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The Outlaw Josey Wales [DVD] 
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Clint Eastwood directs and stars as Josey Wales, a peaceful farmer at the time of the American Civil War who becomes a Confederate outlaw in order to avenge his family's death at the hands of Union guerillas. His obsession with revenge slowly lifts, however, as he picks up various outcasts in the wilderness. Wales tries to protect his new 'family' by leading them to a safe haven where they can rebuild their lives.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Clint Eastwood's 31st film as an actor, 20th as international star and fifth as director, was the first to win him widespread respect. Critics had grumbled when the producer-star replaced Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff) in the director's chair a week into shooting. They ended up cheering when Eastwood delivered both his most sympathetic performance to date and--with the heroic collaboration of cinematographer Bruce Surtees--an impressive Panavision epic that stresses the scruffiness, rather than the scenic splendours, of frontier life.
During the Civil War, Union "Redlegs" attack Southerner Josey Wales's dirt farm and wipe out his family. Seeking vengeance, Wales throws in with a company of Reb guerrillas. Tagged as a renegade after the surrender, he flees west into the vastness of the Indian Territories, where, quite unintentionally, he finds himself cast as the straight-shooting paterfamilias of an ever-growing, spectacularly motley community of misfits and castaways. This is to say, Josey's personal quest for survival and something like peace of mind evolves into a funky, multicultural allegory of the healing of America.
Josey Wales is good, not great, Eastwood. The big-gun fetishism can get tiresome, and too many characters exist only to serve as six-gun (and at one point Gatling gun) fodder. But mostly the film is agreeably eccentric, and almost furtively sweet in spirit--a key transitional title in the Eastwood filmography, and one of his most entertaining. --Richard T JamesonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the first movie that Eastwood directed that made people sit up and notice him as a filmmaker rather than an action hero. Some classic trademark Eastwood lines are in this film, perhaps the best of which is:
Bounty Hunter - "You're wanted Wales"
Josey Wales - "Reckon I'm right popular. You a Bounty Hunter?"
BH - "A man's got to do something for a living these days"
JW - "Dyin' ain't much of a livin' boy"
The difference with this film (over say the spagetti westerns) is that Eastwoods character gradually becomes part of a family like gang of people. Most noteably an aging Indian (played by Chief Dan George) which makes for some wonderfully understated comic moments. One of the strengths of this film is you do care what happens. Yes there are gun fights and people are killed but in the end there is a sort of reconcilliation.
Already by this stage of his career Eastwood had a regular team around him to make the film. Standout amongst which is Bruce Surtees cinematography. This really is beautiful looking film.
Eastwood's respective 'lesser' and more 'welcome' performances in HANG 'EM HIGH, PAINT YOUR WAGON, TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, THE BEGUILED, JOE KIDD and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, along with the runaway success of his Dirty Harry character, convinced Eastwood that he was best suited for the stern, sullen rôle of the mysterious stranger who drifts into town - in short, The Man With No Name persona created by Sergio Leone. Josey Wales is a man alone, a man possessed, "an army of one."
The 'Show Me' State of Missouri can rightfully claim an uncomfortable episode in its history. The 'Missouri Compromise' was an arrangement whereby Missouri was admitted to the Union in 1820 as a slave(-owning) State, but with the proviso that there would be no slavery in the State north of 36°30'. This brought a more brutal aspect to the Civil War's tragedies in Missouri with lootings, burnings and massacres followed by reprisal lootings, burnings and massacres.Read more ›
The film tells the story of a Missouri farmer who, towards the end of the Civil War, finds his home overrun by renegade union soldiers who set fire to his homestead, kill his wife and son, and leave him for dead. After burying his family, he joins a group of confederate guerillas who have suffered similar tragedies. Ultimately, the war ends and their leader brings them in for surrender, except for Josey Wales, who watches their surrender from afar. Good thing he did not join them, as their surrender turns into an execution by the very same men who had pillaged his home and killed his family.
Wales escapes only to be relentlessly hunted down by the very men who had wronged him, as well as by bounty hunters who want that five thousand dollar reward offered for his capture. Wales rides on to escape them, and along his travels acquires a motley entourage whom he befriends and who befriends him. What happens on his journey is classic Eastwood.
Clint Eastwood plays his role as a stoic man of few words, while Chief Dan George is an absolute delight as part of Wales' entourage. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent. Of course, Sandra Locke, as Eastwood's real life main squeeze at the time, got star billing, even though her role was one of the smaller ones and her performance the least impressive of the supporting cast.
This remains one of the more entertaining films in this genre. It also made Hollywood sit up and take serious notice of Eastwood as a major force in the film industry.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent item for kindle users. Price about right and can be watched over and over! Westerns never die!Published 2 months ago by Dr. C. Evans.