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  • Writer's pictureDomenic

Rio Bravo| Review

Updated: May 31, 2022

Over time, film critics, makers, and goers alike have all gradually noticed the importance of the American Western. The genre really did pioneer many filming techniques as well as produce some very influential films and directors. The likes of which were (two of my favorite directors) John Ford and Howard Hawks. Ford produced such westerns as Stagecoach, Fort Apache, and, arguably his best film, The Searchers. Hawks only produced a hand full of westerns, mostly because he preferred to produce films that belonged to a variety of genres, comedies, adventures, and gangsters. He made many masterpieces throughout his 20+ year-long career, but his definitive and therefore best film has to be Rio Bravo.

The film follows a conventional American Western storyline. After the arrest of gunslinger Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) by John Chance (John Wayne), Burdette's brother tries to free him. Along the way, more characters come into play, such as Feathers (Angie Dickinson), Dude (Dean Martin), and Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson).

Rio Bravo really is a celebration of the American Western, which in turn was done intentionally due to Hawks's and Wayne's response to High Noon. They both found High Noon as a somewhat anti-western and would go on to make a rebut of the film with their very own, Rio Bravo. And that's fairly obvious considering that Rio Bravo is one of the most stereotypical American western out there, but the film's all done perfectly that it practically beats all the competition. The film goes by fairly slow, due in part to long drawn out scenes with a variety of dialogue revolving around arguments and discussion among the characters. The action scenes are exceptional, thanks to Hawks's placement of the characters and his framing of every shot, to maximize the suspense in every direction. Most westerns feature a variety of action scenes with fast-paced gun movement and remarkable stunts, but Rio Bravo's (and maybe the ending of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) scenes have to be the best, not only due to the suspense of every action within the scene but how it would go on to influence the genre as a whole. If I were to define the "American Western" with just one film, it would be Rio Bravo, for its remarkable influence, scenes, and direction, and I would even go as far as to say that Rio Bravo stands as one of the very few "flawless" films to come out during "The Golden Age of American Cinema."

Time Stamp: June 6, 2020

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