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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Henry King started directing films in 1916 with "Who Pays" and made his last "Tender is the Night" in 1962. This is a tribute to his durability in a tough industry. Sadly most of his films are very fogettable affairs indeed. But he did make two startlingly good films. "Twelve o Clock High"(49) and "The Gunfighter"(50). He also made the very interesting "The Bravados"(59) a dark story of revenge. All these films starred Gregory Peck. My Mother would cite "Love is a Many splendoured Thing" as a King classic, but I would not recommend you watch it to find out.

In "The Bravados" Gregory Peck plays rancher Jim Douglas who has been hunting four outlaws who murdered and raped his wife for the past 6 months. He finds them in a town just as they are about to be hung for other depredations. Whilst he is waiting to see them hang they escape and he once again sets off in vengeful pursuit hell bent on killing them all. In one case the man begs for mercy but finds none. The vengeance in Jims heart gradually turns him into a monster no better than the men he pursues. There is an intelligent twist to the story in the films finale, when the horror of becoming your own judge, jury and executioner, is brought emphatically home.

The film bears similarities to that quite brilliant film starring Henry Fonda "The Ox Bow incident" (43) which is the story of an innocent group of cowboys that are lynched by a mob. A film that flopped miserably at the box Office. War time audiences needed something more optimistic to watch than cowboys being lynched. It was also an important influence on Segio Leone's "For a Few Dollars More" (65). "The Bravados" has a very strong cast which helps the film immeasurably. Irishman Stephen Boyd is excellent as one of the outlaws and Henry Silva also stands out. Lee Van Cleef throws in another Western turn, and Joan Collins in an odd piece of casting provides the female interest. No this is not a classic in the vein of "The Searchers" or "The Wild Bunch" but it is a very good film. It is a moral fable for our times and has not dated. Highly recommended.
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Through the history of film there have been a few classic pairings of director and actor that have produced some out and out great films - Anthony Mann/James Stewart, John Huston/Humphrey Bogart, John Ford/John Wayne for example. I would humbly add Henry King/Gregory Peck to that list.

Though (as far as I know) they only made three films together, The Gunfighter, Twelve O'Clock High and Bravados, all three stand as some of the best work in the canon of either man, and all three were great movies that had that extra something that set them apart from the herd.

Contains spoilers. Bravados is one of those morally complex tales that Peck acted so well. Jim Douglas rides into town to witness the execution of four men he has never met. The men escape, and Douglas aids the posse to bring them in. But it turns out Douglas is determined that he will be the one to visit doom upon them, relentlessly hunting the four down. Along the way his back story, and the reasons for his pursuit and vengeance are slowly revealed, and we are rooting for the man as he does what is right. But in a final twist it transpires that he has no personal reason to hate the men he has killed, and he is left looking for redemption for what he has done in pursuit of his misplaced vengeance.

Peck brings a total commitment and intensity to the role of Douglas. It would be so easy to make yet another `Good guys/bad guys' western, but the examination of just what is right and wrong, with the possibility that the hero has made a dreadful mistake, really lifts this to another level. Fundamentally nice guy Peck displays all the qualities of the hero, and the anguish upon his realisation of his mistake, to a tee in one of his best performances. Look out for an excellent early supporting role from Lee Van Cleef as one of the bad guys. Most of the other supporting actors acquit themselves well, though none can compete with Peck on the screen. The weakest link is the over rated Joan Collins as a possible love interest, her character feels shoehorned in, and her performance is a bit uncomfortable.

This Studio Classics release from Fox is pretty good, with an excellent transfer and picture quality. I have been impressed with all the DVD's I have had from this range. Highly recommended purchase to those who like action and a bit of thought provoking. 5 stars.
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on 4 April 2014
Henry King may be the most quintessentially American of American filmmakers. Compared to the likes of the stylized extrovert John Ford, King is a straightforward director and, therefore, remains one of the underrated American symphonists (putting him in good company with forever underrated fellow American symphonists, such as David Diamond and Paul Creston). Twelve O’ Clock High (1949), The Gunfighter (1950) and The Bravados (1958) are all integral canvases of the American frontier landscape that King made with Gregory Peck, yet the latter two languish in near obscurity.

King often directed Peck, and in Peck King had his best collaborator. Gregory Peck was the real deal. With Peck, one does not have to separate the artist or the persona from the actual person (as we have to do with John Wayne). Gregory Peck fit the bill of integrity and nobility on and off-screen and, thus, personifies the best and most honestly masculine qualities in the Western (which, along with jazz, is one of the two great American art forms).

Together, King and Peck vividly imprinted these qualities into each film without flinching from the flaws, warts and frailties which flesh out and give resonance to well-rounded characters. King and Peck had created their previous Western, The Gunfighter, eight years earlier. That is a film which deserves all the accolades it has received. The Bravados has less of a reputation. It is a very different film than The Gunfighter, yet it deserve a wider audience. While The Gunfighter was shot in stark black and white, in color The Bravados benefits greatly from cinematographer Leon Shamroy’s sense of composition and use of ethereal blue filters.

The Bravados, at first, seems to be another standard revenge film, but it is the juxtaposition of faith and violence that gives this film its tense individuality. Here again, we have the authenticity of Peck, the man of a deep Catholic faith that informs his role, imbuing it with a striking intensity. Peck conveys emotions with expert skill, acting with his eyes and an internal hesitancy. He stops short of speaking several times. Peck makes this a remarkable role.

Then, in direct contrast, is Joan Collins. Playing the old flame, Collins was still fairly early in her career, and it shows. Despite her reputation, Collins did eventually sharpen her acting skills considerably, but that improvement is not yet in evidence here. In several scenes, such as her initial reunion with Peck, discovering his past via a local priest, or pleading with him to take revenge, Collins is stiff. Her part is also underwritten and awkward, rendering her mostly decor, a role she does succeed in filling out. Still, Peck’s attraction to her never registers.

Future Stooge Joe DeRita is quite good in his eccentric characterization. His is a small role, but he fleshes it out with personality, making one wish he had gone this route instead. Of the four antagonists, only Stephen Boyd and Henry Silva have any real personality. Boyd is a real, slimy threat. Silva is admirably restrained when face-to-face with his hunter.

The shifting landscapes make for interesting expressionist parallels. The rugged, rocky canyon terrain gives way to an ominous forest in which Peck both murders and escapes murder. A waterfall provides temporary sustenance. A small, claustrophobic cabin houses the ugly, terrible truth. The unrealistically large Catholic parish contains the vast possibilities of sanctuary and redemption, but that is only reached after revelation at the home of the good thief, where Peck meets surprising hospitality and familiarity.

The Bravados is a harsh, brooding, tautly paced example of the 1950s western at its most adult. Despite some minor flaws, it is a stand-out in its genre, during a great decade.
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on 22 December 2006
This is defenetly a contender for top ten westens of all time it is realy is a brilliant film Greogry peck as jim douglas this picture all so stars steven boyd and Lee Van Cleff the film is about 93 minutes long which is good timeingbecuase the movie never drags on and this film all so with its shock ending.

I recomomend you get this film with the gregoy peck boxset which includes the gunfighter another great westen.
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on 18 February 2010
The Bravados is a good film starring Gregory Peck as a man seeking revenge for the murder of his wife. Although in many ways it has a similar basic plot to many other Westerns, the twist in the story at the end combined with a good performance by Gregory Peck, in which he is in many ways playing against type makes this more than just your average Western. All in all a good film.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 June 2016
Four DETERMINED Stars! Gregory Peck is Douglass who arrives in Rio Arriba to watch a hanging, but things are not what they seem. Before long, Douglass and a posse are in pursuit of four desperados, but twists and surprises lay ahead for Douglass and the fugitives. Starring an outstanding cast of Peck, Joan Collins, Stephen Boyd, Albert Salmi, Henry Silva, Kathleen Gallant, Barry Coe, Andrew Duggan, and Lee Van Cleef. Directed by Henry King. It proceeds at a plodding pace with a few rough spots, but the end is worth it. Very Definitely Recommended. Four CAUTIONARY Stars. (20th Century Fox. Rated PG. Color. HD. CC. Time-1:37:47.)
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on 1 June 2009
Even before spaghetti westerns, some gritty teeth-kickers were produced by the studios.
This one stars Gregory Peck, whose character fits his part well enough.
The story has the ring of basis on a historical series of events, where brash careless bravados robbed and ran and robbed again, and looked up to the hangman's noose whenever they got caught.
Not one of the characters is a hero, and none of them are out-and-out evil-doers, but the law of the gun always speaks loudest in the most skilful of hands.
If the film had just told the story, I would have given it 5 stars, but in those days the studios always had to append a moral/religious message, which succeeds in diluting the overall impact of the film.
I found some matters of detail to quibble about, but overall the story held together well enough.
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on 13 July 2014
It is an excellent film. Although I had seen it before at the cinema, I needed a personal copy so that I can see it whenever I want. Nevertheless it has always been a favourite of mine.
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This is a good Gregory Peck Western. The story line is sort of familar, the wronged man hunting down his wife's killers. As usual Gregory Peck puts in a good performace. I like westerns and nearly gave this 5 stars

as I sort of worked out the ending and there is an odd love interest - just 4 stars. But still a good film.
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on 15 February 2015
I liked this film very much I am not going to tell you the plot has it has a twist in tale ,and I think it would spoil it for anyone who has not seen it before
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