John Wayne and Dean Martin star as a Western sheriff and his recovering alcoholic deputy who, along with a small ragtag group of men and women, refuse to release a suspected murderer from jail, even though they are surrounded and greatly outnumbered by gunmen.
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Brand: Warner Bros
Searchers, The (BD)]]> A favorite film of some of the world's greatest filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, John Ford's The Searchers has earned its place in the legacy of great American films for a variety of reasons. Perhaps most notably, it's the definitive role for John Wayne as an icon of the classic Western--the hero (or antihero) who must stand alone according to the unwritten code of the West. The story takes place in Texas in 1868; Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a Confederate veteran who visits his brother and sister-in-law at their ranch and is horrified when they are killed by marauding Comanches. Ethan's search for a surviving niece (played by young Natalie Wood) becomes an all-consuming obsession. With the help of a family friend (Jeffrey Hunter) who is himself part Cherokee, Ethan hits the trail on a five-year quest for revenge. At the peak of his masterful talent, director Ford crafts this classic tale as an embittered examination of racism and blind hatred, provoking Wayne to give one of the best performances of his career. As with many of Ford's classic Westerns, The Searchers must contend with revisionism in its stereotypical treatment of "savage" Native Americans, and the film's visual beauty (the final shot is one of the great images in all of Western culture) is compromised by some uneven performances and stilted dialogue. Still, this is undeniably one of the greatest Westerns ever made. --Jeff Shannon
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Brand: Warner Manufacturing
Rio Bravo (Blu-ray)On one side is an army of gunmen dead-set on springing a murderous cohort from jail. On the other is Sheriff John T. Chance and two deputies: a recovering drunkard and a crippled codger. Also in their ragtag ranks are a trigger-happy youth and a woman with a past – and her eye on Chance. Director Howard Hawks lifted the Western to new heights with Red River. Capturing the legendary West with a stellar cast in peak form, he does it again here.]]>
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Brand: SONY PICTURES HOME ENT
Bonded by their oath to the same flag, two confederate soldiers, “Devil” Anse Hatfield (Kevin Costner) and Randall McCoy (Bill Paxton), return home seeking peace after tireless months of battle. Their expectations are quickly shattered when a murder based on misunderstandings and an illicit love affair trigger warfare between former comrades and their clans. This historic feud teeters on the brink of an all out civil war as friends and neighbors join opposing sides in a rivalry that would ultimately shape American History. The legendary 19th-century battle between two West Virginia clans that came to define the term feud gets a lengthy and frequently dramatic retelling in Hatfields & McCoys, a six-hour miniseries driven by leads Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the warring family patriarchs. Both actors lend considerable gravitas to the sprawling story, which begins with Costner's Devil Anse Hatfield going AWOL during the Civil War, setting in motion a growing animosity with former friend Randolph McCoy (Paxton) that blossoms into full-blown violence over a property dispute between the families. Bloodshed begets bloodshed, due in part to a series of miscommunications, long-simmering grievances, and acts of outright foolishness, several of which are the work of hot-blooded Hatfield relative Jim Vance (Tom Berenger). What emerges from the final work is a portrait of generational murder as a sort of Biblical virus, with the sins of the fathers wreaking untold havoc on their children, including a pair of young Hatfield-McCoy lovers (Lindsay Pulsipher and Matt Barr) whose romance considerably exacerbates tensions. The latter subplot is probably the sole weak element in the miniseries, detracting from the tragic forward momentum of the familial conflict and solid turns by all concerned, including Powers Boothe as Costner's sage older brother and Jena Malone and the always-welcome Mare Winningham as women on the McCoy side. A major ratings hit and multiple Emmy nominee for The History Channel, which made its dramatic project debut with the miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys is a compelling historical drama for both Western fans and non-genre followers alike. The DVD includes a modest, electronic press kit-style making-of featurette as well as a music video for the song "I Know These Hills," sung by Costner and his band, Modern West. --Paul Gaita
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Widescreen Special Edition)
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Newman and Redford are two offbeat outlaws who run (and jump) from the law, then flee to Bolivia where they meet a bloody end. The action-filled, lightly comic Western features the Burt Bacharach song "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.]Wyoming outlaws hit Bolivia, take on army.]0]]George Roy Hill]]]Paul Newman]Robert Redford]Katharine Ross]Strother Martin]Henry Jones]Jeff Corey]George Furth]Cloris Leachman]Ted Cassidy]
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Paul Newman and Robert Redford set the standard for the "buddy film" with this box office smash set in the Old West. The Sundance Kid (Redford) is the frontier's fastest gun. His sidekick, Butch Cassidy (Newman), is always dreaming up new ways to get rich fast. If only they could blow open a baggage car without also blowing up the money-filled safe inside... Or remember that Sundance can't swim before they escape a posse by leaping off a cliff into rushing rapids... Times are changing in the west and life is getting tougher. So Butch and Sundance pack their guns, don new duds, and, with Sundance's girlfriend (Katharine Ross), head down to Bolivia. Never mind that they don't speak Spanish - they'll manage somehow. A winner of four Academy Awards (including best screenplay and best song), here is a thoroughly enjoyable blend of fact and fancy done with true affection for a bygone era and featuring the two flashiest, friendliest funniest outlaws who ever called out "hands up!"