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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Pale Imitation!
"I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named death, and Hades was following close behind him" Revelations Chapter 6 verse 8.

The title of the film is taken from the above passage from the bible, describing one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The strongly religious tone of the film, make it one of Clint Eastwood's more ambitious...
Published on 6 Oct 2009 by Bob Salter

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars spectre protector of gold prospectors
A rich land baron, who's into his mining, falls out with a ragtag bunch of gold prospecting settlers during a dispute over land claims. After implementing some strong arm tactics, a mysterious preacher shows up and sides with the meek, causing the mining baddies no end of problems with the settlers' renewed spirit. Eventually though the mining boss gets fed up and calls...
Published 20 months ago by Arch Stanton


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Pale Imitation!, 6 Oct 2009
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pale Rider [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
"I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named death, and Hades was following close behind him" Revelations Chapter 6 verse 8.

The title of the film is taken from the above passage from the bible, describing one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The strongly religious tone of the film, make it one of Clint Eastwood's more ambitious and interesting films. It possesses a depth that many of his films fail to reach. In essence it is almost a scene for scene remake of that classic fairy tale western "Shane", that also contains an idea carried over from "High Plains Drifter". In that film a ghost was resurrected from the past to wreak vengeance for past and present evils. The idea is used again in this film and to good effect.

In the film a mysterious stranger wearing a clerical collar rides into a small mining community that is oppressed by a businessman intent on taking over the land they are mining with hard labour. This may already sound familiar to those who have seen "Shane". The businessman whose clumsy attempts at scaring the miners off fail, then resorts to violence and hires a gang of killers. The leader of this gang is known to the stranger from the past. We head to a bloody climax between the preacher and the gang. The assassin is forced to face his nemesis from the past. One that he disturbingly thought was dead and buried.

I had much fun watching the film and spotting the scenes recreated from "Shane". The classic scene where Starrett and Shane battle to uproot a stump is re-enacted substituting a boulder. Elisha Cook's emphatic death in the mud is replicated, only this time there are seven guns and not just those of the deliciously evil Jack Palance. Even the famous ending is copied. Where the film does diverge is with the two main characters from the films. Shane is a semi mythical character who comes with a past, but he is of flesh and blood. But the preacher it is made clear early in the film is a ghost. When we see him take a wash early in the film we see the scars of many bullet wounds in areas that no human being could possibly have survived.

The film contains some good performances. Eastwood is excellent in the lead and Michael Moriarty in the Van Heflin role lends good support. The veteran John Russell is also very good as the hired killer. He had a hard act to follow in Jack Palance, who possibly gave the best performance of screen villainy in cinematic history. Richard Kiel also appears in a rather eccentric bit of casting as a heavy with a heart. His role seems slightly out of step with the rest of the film. But this is a minor criticism. The film was shot in the stunning Boulder mountains in the Sawtooth National Recreation area in Idaho, which adds a powerful raw beauty to the cinematography. "Pale Rider" is a very fine effort, and Mr Eastwood who also directed is to be congratulated. Not that I suppose he will worry about my opinion as he sits on his throne in Carmel! Although not as good as the film it openly plagiarizes, it is also no pale imitation. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EASTWOOD RIDES AGAIN!, 15 Aug 2014
By 
THE MOVIE

A mysterious preacher rides into the town of Lahood, a mining community owned by the ruthless Coy LaHood. His thugs terrorize the independent pan miners to drive them out of the area.
When Hull Barret, the leader of the miners, enters the town to buy supplies, LaHood's thugs think him easy pickings when he gets unexpected help from the preacher. Grateful for his rescue Hull takes the Preacher in.
LaHood's attempts to intimidate the Preacher are fruitless, so he hires the corrupt Marshal Stockburn and his deputies to kill him in one of the best finales ever seen in a western.

PALE RIDER was the highest grossing western of the 80s. It bears a lot of similarities to the western classic SHANE and Eastwood's earlier westerns HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and THE DOLLAR TRILOGY.
The title is a reference to the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, namely the rider of a pale horse, Death from the Book of Revelation, chapter 6. Generally there are a lot of Catholic reverances in PALE RIDER.
This movie was Eastwood's 11th directing job, and he did a great job. It is quite slow-paced and does not rely much on action but draws heavily from the characters and the overall fantastic cast.
Eastwood is right in his element portraying once again the Stranger without a name that made him world famous through Leone's DOLLAR TRILOGY. Needless to say he mastered that role just as Bronson mastered the Vigilante role.
Michael Moriarty as Hull Barret, as well as Carrie Snodgress and Sydney Penny also give formidable performances as the family Eastwood helps. Richard Dysart and Chris Penn play the movie's main villains. Be on the lookout for cameos of John Russell and Billy Drago.
PALE RIDER is one of the greatest American-made westerns with strong echoes of the Spaghetti Westerns. Not as good as Eastwood's previous westerns THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER but still a class of its own and highly recommended.

THE BLU-RAY

Reviewed version: 2010 Warner US Blu-ray (reissue)
Feature running time: 116 mins. (uncut)
Rating: R (MPAA) / 15 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 / 16x9
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English 5.1, French 1.0 Mono, German 2.0 Mono, Italian 2.0 Mono, Spanish (Castellano & Latino) 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, German SDH, Italian, Italian SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Extras: Theatrical Trailers to Pale Rider and The Unforgiven
Region: A, B, C (region free)

Picture: C
Audio: C
Extras: F
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clint's Solid Western, 7 Aug 2014
By 
Mr. C. Gelderd "aka GelNerd" (Basingstoke, UK) - See all my reviews
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Eastwood returns to the genre that defined him in what could be seen as an homage to his ‘Dollar’ character, the man with no name. It would be nearly 7 years after that Eastwood returned to the Western with ‘Unforgiven’. This remains my favourite of his Western films as it looks to be the one Eastwood had most fun with. It’s not a story line that feels recycled or boring, even though the idea may have been done dozens of times before.

However it’s the characters that fill the screen that make this an enjoyable romp in the Old West. From the likeable miners led by an even more likeable Michael Moriarty, you instantly feel for their plight and are on side with who is good and who is bad. The good guys are easy to watch and relate to, and the bad guys are slimy, violent and easy to hate as they bully and blast their way in a motive fuelled by greed.

Christopher Penn and Richard Kiel are a great pair of thugs who enforce the rules of Lahood by way of pillaging and bullying, but Kiel gives great comedic moments and a powerful turning point when Penn’s character goes too far in sending Hull a message by way of his young step-daughter to be, Megan, played tenderly and powerfully by the beautiful Sydney Penny.

Eastwood lets the characters develop and shine as they escalate from simple shows of force to all out murder when the evil Stockburn arrives, played with great casual menace by John Russell. It’s Stockburn and his deputies who are an iconic tool for this film, doing nothing but delivering great violence and intimidation from their arrival and appear as a classic set of Western villains.

The landscapes look wonderful from under the harsh baking sun to the cool crisp snow, and Eastwood uses all locations to their greatest advantage to portray a real working environment, full of operations mines and dig sites which give this a feel of how the people of the 1800s worked for a living in America, rather than just shacked up in saloons and barbershops (both of which do appear here of course, but not for long).

Clint’s character, the mysterious Preacher, is one of his best. He’s smart, quick witted and deeply sincere and good natured. We have a few hidden demons of course to give the character some depth as we discover what makes him tick, but he’s not torn between the morals of good and evil; he simply is on the side of good and knows what evil looks like and does what he has to in order to repel it and protect the innocent. A very likeable and clever character who gives us a real cat-and-mouse finale in the town of Lahood with the battle between Stockburn and his men. It’s brutal and brilliant.

Another classic from an auteur at the top of his game here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 15 Feb 2012
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Mr. Rfarrell (England UK) - See all my reviews
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This one of my favorite Clint Eastwood films & the blu ray conversion is stunning. Highly recommend for anyone's collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mysterious stranger rides into town..., 16 July 2009
This review is from: Pale Rider [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
...that line could apply to almost any Clint Eastwood western, and admittedly there's not a great deal of originality here, it almost seems that Eastwood is sending himself up, or perhaps he knows his limitations and what he's best at. If that's the case, he's succeeded as no one, I mean NO ONE, can play this sort of role as well as Eastwood can. It's quite reminiscent of his earlier High Plains Drifter, with the 'mysterious stranger' being an almost (if not literal) supernatural figure, and there are more than a few hints that that is what he is. I thnk Eastwood's preacher is almost like a more saintly version of his darker character from High Plains Drifter (perhaps they're one and the same, and he has progressed since the earlier film?) Or maybe he's even the same character who was in his classic spaghetti westerns, now some supernatural wandering avenger? Who knows? Anyway, the film is one of his most entertaining westerns, you know how it'll end but the fun is seeing all the bad guys getting their butts kicked by the super-cool Eastwood. Fine acting throughout, with a great period feel and a great shoot-out climax.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'and behold........a pale horse'., 11 April 2009
This review is from: Pale Rider [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
A superb western from Clint Eastwood, his first since the phenominally successful and critically acclaimed 'The Outlaw Josey Wales'.

This piece is as others have pointed out is a similar tale to 'Shane' but grittier and without the buckskin duds. Clint gives us his usual hero/anti-hero with a mythical edge remeniscent of 'High Plains Drifter'. Eastwood's cast once again shine and give the movie such believability that you can almost smell the Hickory. It has all the elements you want from a modern western and is thoroughly entertaining to boot. The great John Russell appears as Marshall Stockburn in his penultimate film. You just gotta have this in yer collection.

Eastwood gets behind the camera, then steps in front of it and Hell follows with him. Adios.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars spectre protector of gold prospectors, 16 Mar 2013
By 
Arch Stanton (Cornwall, England.) - See all my reviews
A rich land baron, who's into his mining, falls out with a ragtag bunch of gold prospecting settlers during a dispute over land claims. After implementing some strong arm tactics, a mysterious preacher shows up and sides with the meek, causing the mining baddies no end of problems with the settlers' renewed spirit. Eventually though the mining boss gets fed up and calls in a vicious and corrupt Marshall along with his po~faced deputies, leaving the vicar no choice other than to bash more than his bible..
Sadly not one of Clint's better westerns this one. The scenery is nice and some of the action is good, with a solid, haunting, supernatural feel in a few places, but unfortunately its just not dangerous or atmospheric enough, with the supernatural edge giving way far too often to a 'Little House on the Morality Prairie' vibe that didn't work for me. There's nowhere near enough bloodshed or meanness and a lot of the scripting and humour is predictable and dull.
Don't get me wrong, Clint plays his usual tough, scarred stranger persona and because of that, this is superior to many westerns (he is, after all, the main reason to watch this!) but if you compare this to the likes of ...Josey Wales, The Unforgiven, the 'Dollars' trilogy and High Plains Drifter, to which it bears many resemblances, there is no comparison. Hats off however to the support cast, as with the likes of a young Penn, Snodgress (good in Murphy's law too) and Moriarty, as is usual, they do a decent job.
The bluray looks good enough, no major complaints but for the fact that it's the kind of film they surely could have made look spectacular?!
All round, Pale Rider is a decent enough attempt but don't be fooled into thinking this is a classic, because in my opinion it isn't and scored against its peers I would only award it 3.25/5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pale rider, 12 July 2012
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clints next western after josey wales, film was not quite as good as josey wales but was
still a great film to watch and the transfer to blu ray was very good
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluray..., 18 Mar 2012
By 
Mark A. Streets (Derby. UK) - See all my reviews
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...looks as it should, dark and brooding, sometimes annoyingly so, but this is how I remember it from the cinema, back in the day...as they say. Occasionally, the image goes soft, especially in some of the darkest scenes. On the whole a good transfer and a damned fine piece of hickory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The man with no name, 9 Jan 2009
This review is from: Pale Rider [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
In Westerns, Clint Eastwood is a true player, though I think he must have had his toungue in cheek a lot. I love the metaphysical hints in the plot, the flirting with biblical identity, his version of upholding the honour and "code" of the West as a man-of-the-cloth/gunslinger, both of whom bear the Eastwood Curse of always being attractive to women!
He pushed the envelope in this brazen variation of Shane and although it was made in 1985, I'd say it was really more of a '70s movie in some regards, but that's part of its appeal. Eastwood is a good filmmaker and a tiny bit mischevious. I'm a lover of Westerns, and this one is certainly in my top ten. An enjoyable move that gets better with time and perspective.
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Pale Rider [1985] [DVD]
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