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The Cowboys [HD DVD] [Import]

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

List Price: CDN$ 34.99
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• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a Blu-ray player or a PS3.

Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Bruce Dern, Colleen Dewhurst, Alfred Barker Jr.
  • Directors: Mark Rydell
  • Writers: Harriet Frank Jr., Irving Ravetch, William Dale Jennings
  • Producers: Mark Rydell, Tim Zinnemann
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording remastered, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • Release Date: June 5 2007
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000P6XU5Q
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Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
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.

When I say excellent movie - it doesn't get better than having the toughest cowboy that ever lived having to work together with kids ranging in age from approx.7yrs old up to about 15 yrs old - kids who look up to & want to emulate him, yet are also angered by his ultra tough no nonsense approach to everything.

When the evil Bruce Dern shows up - first as a lying ex. con whom Wayne rejects (because his boys are good enough and he can't abide a liar)and then later as a sadistic tormentor of children the movie takes a scary turn.

The "little things" that ruined it for me and cause me to refrain from showing it to kids(who would love it) or promoting it to friends are things like far too much bad language (a little goes a long way)& a scene in which the boys come across a brothel on wheels and the madame is none other than Marilla from Anne of Green Gables and lastly the graphic violence that seems endless at some points. Again, a little goes a long way and a movie that promotes great values on the one hand but allows this other garbage as well, lowers itself in my eyes. Great acting by John Wayne (shows a tender side) and all of the young boys with special mention to the youngest member of the cowboys Clay O'brien (great little horseman too)
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Format: DVD
Ignore the Amazon review above by Tom Keogh. This is a great film whether you are a western fan or not. It is one of the greatest westerns ever, in the same class as 'The Searchers', 'My Darlin' Clementine', 'Shane', 'High Noon', etc. It is also one of Wayne's best performances. (By the way, the film is 135 minutes long and Wayne's character is killed with approximately 30 or 35 minutes to go. Contrary to Keogh's and some readers' reviews, he is not in the movie "only a short time".)
I would have rated The Cowboys with 5 stars but the DVD picture appears to be a mere transfer from the VHS edition. (I used to own the laserdisc and remember that version's picture quality as much better than the DVD.) While the sound has been remastered, the picture has not been remastered/ restored. Frequently, through-out the movie, white marks and scratches appear on the screen. It's a shame that Warner Brothers did not release this film on DVD with the care and respect it deserves.
The special features are good but there is no commentary, and an update on the "boys" would have been nice.
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Format: DVD
John Wayne's 1972 film "The Cowboys" has always been one of his more interesting twilight westerns. It is blessed with one of the Duke's most gentle portrayals - in this case an aging rancher coming to terms with a past scarred by unyeilding obstinance. It is also one of the few times in his vast career that Wayne worked with filmmakers outside of his long-time clique (Ford, Hawks, Kennedy, McLaglen). The result is a very un-Wayne like film blessed with introspection, spectacular camera work, unique production values and a memorable musical score by a then-young John Williams.
Unfortunately, "The Cowboys" gets lost on the trail about three-quarters of the way in. Viewers must then suffer the misery of several violent deaths, attempted child molestation and an out-of-place Bruce Dern giving what must rank as one of the most famous villainous performances in cinema history. The end result should leave a bad taste in the mouths of most viewers, as what was an enjoyable family film with several strong messages about nobility, hard work and discipline, becomes just another violent western.
Most viewers already know that Wayne dies near the end of this film at the hands of the sadistic Dern. The symbolism during the now-famous fight scene is obvious. This film was made in 1971-72. The United States was still fighting in the Vietnam war. Protests on college campuses were still rampant across the country. And Wayne's stance about America's involvement was always readily apparent. Anyone who has ever seen a documentary on Wayne's life has seen the at-times painful footage of the Duke traveling to a college campus and being pelted by snowballs from angry students.
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