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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Falls just short of greatness
This could have been a great film but, for a number of reasons, it falls just short of greatness, being a good rather than a classic western.

It certainly seems extremely authentic in costume, weaponry etc and the countryside is well filmed with the long sweeping shots that remind me of many previous, well loved westerns. The action is also well handled and...
Published on 1 July 2009 by D.Buttery

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wes
Walter Hill strikes me as the modern day equivalent of Robert Aldrich - his films are tough, unsentimental and usually pretty violent. I wonder how much he had to do with the casting in this film. Wes Studi is superb as Geronimo - as are Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman as his white adversaries. Unfortunately, as has been noted in the previous reviews, there's far too...
Published on 20 Dec 2009 by A. Willard


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Falls just short of greatness, 1 July 2009
By 
D.Buttery (Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Geronimo - An American Legend [DVD] (DVD)
This could have been a great film but, for a number of reasons, it falls just short of greatness, being a good rather than a classic western.

It certainly seems extremely authentic in costume, weaponry etc and the countryside is well filmed with the long sweeping shots that remind me of many previous, well loved westerns. The action is also well handled and fairly realistic.

Wes Studi makes a very impressive and credible Geronimo. It's about the best depiction of him that I've ever seen. The only trouble is, we don't see enough of him, getting more of Patric and Damon instead. Their stories are interesting but this is supposed to be a film about Geronimo after all.

We have some good performances here in supporting roles with Robert Duval and Gene Hackman as reliable as ever. It was good to see characters who couldn't make their minds up about the Apache as well as the hardline extremists in this film. Robert Duval's character is a good example of this, half hating and half admiring his long term adversaries.

The Apaches are represented fairly well but Wes Studi gives the most memorable performance by far as you'd expect. I am glad that this film doesn't shy away from depicting atrocities committed by both sides and, while the Apache are certainly depicted as the main victims, this film is reasonably even handed in its approach. That said, the Mexicans don't get much of a look in and the majority of the fighting Geronimo was involved with was against them. After all, Geronimo is his Spanish name as this film reveals.

As another reviewer pointed out, I noticed a few homages to the Magnificent Seven and Ulzana's Raid. This is a shame in many ways as a film ought to be able to stand on its own and not 'borrow' from others.

Overall this is an enjoyable film and even thought provoking in places. I couldn't fault its historical accuracy either. If the script had stayed with the Apaches a little longer, it might have been even better.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent with sincere performances, 6 Oct 2002
By A Customer
A western for grown-ups. By that I mean it treats the Native Americans with respect and honour, but doesn't demonise all of the white Americans as rapacious, mercenary fools. Sure, there are plenty of those in the film, but they're not stereotypes - rather they are there to explain the motivation for the US Government and the settlers, miners and (appallingly) the bounty hunters. The performances - to my naive eyes at least - were convincing and honest. In particular, Robert Duvall portrays his character very well with all the ambivalent attitude towards the Native Americans one would expect of a jaundiced old "Indian fighter". Wes Studi has an intensity in the role of Geronimo that conveys his character's humanity, self-belief and intelligence. Jason Patric is believable as the honourable army officer and Gene Hackman, as always, is 100% value-for-money as the (enlightened for his time) general.
If you want a shoot-them-up, gung-ho western, forget it, but if you want an interesting, intelligent and sincere perspective on the end of an era, then have a look at this movie.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "No guns, No bullets could ever kill me. That was my power... Now my time is over.", 1 Nov 2008
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Geronimo - An American Legend [DVD] (DVD)
There's a lot wrong with Walter Hill's Geronimo: An American Legend. For a start, there's far too little of the magnificent Wes Studi and far too much of the unconvincingly one-note (and an off-key note at that) Jason Patric and a milquetoast Matt Damon when we want to spend more time with Geronimo. As John Milius said, "I wrote a script about a mighty warrior chief. They made a film about a ***king white male model." Not to mention film critic Larry Gross' rewrite is overly partial to other movies, particularly The Magnificent Seven and Alan Sharp's script for Ulzana's Raid. And, like all historical manhunt movies, it winds down as attrition wins over courage. Yet despite its flaws it's still one of the most impressive American Westerns of the past few decades.

Geronimo may be sidelined for much of the picture, but when Wes Studi is allowed centerstage, he burns with the intensity of a supernova in a performance at once ferocious yet controlled, giving a sense not just of the rage and calculated violence but of the sadness that drives it. He's a proud man, but also a constantly disappointed one. When he's on screen, everyone else might as well not be there. When he isn't, Gene Hackman's General Crook and Robert Duvall's tracker Al Sieber provide enough believable old-school professionalism to compensate for Patric and Damon.

Then there's the film's extraordinary visual sense. Unlike most modern films (including Hill's own subsequent Western, Wild Bill) it really embraces the landscape and isn't afraid of strikingly composed extreme long shots to give a real sense of scale to the picture. Ry Cooder's score, a mixture of sparse and plaintiff Native American airs and lightly ragged American hymnals, is another major feather in its cap: on paper it sounds like cliché, but put to picture it's absolutely right.

It's perhaps easy to see why it flopped: it's a tragic story without any winners, only losers and the action scenes are often more brutal lightening strikes than enjoyable action setpieces. But it's certainly a film well worth rediscovering even if it's better seen on the big screen than the small one.

Unlike their panned-and-scanned region 1 NTSC release, Columbia's DVD has a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with a trailer the only extra.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A historically accurate film of the last Apache, 28 Jan 2008
This review is from: Geronimo - An American Legend [DVD] (DVD)
I have discovered this film very lately. The cast is very powerful and the Apache legend Geronimo is played by Wes Studi who acts brilliantly. The life of the Apaches is pictured in a realistic way. The US Government's Indian policy towards the real landowners is shocking. The Apache can not understand why he has to move elsewhere leaving his territory to the White men. Then he takes up arms against Government. Of course the historical development of capitalism stops at no barrier getting away with local cultures, destroying their livelihood, committing incredible crimes aganist humanity. Gene Hackman portrays a general caught between his feelings and the duties placed upon him by the Army.A sad end awaits Geronimo and his friends as they lay their arms after years of fighting. The most devatated ones are the Apaches who betrayed their own people to help the US Army. The Army no longer needs them and they are forced to join their Apache people in the open air prisons.We need to mention the local civilian cowboys who massacre the helpless Indian women and children for the killing's sake. Robert Duvall portrays a famous Apache hunter whose name has to be forgotten.All in all a good film worth watching.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive and Very Underrated Western, 26 Mar 2009
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"Geronimo" directed by Walter Hill is a very underrated Western. The film died at the box office which was a cruel injustice. The film is based on true events but actually plays havoc with history, which brings a ring of truth to the legend in the title. But entertaining the public is not all about historical accurracy.

The film opens in 1885 when Geronimo last of the famous Apache leaders played by Wes Studi, is sent to a reservation with his followers. But due to broken promises, corruption and violence he jumps ship together with a small band. He then heads to his desert fastness toying with General Crook and his troops sent to recapture him. The Apache were noted as the greatest Guerilla fighters in history and that is authentically portrayed. Crook in desperation calls on a smaller group of more experienced men. This includes Lt Charles Gatewood a Southern gentleman who is sympathetic to the plight of the Apache and Al Sieber a grizzled old scout. Eventually Geronimo is recaptured after much negotiation. A mutual respect is forged between Gatewood and Geronimo.

The film is handsome to look at being filmed in Moab, Utah which was the location beloved of John Ford who made "Rio Grande" and "Cheyenne Autumn" in that same place. Wes Studi cuts a fine figure as Geronimo and gives him an air of nobility he perhaps did not deserve. The real Geronimo was not impressive to look at, but he was one tough Hombre. It must not be forgotten that his band murdered wantonly and mercilessly. Sometimes just for amusement. Jason Patric is good as Gatewood and Robert Duvall excellent as ever as Sieber, a role he was born for. Gene Hackman plays General Crook in a very impressive American cast. Matt Damon also turns up as the decent young Officer who narrates the story. The solid screenplay was written by the prolific and respected John Milius. Ry Cooders musical score was not liked by everyone but I loved it. The film has been accused of being politically correct in its treatment of the native American. Although there is some truth to this it perhaps redresses the balance a bit from all those earlier films where they were portrayed in a very different light. Overall this is a very impressive Western that deserves to be much better known. I have a feeling that in time it will be!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Geronimo, 20 July 2010
This review is from: Geronimo - An American Legend [DVD] (DVD)
One of the finest Westerns ever made,the dialogue is taken from actual recorded conversations and the characters actually took part in Geronimo's surrender. The seuence of events are accurate too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good and thought-provoking western., 4 July 2010
By 
Ernie (Kent) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Geronimo - An American Legend [DVD] (DVD)
Based on a true story, Geronimo revolves around the character of Lieutenant Britton Davis, a young rookie officer who is sent along with another officer and an old army scout to track down the Indian warrior Geronimo and bring him and his people to live on a government approved reservation. After Geronimo and others become restless and leave the reservation to claim back their land Davis is again sent off to bring back the warrior, though what should be a simple task soon develops into bloodshed in which Davis questions the morality of his own governments actions.
The acting is great, the story holds your attention throughout and Geronimo's tale is told in a a sympathetic and thought provoking way. If you enjoy this you should also check out the excellent 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee' and `Broken Trail'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wes, 20 Dec 2009
By 
A. Willard (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Geronimo - An American Legend [DVD] (DVD)
Walter Hill strikes me as the modern day equivalent of Robert Aldrich - his films are tough, unsentimental and usually pretty violent. I wonder how much he had to do with the casting in this film. Wes Studi is superb as Geronimo - as are Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman as his white adversaries. Unfortunately, as has been noted in the previous reviews, there's far too little of them and far too much of Jason Patric and Matt Damon as sympathetic and, frankly, rather annoying Cavalry officers sent out to bring Geronimo back to the reservation.

Again, as has been previously noted, there's bits of Aldrich's far superior `Ulzana's Raid' in here as well. I bet Hill would much rather have made a film like that.

The action scenes are terrific as you would expect, and the score from Hill regular Ry Cooder is as good as ever - but there's just too little of Geronimo and just too much of Patric's `Ahm from Verginya'.

File under `could've been a great film' - still better than the Chuck Connors version though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A terrific western,but falls short of Duvall's best, 20 Sep 2013
By 
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Outstanding role by Wes Studi as the rebel and thorn in the US army's side,Geronimo.
An exciting,loosely fact-based account of his conflict with the people and law enforcement forces of South West America which boasts good performances from Duvall,Hackman,Patric and an up-and-coming Matt Damon.
Duvall steals the film for me,but his experianced old campaigner wasn't as good as in Open Range [DVD] [2004] or Broken Trail [DVD].
But that's not a critism as he was so superb in both.Here he blends into the background,allowing the story to take prominence.
A great story often ignored by the American public.If they watch this film today they will understand why Bin Laden was code named Geronimo, Public Enemy No 1.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Geronimo Solemnity, 31 July 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Geronimo: An American Legend is directed by Walter Hill and written by John Milius. It stars Wes Studi, Jason Patric, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Matt Damon and Pato Hoffman. Music is by Ry Cooder and cinematography by Lloyd Ahern. Story tells of what led Geronimo to being the most wanted Apache warrior on the American Government list, and his subsequent capture/surrender in 1886.

Walter Hill takes his Westerns seriously, striving for authenticity in look, feel and narrative. He achieves all of these in Geronimo, only that this is hardly a biography of Geronimo the man. Film chronicles the great Apache leader courtesy of the memoirs of one of the cavalrymen who hunted him down, this thread is surrounded by historical points of worth such as land rights, the changing of the West, cultural clashes, racism and etc. Add in some lush Utah photography, traditional Western staples such as horseback chases, fights and shootouts, and it's just under two hours of good Western movie entertainment. But the screenplay doesn't open up Geronimo the man, in fact not really affording the excellent Studi (Geronimo) all that much screen time in the process. Film would have been better titled as Geronimo, Charles B. Gatewood (Patric) and Britton Davis (Damon), since the latter two are dealt with as much as the Apache warrior is.

It's a good film that only deals in under two years of the Geronimo Campaign. Yes it redresses the balance by attempting to show both sides of the coin, and for sure it isn't found wanting for accuracy. But under developing the title character is a major problem. This should have been much, much better and leaves us still waiting for a definitive Geronimo story. 6/10
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