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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action and Fun Aplenty.
As a piece of pure entertainment "The War Wagon" works perfectly. It is very much a feel good movie. We see the bad guys get a deserved whupping. People get shot, but there is not much blood. The Duke dominates the screen once more without really trying, and is aided an abetted by Kirk Douglas in another of his likeable rogue roles. The film is directed by Burt Kennedy,...
Published on 24 Jan 2010 by Bob Salter

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Caper Western!
Burt Kennedy one of Hollywood best western screnwrites turned director in the mid sixties and his tongue in check style is clearly in evidence in this Caper Western starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. Th eplot revolves around the highjack of a war wagon filled with gold but as usual isnt the plot that really matters in this type of film but the interaction between its...
Published on 14 Mar 2008 by websurfer


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action and Fun Aplenty., 24 Jan 2010
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The War Wagon [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
As a piece of pure entertainment "The War Wagon" works perfectly. It is very much a feel good movie. We see the bad guys get a deserved whupping. People get shot, but there is not much blood. The Duke dominates the screen once more without really trying, and is aided an abetted by Kirk Douglas in another of his likeable rogue roles. The film is directed by Burt Kennedy, who always shows a sure hand where comedy is concerned, and it abounds with good light hearted humour. The screenplay was by that stalwart writer of westerns Clair Huffaker, and everyone in the cast seems to be having a good time, and earning money doing it! The fun is infectious, and it is a film that is hard to dislike.

The story concerns John Wayne as Taw Jackson, a man who has been cheated out of his ranch and land by a double dealing villain played by Bruce Cabot. Jackson has spent three years in jail while Cabot has been mining gold from his land and making a fortune. His gold shipments are made in an armour plated stagecoach, complete with gatling gun, known as "The War Wagon" funnily enough! Jackson enlists the help of a motley assortment of characters to try the impossible, and rob the the wagon of its largest shipment. There is action aplenty, and not all our characters survive to the final scene. There is double dealing and a surprise ending.

Okay so the film is not a classic in the vein of more thought provoking films like "The Searchers", "Shane" and "The Wild Bunch". But it is great to sit down and watch with a few munchies, as what can best be described as A1 no brainer entertainment. I mean we have two great stars sharing some funny banter together. When Wayne and Douglas shoot two heavies simultaneously, Douglas declares "mine hit the ground first", and Wayne retorts "but mine was taller". Worth noting was the fact that one of the heavies is that fine actor Bruce Dern, in an all too short early appearance. He was to appear a few years later with the Duke in a larger role in the fine Mark Rydell film "The Cowboys". In addition to these two mega stars, we also unusually have Howard Keel appearing. Unusual in that he is in a straight acting role with no singing, and for the fact he plays an indian. Keenan Wynn also appears to good effect as a crooked accomplice.

If you are after a more thought provoking film with a message, then this is not he film for you. But if you want to just sit back and enjoy the fun and action, then it is good value! That gifted composer Dimitri Tiomkin provides a rousing score that picks up the films fast pace perfectly. The transfer is sharp and clear but there are no extras. It may be better value to buy as part of a collection that also includes "Rooster Cogburn" and "Tall in the Saddle". Perhaps a rather generous four stars but I couldn't help liking it! Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How are we going' to take it? With the Prussian army?, 21 Aug 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
John Wayne and Kirk Douglas appeared together in three films between 1965 and 1967. First off was "In Harm's Way" in 1965, then the ensemble picture that was "Cast a Giant Shadow" in 1966. Then came this film, their first Western, and sadly their last outing together. Sadly because The War Wagon shows a real genuine chemistry between two men who were very different socially; but on screen they clearly had regard for what each one gave to a movie. Directed by Burt Kennedy and coming out of Wayne's own Batjac Productions, The War Wagon centres around two old friends (some what grudgingly it seems) who plan to rob the vehicle of the title. An armoured stage coach, resplendent with Gatling Gun, manned front middle and centre with crack shot gunmen, and full of gold, lots of gold! Adding fuel to the fire is that the Wagon is run by a man called Frank Pierce (Bruce Cabot), who stole Taw Jackson's (Wayne) ranch as he "cough-cough" served time in jail. Further upping the intrigue is that Pierce wants to hire known gunman Lomax (Douglas) to kill Jackson, oblivious that the two men are plotting to rob him.

If that all sounds like a caper movie then you would be right, because it is, and a splendid one at that. A caper movie in a Western setting, lusciously photographed by Duke Wayne's favourite cinematographer, William H. Clothier at Durango in Mexico, and rattling along at a fair old clip. Support comes in the form of Howard Keel (a humorous turn as Indian Levi Walking Bear), Robert Walker Jr, Keenan Wynn, Valora Noland and look out for Bruce Dern in a short but effective role. We got quips aplenty as the two machismo fuelled stars play off each over with glee, we got one almighty punch up that had me personally laughing out loud and for those that like good stunt work, well we are well served there also. It's also a film to note because it sees Wayne playing a baddie, an ex convict leading an odd bunch of robbers, driven by revenge and greed. A role that by the looks of it, Wayne loved immensely. So saddle up folks, and as soon as you hear the quirky strains of Ed Ames' warbling "Ballad of The War Wagon," you should know you are in for a smashing little treat. 7/10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Action Filled Fun Fest., 24 Jan 2010
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: War Wagon (John Wayne) [DVD] (DVD)
As a piece of pure entertainment "The War Wagon" works perfectly. It is very much a feel good movie. We see the bad guys get a deserved whupping. People get shot, but there is not much blood. The Duke dominates the screen once more without really trying, and is aided an abetted by Kirk Douglas in another of his likeable rogue roles. The film is directed by Burt Kennedy, who always shows a sure hand where comedy is concerned, and it abounds with good light hearted humour. The screenplay was by that stalwart writer of westerns Clair Huffaker, and everyone in the cast seems to be having a good time, and earning money doing it! The fun is infectious, and it is a film that is hard to dislike.

The story concerns John Wayne as Taw Jackson, a man who has been cheated out of his ranch and land by a double dealing villain played by Bruce Cabot. Jackson has spent three years in jail while Cabot has been mining gold from his land and making a fortune. His gold shipments are made in an armour plated stagecoach, complete with gatling gun, known as "The War Wagon" funnily enough! Jackson enlists the help of a motley assortment of characters to try the impossible, and rob the the wagon of its largest shipment. There is action aplenty, and not all our characters survive to the final scene. There is double dealing and a surprise ending.

Okay so the film is not a classic in the vein of more thought provoking films like "The Searchers", "Shane" and "The Wild Bunch". But it is great to sit down and watch with a few munchies, as what can best be described as A1 no brainer entertainment. I mean we have two great stars sharing some funny banter together. When Wayne and Douglas shoot two heavies simultaneously, Douglas declares "mine hit the ground first", and Wayne retorts "but mine was taller". Worth noting was the fact that one of the heavies is that fine actor Bruce Dern, in an all too short early appearance. He was to appear a few years later with the Duke in a larger role in the fine Mark Rydell film "The Cowboys". In addition to these two mega stars, we also unusually have Howard Keel appearing. Unusual in that he is in a straight acting role with no singing, and for the fact he plays an indian. Keenan Wynn also appears to good effect as a crooked accomplice.

If you are after a more thought provoking film with a message, then this is not he film for you. But if you want to just sit back and enjoy the fun and action, then it is good value! That gifted composer Dimitri Tiomkin also provides a rousing score which complements the film perfectly. The transfer is sharp and clear but there are no extras. It may be better value to buy as part of a collection that also includes "Rooster Cogburn" and "Tall in the Saddle". Perhaps a rather generous four stars but I couldn't help liking it! Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A western comedy in which both John Wayne and Kirk Douglas clearly had the fun of their life...))), 8 Nov 2013
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This western/heist film made in 1967 is a pure comedy in which we can see two giants of Hollywood giving to their public all they had and could borrow, when in the same time clearly having the time of their life! Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

The film begins with the return of Taw Jackson (John Wayne) to his hometown, after serving his prison time. Jackson has a score to settle with the local strongman Frank Pierce (Bruce Cabot), who by some legal artifice stole his land years earlier - and found gold on it! To get even, Jackson decides to rob Pierce by seizing the monthly gold transport from the mine to the bank. The only problem is that the gold is carried by an armored wagon, carrying five armed guards, with a Gatling gun installed in an armored turret - and the wagon is also escorted by no less than twenty eight heavily armed riders! Now, Taw Jackson is a rather scary dude, but even for him it's a lot - so he decides to take an associate, a redoubtable gunfighter called Lomax (Kirk Douglas), who currently leases a whole floor in a Chinese operated brothel...))) The only problem is that Lomax in the past almost killed Jackson - and their relations were quite strained ever since...

That is just the beginning of the story and about the rest I will say nothing. This film is a comedy, parodying deliberately western conventions but also mocking gently some of the film noir clichés and especially all those about daring heists. Dialogs are pretty funny and sometimes really outrageously parodic - it is probably the first and only film in which the Duke calls another man "precious"...))) John Wayne and Kirk Douglas made earlier two other films together, "In harm's way" and "Cast a giant shadow" and it is clear that they had a great working relationship.

There are some very succesful secondary characters, like the young but already terminally alcoholic explosive expert Billy Hyatt (Robert Walker) and half-blood Indian and rather unsuccesful bandit Levi Walking Bear (Howard Keel). And then there is also a cute young girl named Kate (Valora Noland) who was sold to an older man as wife for twenty dollars and a horse ("My folks is poor")...

This is a nice watch, without any other ambition than to provide fun and make the public laugh - and it succeeds in it very nicely. Enjoy!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Caper Western!, 14 Mar 2008
By 
This review is from: War Wagon (John Wayne) [DVD] (DVD)
Burt Kennedy one of Hollywood best western screnwrites turned director in the mid sixties and his tongue in check style is clearly in evidence in this Caper Western starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. Th eplot revolves around the highjack of a war wagon filled with gold but as usual isnt the plot that really matters in this type of film but the interaction between its stars. Wayne and Douglas are great toguether and their rivalry is very amusing.The suporting cast is also good with Bruce Cabot as the heavy and Howard Keel as the Indian friend! This dvd edition doesnt have mucho to offer except the film itself, but since the picture is in the original format and reasonably clean and the sound is ok this migth be a good purchase for western or Wayne and Douglas aficcionados.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WAR WAGON, 8 Nov 2013
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TWO FINE ACTORS AT THEIR BEST. GOOD STORY LINE. I AM BIASED SIMPLY BECAUSE I AM A KEEN WESTERN FAN. I ONLY CHOOSE THE BEST.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War Wagon 2006 Universal release - Lighthearted and entertaining Western, 13 Jan 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: War Wagon (John Wayne) [DVD] (DVD)
Two of Hollywood's most charismatic stars, John Wayne and Kirk Douglas team up to provide as entertaining a 90 minutes as one could wish for.

The war wagon of the title is an armoured wagon full of gold that Wayne plans to steal, on the premise that it was stolen from him in the first place. To achieve his goal he needs the help of Douglas, who, in an added twist is hired by the bad guy to kill Wayne's character.

It follows the general template of most heist movies - the first half of the film is the gathering of the team and planning the job. The second half is the heist itself. There are a few twists and turns along the way that add to the fun.

There is an excellent feeling of lighthearted humour running throughout, accentuated by the easy banter between Douglas and Wayne. The two leads are at their charming, magnetic bests, and dominate the screen. The supporting cast is unusually strong, including Keenan Wynn and Howard Keel, so many of the bit parts make an impression as well, and it is this aspect that helps make the film memorable and entertaining.

The action sequences are well filmed, and the heist itself is a well thought out and well constructed set piece. Humour, action and plot development are all mixed up and evenly spaced through the film, making it a very well paced and watchable piece.

This release has a very good clean and sharp transfer, though there is the occasional scratch on the film. The soundtrack is in excellent shape with a good crisp sound. An very good budget release of this entertaining film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars get on the wagon., 31 Oct 2009
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This review is from: War Wagon (John Wayne) [DVD] (DVD)
wayne and douglas make a great team in this lighthearted western . the action is very good and it's quite similar to the sons of katie elder in style .very enjoyable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A wagon full of gold., 24 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Enjoyable toungue-in-cheek western with Wayne and Douglas a good team. No classic but less can do. One to buy for easy entertainment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne what more is to be said, 23 April 2014
By 
F. H. Moffat "Disabledcook" (Outinthesticks UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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A good comedy Western with a serious agenda. John at his best, Howard Keel a little suspect, when compared to his role in Calamity Jane.
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The War Wagon [Blu-ray] [1967]
The War Wagon [Blu-ray] [1967] by Burt Kennedy (Blu-ray - 2013)
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