on the Lincoln County land wars in New Mexico, featuring a look at the involvement of Billy the Kid. The performances are strong down the line, most notably John Wayne as John Chisum and Christopher George as "Sheriff" Dan Nodeen. Although the historical aspect of the film is dubious, and the plot is a patchwork rehash of many "B" westerns (with implied references to several of Wayne's previous westerns), the film is most enjoyable. Andrew V. Mc Laglen (the poor man's John Ford) does a commendable job of directing this ensemble of veteran and up-and-coming actors. While CHISUM does not rank among the BEST of the John Wayne westerns (such as The Searchers, Red River, etc...), it's still VERY entertaining and well worth watching.
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on February 6, 2002
Chisum is a well-directed, well-acted western based on the 1878 Lincoln County War in New Mexico. Duke dominates the story, but Geoffrey Deuel gives an excellent performance as Billy the Kid, and Ben Johnson provides enjoyable comic relief as Chisum's foreman, James Pepper. The movie is even somewhat historically accurate, although Brady's successor as Sheriff was not named Dan Nodeen. Who cares? Good plot, enjoyable characters, and plenty of action make this a must for any John Wayne fan. There is one thing about this movie that puzzles me though, why would a fine young woman like Chisum's niece (played by Pamela McMyler) be interested in the affections of a killer like Billy the Kid?
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on August 10, 2000
Chisum is a very good all around movie, but does have flaws, such as the 70's music "Settling down" in the middle of the movie. That music does not go well with westerns. Only the action in this movie saves it. The characters are not as memorable in "Big Jake", or "Cowboys", but there are some famous parts, such as the song in the end, "Chisum, John Chisum..." and the music when John Wayne gets in a fist fight with Murphy. This is a good movie, but if it was not cheap, I would buy the other movies previously mentioned.
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on August 10, 2000
This is a great movie another must have in the John Wayne collection! The Characters are what stand out best in this movie, such as, Mr. Nightlinger because he is witty and inteligent. I also like Bruce Dern, because he is especially slimy, and ofcourse, John Wayne. This time instead of the "Duke", it is Mr.Nigtlinger making the memorable lines. The down side is when John Wayne dies, it was sad. It is a great movie, I also highly recommend this movie along with Big Jake.
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on June 21, 2003
One of John Wayne's best Action Westerns. The acting is better than average and Ben Johnson actually talks in this movie!
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on April 2, 1999
This is a great movie. Not only is it exciting but it is full of history. Telling the story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett. How New Mexico became settled and how a man who can start with just a small piece of land, through hard work, perserverance, honesty, and consideration for his fellow man could amass such land and respect from his neighbors. It is truly one of Wayne's best and certainly worth watching.
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on July 13, 2000
Chisum, John Chisum...the song will stick in your head. My eight year old son sings it too. Great movie filled with great lines from Duke. I had a hard time swallowing the 'nice guy/sympthasize with me' Billy the Kid, but beyond that it is a great shoot 'em up and hang 'em high western with a good stampede through town at the end. Story was accceptable and it is always good to see the Duke in action.
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on January 26, 2003
When I saw another review of this movie I just could not let this guy "diss" the duke like this. I loved this movie, sure it has its flaws, but I found it to be very funny to the point that I was quoting it to my friends (much to their dismay). Anyway if you like a movie with a little humor along with the ruggedness of most cowboy/John Wayne movies, this is the one for you.
-Bobbie, 20
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