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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 October 2009
This isn't just a film about the gunfight at the OK Corral, it is a film about the Earps and what became known as the Earp Vendetta Ride. It simply had the misfortunte of being up against another film about Wyatt Earp that starred Kevin Costner in his prime.

Wyatt Earp (19 March 1848 - 19 January 1929) was at various times in his life a gambler, saloon keeper, farmer, gold miner and lawman.

Virgil Earp (18 July 1843 - 19 October 1905) mainly a gambler but also a well known lawman

Morgan Earp (24 April 1851 - 18 March 1882)

John Henry "Doc" Holliday (14 August 1851 - 8 November 1887) dentist, gambler and gunfighter

The film Tombstone follows the move of the Earp brothers Wyatt (Kurt Russell) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) at the silver mining town of Tombstone, in Arizona, after leaving Dodge City, where older brother Virgil Earp (Sam Elliott) had just Tombstone been appointed deputy US Marshal.

The film doesn't quite stick to the facts - leaving out some of the Earp brothers and the trial of Wyatt and the others for murder after the gunfight at the OK Corral.

Wyatt and Morgan didn't arrive together. Missing are older brother James (who arrived with Wyatt) and worked as a barkeep, and younger brother Warren arrived later with Morgan. Then finally Doc Holliday arrived. Holliday is portrayed by Val Kilmer, who succeeds in stealing every scene that he is in.

The trouble between the Earps and the cowboys after Virgil accused Frank McLaury of stealing army horses and mules and altering the brands - usually known as cattle rustling. The Cowboys were well known for cattle rustling, if you had any animals and they were missing then they were usually in the possession of the Cowboys.

After several stagecoach hold-ups and shootings tensions between the Cowboys and the Earps were at breaking point and this was the build up to the famous (or infamous) Gunfight at the OK Corral. A few minutes that have since gone down as legend.

Interestingly (and missing from the film) after the gunfight, the corrupt sheriff Johnny Behan arrested the Earp brothers and Holliday, and they faced trial for murder. Ike Clanton's testimony was said to have been extremely unbelievable - the towns people knew him as a bully and a thug, yet he said that he was terrified and feared the Earp's as they had repeatedly bullied, frightened and intimidated him.

It was Ike Clanton's own contradictory and confused testimony that cleared the Earps and Holliday. Claiming that the Cowboys had merely been trying to enjoy the evening air and that they were not in the habit of carrying guns went against every witness that had given evidence at the trial, including his own men. He also claimed that Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil and Doc had confessed separately to him that they were responsible for the stage coach robberies and murders.

Wyatt took advantage of a law that allowed him to read a prepared statement without being cross-examined by the prosecution. He read his statement, in a calm and controlled manner, which detailed the troubles between the two groups, how they only wanted to disarm the men and that they had to fire in self-defence. That, along with the respected witnesses, cast enough doubt on the case that the jury decided to free them.

It was after this that the Cowboys decided to assassinate the Earps, and so Wyatt (with the help of an ailing Doc Holliday and a posse) embarked on the vendetta ride, for the blood of those who had harmed his family.

Wyatt Earp had been friends with notable Wild West figures such as Wild Bill Hickcock and Bat Masterson. As well as western movie stars such as Tom Mix, William S Hart and even a young John Wayne.

Kurt Russell is an established authority on Wyatt Earp and it shows in the fact that the story is about Wyatt's Vendetta Ride and what caused it, rather than the usual Gunfight at the OK Corral.

It is a shame that the time constraints meant that so much of the story of the Earps, the Clantons and the Cowboys had to be missed out.

Personally, if Mr Russell ever decided to make the story of the Earps into mini series I'd watch it and I'd buy it too, if it was done to the same standard as this movie.

As I have previously said Val Kilmer steals the show as Doc Holliday with a performance that should have earned him awards. But to mention Mr Kilmer with out mentioning his `huckleberry' Michael Biehn would be a crime. Biehn portrays Johnny Ringo, an educated man who Holliday calls the "deadliest pistoleer since Wild Bill", and a wonderful foil for Kilmer to play off.

Yet by picking out those I don't want you to think that the others aren't as good, the entire cast is amazing, without exception this film should have been award winning - the only reason it wasn't is down to Hollywood politics and the movie industry snobbery. Shame on them.

This is a well made, well acted, and exceptionally underrated film - it is what a true western should be. Outstanding.

--- Side Note ---

The US region 1 double disc set is well worth a look. If you have a universal player then they are worth the money. You get a disc of extras, as well as a director's cut of the movie. I rate both versions of the film, but the director's cut is a more fulfilling film.
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on 3 November 2006
This is an absolutely fantastic film. I've watched this baby so often I almost know it off by heart. The cast is so well put together. Kurt Russell looks so much like Wyatt Earp really looked it is remarkable. This is also Val Kilmer's best ever role. You kinda forget you're watching a film, the acting is that good. Dana Delaney plays the stunning Josephine Markinson, who beyond the film becomes Wyatt's wife. This is trully a magnificant film. The one liners are fantastic and memorial, just like the one above or when Wyatt bumps into a red slash cowboy leaving jail and says "easy kid, I'm sorry", the kid replies "I ain't easy and I ain't your kid, you take sorry and shove it up your..!"

However if you are thinking of buying this particular DVD and own a region 1 DVD player, think again. Amazon's sister in US does Tombstone Vista Series. This is a 2 disc edition in a special collectors box. It is in DTS 5.1, the visual has been digitally restored, it is THX certified and the main feature film has over 30 minutes of extra scenes that were not in the UK release. These extra scenes are not your usual deleted scenes on a separate disc but are proper scenes that were in the US release but deleted for the UK release. Don't ask me why! They add even more detail to this film. They especially add another dimension to the relationship Wyatt Earp had with his opium addicted girlfriend and many more stories.
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on 13 January 2003
This is one of the best westerns ever made and ranks right up there with "The Searchers" and "The Unforgiven." It is a story of changing times that haven't quite changed enough. Kurt Russell gives his best performance as Wyatt Earp, coming to Tombstone with his brothers to settle down and put his Marshaling days behind him. Tombstone is wild though and a group known as 'The Cowboys' along with young Johnny Ringo begin to make this impossible.
Dana Delany is radiant as the actress Wyatt falls for even though he is married. His wife has become a drug addict and his marriage is not the stuff dreams are made of, but Dana Delaney is. Wyatt and his brothers are slowly drawn towards the history we have come to know, and the aftermath we may not. This is a multilayered story more faithful to the truth than most versions.
What makes this film different from other westerns is the depth of the story and the realistic performances of the cast, the finest of which is Val Kilmer's terrific turn as Doc Holliday. This film more realistically portrays the relationship of Holliday and Wyatt than any other film. Kilmer is dangerous and intelligent, and above all, loyal to perhaps his only real friend in life, Wyatt Earp. Kilmer so becomes the real Doc Holliday that it was said he remained in character on the set at all times. His performance is something that will always be remembered by anyone who watches this film.

Wyatt is a real man in this film with raw courage but no self delusions. He is no gunman and realizes he can not beat Johnny Ringo in a gun battle. Doc Holliday, in spite of his illness, arrives there first and in one of the greatest (and most accurately portrayed) gunfights in film history kills the legendary Johnny Ringo, thus saving Wyatt's life.

Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp remained friends until Holliday finally was overtaken by the tuberculosis which had plauged him for years. As in real life Wyatt Earp acually does find happiness and settles down with Dana Delaney after his wife dies. He became quite wealthy in the latter part of his life. The rich tapestry of events that formed the legend of the dangerous Doc Holliday and Marshall Wyatt Earp are given the best and most accurate screen treatment ever filmed. This is a must see western. You will never forget it and you will never see a better and more colorful true to life performance than Val Kilmer's turn as Doc Holliday......
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on 21 June 2004
This is one of the best Westerns ever made and is actually historically pretty accurate. Kurt Russell is very good as Wyatt Earp but Val Kilmer steals the show as the ice cool Doc Holliday. I can watch this film time and again and never get bored with it. Packed with action and superb gunfights it is entertaining from start to finish.Well worth the money, its a classic.
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VINE VOICEon 1 May 2009
The Gunfight at the OK Corral has been portrayed more than any other event in frontier history on the big screen. There are six - at least - films directly about the subject (Frontier Marshall, My Darling Clementine, Doc, Hour of the Gun, Wyatt Earp, Gunfight at the OK Corrall and this one) and many more Westerns take elements of the historical dynamic, notably Warlock.

Tombstone manages to be both the most historically accurate AND the most exciting, which is no mean trick in a film made for a fraction of the Lawrence Kasdan/Kevin Costner epic released shortly afterwards and a production plagued with directorial changes and mass cast sackings as - on-set- the underwhelmed actors and production crew struggled with a 'difficult' script.

Kurt Russell portrays Wyatt Earp as a very tough man who is tired of being a 'legendary' law officer and just wants to make some money. However - at the prompting of his brothers - Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton), he is sucked into taking on the 'Cowboys' - who are described in Robert Mitchum's narration as 'the first organised crime gang in America.'

They weren't, but they were pretty nasty and - when suitably prodded - capable of collective, violent and vengeance driven, action. Wyatt Earp wanted to be sheriff of Tombstone so was really not running away from his peacemaker past. It's the only glaring historical mis-step and, in my opinion, foregiveable.

For what Tombstone delivers is an utter credible portrayal of 1880s frontier life, personified by the former dentist and current gunfighter/gambler Doc Holliday.

Holliday has been portrayed by some heavy-hitting actors - Kirk Douglas, Jason Robards, Dennis Quaid - but no-one gets as close to capturing the drunk, consumptive, Southern gentleman psychopath as Val Kilmer in this work. Kilmer is, frankly, astonishing and as someone who endured his work in turkeys like The Saint and Alexander, I do not bandy praise about this actor lightly. Doc Holliday's most recent biographer - who knows the real man rather than the Hollywood legend - praises Kilmer effusively and there is no higher accolade, in my opinion.

In this new DVD special edition, the biggest irony is that George Pan Cosmatos - who died a couple of years back - is able to make such a joyous director's commentary considering - in some ways - star Kurt Russell was 'meant' to be directing. Cosmatos was a bit of a hack - notable for Stallone vehicles Cobra (urgh) and Rambo Two (double urgh), but this was the work of his life and in its energy, design and look, Tombstone - bathed in South west sunshine - is just superb.

You don't believe me? Check out the clip on You Tube of the actual gunfight - Thomas Haden Church acting his little socks off. Then trust me, the rest of the film is that good.

The extras are cute, but don't add a whole heap. There are better documentaries on the real incidents in Tombstone. It doesn't matter. This is a great film. If you love westerns - even if you don't - this should be on the shelf.

My only regret is that Kevin Costner - who is the best Wyatt Earp ever on screen - is not in this instead of the Lawrence Kasdan film. His morally upright, unsettling intensity would make this film perfect and I'm talking Godfather Two perfect.

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on 14 April 2010
Kevin Costner and screenwriter Kevin Jarre both wanted to tell the true story of the legendary lawman, Wyatt Earp, so worked together on a script, but they both went their own ways and made two completely different movies. Costner's movie should have been the best of the two movies, but frankly, it was a bit of a dud. Kevin Jarre's version of the story (the writer was the original director but was replaced by Rambo 2 director George P. Cosmatos a few week into filming - although some sources say Kurt Russell was the real director!) delivers everything you could want from a western and more: great action, incredible performances (Val Kilmer is simply awesome as Doc Holiday). I could go on and on as I love this film, however the Blu Ray is slightly disappointing. This is not the the Directors Cut (my preference) but the Theatrical, and the extras are slight to say the least. Still the PQ is top notch so the old west never looked so good in HD.
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on 28 October 2010
First of all Tombstone is a great western, one of the best of modern times. Secondly, it looks magnificent in blu ray, vibrant, clear and just as I remember it to be at the cinema.

So why the three stars? Because this is the standard movie and not the director's cut that's available on DVD. Given how blu ray has been sold to us as superior quality and sound, which it is, and how they can fit even more extras on here, why are we cheated by buying blu ray when if we bought the supposedly inferior DVD you get the director's cut - meaning an extra 5-10 minutes of cut footage?

Once again this seems like a cynical way of making movie fans part with our cash again to buy the blu ray special edition or some such thing. In these hard times, perhaps the studios and what have you should consider actually giving us value for money because customers will not be so free and easy with our hard earned cash as we used to be. And then, maybe, blu ray may not take off in the manner that they expected.

To conclude, great movie, looks great on blu ray, okay extras, but its not very good value for money when compared with the DVD version, the director's cut.
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Having recently watched the epic film Wyatt Earp with Kevin Costner, I was interested in looking at the story from a different angle. Whilst there are similarities, Wyatt Earp was not a remake and so to me it was a wholly different film. Tombstone has a much different feel to it, with a faster pace and more action to it. A good old fashioned western film

Blu-Ray quality is very good, not some up-scaled DVD. Sound quality through my TV speakers was clear, so I am guessing that it would be even better through a sound bar. I picked this up for just under £5 which was a bargain for such a good film. A definite must have for Western film fans
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on 21 May 2004
I just watched this film recently for the millionth time and I can honestly say that I will never get bored of it. It's a cool film and everyone in it looks cool too. Wyatt Earp is a legend. If your like me and not really in to Westerns you'll still like this film.
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on 2 February 2002
A truly excellent film, and one that stands apart from your more 'old-fashioned' western. Pleasing to see that the writer/director etc have done their homework and have not been tempted to sacrifice fact for better camera work. The shoot out at the OK Corrall is especially worthy of note due its historical accuracy in both location and coordination (the majority of the lines are those uttered at the time). Kilmer steals the show as Doc, though Russell does a fine Wyatt Earp. About as good as it gets!!
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