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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chisum, John Chisum
Although it's perhaps not in the same class as The Searchers or Rio Bravo, this is still one of the Duke's better westerns.

Most of the classic western ingredients are here: broody young gunslingers, stampedes, posses, brawls, wagon trains etc. It's good fun for all ages.

The picture has slight grain and a few speckles in a few scenes. But it...
Published on 19 Oct. 2007 by Film Buff

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We've been along this trail before !
This Wayne western is easy to watch and easy to forget. We've been along this trail many a time. Enjoyable as it is - and Wayne is always worth a look whatever he's up to - there's not a lot here that we fans have'nt seen before. Here we have a regular theme, feuding between cattle barons. Not a lot thats new there ! What is new is that Wayne enlists the help of no...
Published on 31 May 2009 by DoDo Fan


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chisum, John Chisum, 19 Oct. 2007
By 
Film Buff (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
Although it's perhaps not in the same class as The Searchers or Rio Bravo, this is still one of the Duke's better westerns.

Most of the classic western ingredients are here: broody young gunslingers, stampedes, posses, brawls, wagon trains etc. It's good fun for all ages.

The picture has slight grain and a few speckles in a few scenes. But it shouldn't spoil your enjoyment.

In fact, considering the age of the film, the picture quality is probably as good as can be expected with vivid colours and a sharp picture (I suspect a lot of effort went into cleaning it up)

The mono soundtrack is a slight disappointment. As the film's rousing score would have benefited from a 5.1 mix. But it is a good mono mix, with lots going on, clear speech and no hiss or crackles that I noticed.

The extras are minimal, but considering the low price of the DVD and the fact that most of the cast are dead, this is probably nit picking.

Overall, this is a worthwhile purchase for any John Wayne or western fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chisum, John Chisum!, 25 Nov. 2010
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
Chisum is directed by Andrew McLaglen, written & produced by Andrew J. Fenady, and stars John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Ben Johnson, Geoffrey Deuel, Bruce Cabot, Andrew Prine & Richard Jaeckel. Primary location for the shoot was at Durango in Mexico; with William H. Clothier photographing, and Dominic Frontiere provides the musical score.

Film is very loosely based on events and characters from the Lincoln County War of 1878 in New Mexico Territory. Which involved such characters like Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, John Tunstall, Alexander McSween and others.

Hollywoodisation of the Lincoln County War and Billy the Kid mythology, Chisum is a fun and colourful movie. Tho not necessarily a John Wayne movie. Wayne may be the draw card here, and sure enough the political leanings of the narrative and iconography of the lead character; point to it being a big Duke Wayne vehicle. Yet he's very much just an ensemble character, even on the periphery of things as the multi plot strands weave in and out of the story. But the film survives not over using the big man thanks to McLagen's brisk direction and Clothier's superb capturing of the Durango vistas. The cast have fun, and thankfully the big action pay off at the finale is well worth waiting for (cattle stampede-hooray!).

Big and brash for sure, even hokey into the bargain, but undeniably great entertainment for the undemanding Western fan. 7/10
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We've been along this trail before !, 31 May 2009
By 
This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
This Wayne western is easy to watch and easy to forget. We've been along this trail many a time. Enjoyable as it is - and Wayne is always worth a look whatever he's up to - there's not a lot here that we fans have'nt seen before. Here we have a regular theme, feuding between cattle barons. Not a lot thats new there ! What is new is that Wayne enlists the help of no less that Pat Garrett and William Bonny (Billy the kid) to help straighten matters out! Always useful to be in touch with influential people! This is an easy on the eye movie in the the Ford manner, though this one is not directed by him. There's a decent cast too, including of course Ben Johnson whose attendance is almost mandatory in a Wayne western. A couple of the Mitchum boys (sons of Robert) are also credited with minor parts. 'Chisum' is a pleasant, colourful well produced movie that contains all the usual clichés. It's not one of Wayne's best efforts but it's certainly not one of his worst. The film is not in the same league as 'The Searchers' or 'Rio Bravo' and it's a tad on the long side but what the hec - it's the Duke !
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Mr Chisum, it is you and Murphy, head-to-head, horn-to-horn, and one has got to lose, so the other one gets the whole shebang", 5 Nov. 2013
By 
Darth Maciek "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
This is a good, solid western, still very pleasant to watch, even if it is not amongst Duke's best films. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS.

1. The real story.

This film, as many other westerns before and since, was inspired by the arch(in)famous and tragic confrontation between two groups of cattle barons known as Lincoln County War, which took place in the New Mexico Territory between February and July 1878. The real John Chisum, a wealthy ranch owner, was the main leader of one of the hostile factions, with a recent English immigrant John Tunstall and a young attorney Alexander McSween - together they tried to extend their cattle ranch business and also create a local bank and a large general store. All this was viewed with considerable hostility by two local strongmen, Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan, who until then operated the only bank and large store in the whole county and also traded in cattle - the county sheriff, William Brady, was also their man. Murphy's and Dolan monopoly on local economic activity was resented by many and the arrival of the competition in 1876 was mostly welcomed by the residents of Lincoln County.

Both sides launched quickly all kind of civil actions and also started to file various criminal complaints. Both sides also recruited some more or less shady characters to reinforce the security of their herds and buildings. Amongst those recruited by John Tunstall was a certain William Henry McCarty, a slightly mentally challenged 18-years old horse thief and cattle rustler. McCarty in this time used the alias "William Bonney" and there were rumors that he have killed a man in a gunfight couple of years earlier, but he was not at that time a wanted man. Young "Bonney" looked even younger than he was, so older cowboys called him "Billy the Kid"...

Even if some of Tunstall, McSween and Chisum cowboys, like Doc Scurlock, Jose Chavez, Henry N. Brown and brothers Frank and George Coe, were suspicious characters, it was the other side who hired REAL bandits, no more for security, but for more sinister purposes. Murphy, Dolan and sheriff Brady recruited known murderers and wanted men from notorious outlaw bands like Seven River Warriors, Rio Grande Posse and Jesse Evans Gang. Once those men arrived and were paid, the shooting phase of conflict began, with the murder of John Tunstall, who was travelling unarmed and alone, by Jesse Evans and two of his henchmen, William Morton and Tom Hill, on 18 February 1878.

Chisum and McSween riposted by forming their men in a militia called "Regulators" under the command of their foreman Richard Brewer, a man experienced in tracking cattle rustlers and horse thieves - and who also most probably discretly hanged or shot a couple of those whom he caught. Once formed and armed the "Regulators" went after Murphy and Dolan's bandits.

John Tunstall's murder was followed by numerous gunfights, each more intense than the previous, until finally US Cavalry arrived and put an end to the conflict - but even then it took actually ARTILLERY to force the issue! In all the incidents which followed Tunstall's murder no less than 21 people lost their lives, including McSween, sheriff Brady, Richard Brewer and two out of three Tunstall's killers, Morton and Hill (Jesse Evans however survived).

The presence of federal troops was not the only factor which contributed to the end of this conflict - Lawrence Murphy, whose health was already declining became very ill in the summer of 1878 and died in October of the same year, most probably from cancer. That left only Chisum and Dolan standing - and after burying so many of their associates they mostly lost any taste for further fighting.

The bandits hired by Murphy and Dolan left for the wilderness to carry on their usual activities and quite a lot of them died in following years, killed by sheriffs or by other bandits. The "Regulators" also had to hide from the law, because even if sheriff Brady was nothing else than a thug with a badge, in the eyes of the authorities his killing had still to be severely punished. Most of them turned finally also to banditry and ended badly, like "Billy the Kid" himself, killed in 1881 by the notorious gunman turned sheriff, Pat Garrett.

2. The film.

As in all the films about this famous feud, things were greatly modified here to suit the needs of the scenario and the vision of the director. Chisum (John Wayne), Tunstall (Patrick Knowles) and McSween (Andrew Prine) are portrayed as being clearly the good guys, when Lawrence Murphy (Forest Tucker) is clearly ZE BIG BAD VILLAIN. In the real story John Tunstall was barely 24 when he was murdered - here he is played by a 57 years old actor and his first name was for some reason changed from John to Henry... Also, the character of James Dolan (Edward Faulkner) was relegated to the status of marginally important sidekick.

Other serious changes concern two amongst the most famous characters from Wild West lore. Billy the Kid (Geoffrey Deuel) is shown here as an already legendary killer, BEFORE the Lincoln County War began, when in the real life he was at the beginning of 1878 just a regular cowboy guy, with a somehow shady past, known mostly for his childish looks, a good skill with the revolver but also a certain slowness of mind... As in most of the films about Billy the Kid, this character is also shown as much brighter and charismatic than he was in the real life. Pat Garrett (Glenn Corbett) plays a very important role in the film, as one of Chisum's "Regulators" - when in the real history he was absolutely NOT involved in the Lincoln County War.

The character of Jess Evans is played by Richard Jaeckel, an actor mostly known for his role of Sergent Bowren in "Dirty Dozen" and he is a really nasty villain - but his character was also changed and we are said that he rode with Billy the Kid in the past in the same gang, something which absolutely DIDN'T happen in the real life. Also Evans henchmen during the murder of Tunstall, which started the whole confrontation, are called Morton and Baker, rather than Morton and Hill.

Finally, there is an extra villain introduced amongst Murphy's killers, a certain Dan Nodeen (Christopher George), who was once lamed by Billy the Kid and wants revenge. No such person was involved in those events, however this guy replaces somehow the bandit John Kinney, whose important character is absent from the story - and also I must say that Dan Nodeen is a really frightening dude and therefore this limping brutish thug is a VERY successful villain!

This may not be the best of John Wayne's westerns, but I really liked it. Dialogs and action scenes are good and the music is excellent, with the title song being particularly good.

Bottom line, this is a really good western and a darn good watch! To buy, watch and keep! Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Billy the Kid in the Lincoln County War, 21 Aug. 2014
By 
Owzat (Cyberspace) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
While it was my dad who liked Westerns, and perhaps his over-enthusiasm for rubbish like Red River and even ones I quite like, made me dislike them, they kinda grow on you.

This one I watched again last night, and interested in the story of Billy the Kid read up on him to find out more about the legend. It turns out Chisum is essentially a story about Billy the Kid as much as John Wayne's character. If you read up on Billy the Kid you'll find John Tunstall, John Chisum, Alex McSween, Pat Garrett, Jess Evans and a whole list of characters that appear in Chisum.

It's the story of a rancher who wants to avoid trouble, but a rival called Murphy is trying to achieve a monopoly of properties and businesses in the area. Murphy employs dirty tactics against Chisum's horses and cattle, provoking action including Tunstall and Chisum setting up business.

William Bonney is under the employ of Tunstall, and so in comes the story of Billy the Kid, maybe not true to the real story, but certainly still entertaining. I won't divulge any more of it, just to say it is typical John Wayne and a shame in a way the title doesn't reflect what most of it covers.

So basically enjoyable John Wayne
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another classic from "the duke", 7 Aug. 2009
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In a very busy early 70s for wayne "chisum" stands out as one of his best of this era.Wayne plays a cattle baron trying to protect his empire from a corrupt business man(james gregory).It`s a slow moving but very enjoyable western directed by the son of one wayne`s old friends,andrew v. mclaglen,and co-stars forrest tucker,christopher george and ben johnson..The extras consist of a vintage featurette "john wayne and chisum"(8:57) a trailer and best of all a commentary by the director.Great addition to any collection.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome JW Western, 9 Aug. 2000
This review is from: Chisum [VHS] [1970] (VHS Tape)
A must see! A truly classic western --A JW classic in every respect from the non stop action , a fine cast --check out the actors -wow , to the amazing Elmer Bernstein musical score. it aint a crime to be good to yourself --buy it.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT!!!!!!!!!!! NO BAD LANGUAGE, 21 May 2006
By 
This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
great easy watcing even if you are not a cowboy fan good scenery watched its at least 50 times over the past 10 years and will continue to do so its a favourite.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good old Chisum, 30 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
There isn't a lot to say about this DVD as it features good old John Wayne in wat was to become one of his most famous parts in his middle years, a lot of the films he made at this stage were made by one of his son's. This film is Chisum and has been shown a lot on TV.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars john wanye is super, 29 Jan. 2009
By 
Mr. Nicholas R. Muller (london england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chisum [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
GREAT FILM HAS MANY FUNNY BITS PLENTY OF /SHOOT UPS/ PUNCH UPS/ PRETTY LADIES/BILLY THE KID/ BASED ON A TRUE STOREY [IN PARTS] VERY GOOD EXTRAS IF YOU LIKE JOHN WAYNE OR A WESTERN LOVER THIS FILM IS FOR YOU TOP MARKS 10 OUT OF 10
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Chisum [DVD] [1970]
Chisum [DVD] [1970] by Andrew V. McLaglen (DVD - 2003)
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