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The Undefeated

242 customer reviews

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(May 20, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the tumultuous aftermath of the Civil War, Union Calvary officer John Henry Thomas takes his heroic men west while southerner James Langdon takes his soldiers to Mexico. When their paths cross, they forge an uneasy friendship that is quickly tested as they get caught between Mexican rebels and the Emperor's forces, and find themselves fighting side by side.

John Wayne, that pillar of machismo, was well aware that costar Rock Hudson was gay, yet he prized him as a boon companion, a fellow professional, and one hell of a bridge player. Each plays a Civil War commander who, after the ceasefire, leads a community of home folks into Mexico to make a fresh start. Hudson is a Southern gentleman; Wayne commanded the Yankee cavalry at Shiloh, where Hudson's brother died. Nevertheless, Rock, with his extended family, and Duke, with his troop of cowboys and 3,000 horses to sell to Emperor Maximilian, soon join forces to outgun banditos and beam paternally over the budding romance between their respective daughter and son (an adopted Indian played by footballer Roman Gabriel with Crystal Gayle hair). Lingering North-South animosities are celebrated in an obligatory communal fistfight in the Andrew V. McLaglen manner, and the showdown with both Maximilian's lancers and the rebel Juaristas is disconcertingly perfunctory. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Antonio Aguilar, Roman Gabriel, Marian McCargo
  • Directors: Andrew V. McLaglen
  • Writers: James Lee Barrett, Lewis B. Patten, Stanley Hough
  • Producers: Robert L. Jacks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008MTW7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,054 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Undefeated" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on July 6, 2003
Format: DVD
The Undefeated is an excellent western that teams John Wayne and Rock Hudson together for the first time. Set in the months after the Civil War, the story follows two groups as they venture into Mexico. One group led by Wayne's Colonel John Henry Thomas is driving 3,000 horses south to deliver to the forces of the French emperor, Maximillian. The other group is a wagon train of Confederate soldiers and their families who are moving to Mexico City under Maximillian's rule. Along the way, the two groups meet up and battle bandits, Juaristas, and even themselves. The action scenes are very well put together, especially the 4th of July fistfight and the bandit attack on the wagon train.
John Wayne and Rock Hudson are great as two rival leaders, one Union and one Confederate, who must work together if they are to survive in Mexico. Their relationship has several funny moments as they discuss their involvement during the war. The Duke's crew includes Ben Johnson as Short Grub, Dub Taylor as Mr. McCartney, Roman Gabriel as Blue Boy, and several other Duke regulars. The rest of the impressive cast includes Tony Aguilar, Bruce Cabot, Merlin Olsen, Edward Faulkner, Harry Carey JR, Marian McCargo, Lee Meriwether, Melissa Newman, and Big John Hamilton. It was great to see this on DVD which offers widescreen presentation, several theatrical trailers including The Comancheros and North to Alaska as well as two in Spanish and Portuguese. In the trailer, look for a scene of Blue Boy's fellow riders capturing Rock Hudson as he rides to Wayne's camp that did not make it to the final copy. This is an excellent post Civil War western that all Duke fans will love! Do not miss!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Chrijeff VINE VOICE on February 5, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
In this film Wayne, as former Union Colonel John Henry Thomas, and Hudson, as former Confederate Colonel James Langdon, re-enact on a small scale the slow and painful psychological healing and reunion of the divided nation following the Civil War. Thomas and the remnants of his unit (including the ever-delightful Ben Johnson as Short Grub and Roman Gabriel somewhat less than sterling as Thomas's Cherokee adopted son, Blue Boy) return to the West to hunt wild horses for a living, while Langdon and his, unwilling to submit to the indignities of Yankee occupation and carpetbagger rule, burn their homes, pack up their families, and head for Mexico, where they hope to join the French Interventionists (a plan historically followed, though without the noncombatants, by General Jo Shelby). Somewhere in Northern Mexico the two groups meet, and after some mutual suspicion become uneasy allies to beat off a gang of bandidos. When Langdon's company unwittingly blunders into a trap set by the Juaristas, Thomas and his men agree to surrender their catch of horses as ransom. Much of the charm of the film arises from the head-butting of the two veteran commanders (particularly the sequence in which Hudson utters his memorable line, "If I can find the *time* I'm gonna siddown and write the social history of Bourbon!"), which is, of course, echoed by their men (most notably the quiet rivalry of Short Grub and Robert Donner as Judd Mailer). Yet Blue Boy is early attracted to Langdon's daughter (despite the presence of her long-time suitor, Jan-Michael Vincent as Bubba Wilkes), and even Thomas finds a kindred spirit in his rival's widowed sister-in-law. A good movie about the aftermath of war and the healing of wounds.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L Gontzes on February 22, 2004
Format: DVD
Definitely a great Post-Civil War Western and one of my personal favorites, The Undefeated, brings to the screen such heavyweights as John Wayne and Rock Hudson, whose performances are outstanding, making this movie one of the best of its kind. The acting, the battles and the costumes are all wonderful!
The Undefeated is a movie about honor, bravery, and heroes from a time long gone.
A great movie indeed!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By G. Possert on July 4, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This film takes place in a post Civil War setting, where every character finds it difficult to accept the terms of the end of that war. A band of Southern Confederates would rather live/work in Mexico than under the influence of Yankees and Carpetbaggers. The friendship between the Yankee horse trader (Wayne) and the Confererate leader (Hudson) leads to entertaining encounters, and life & death decisions when the Mexican revolution takes everyone by surprise. This movie is representative of John Wayne's later works, and is a keeper. But be warned, I think all of J. Wayne's films are keepers, and as such, my opinion is biased.
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Format: DVD
I found this 1969 western, distantly inspired by real events, watchable, but less good than most of John Wayne films. It certainly has its moments, but the weakness of scenario becomes with time embarrassing. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

1. The real story of general "Jo" Shelby and "The Undefeated".

Before the War Between States, Joseph Orville "Jo" Shelby (1830-1897) was one of wealthiest landowners and most successful businessmen in the South. Born in a rich family, he lost his father at the age of 5 and was raised by his stepfather. Once of age, he quickly increased family's wealth by clever and daring investments and at the age of 31 he owned propriety (including a large number of slaves) and businesses all around Kentucky and Missouri.

In 1855, long before the War Between States began, young "Jo" Shelby became involved in the "Bleeding Kansas" armed fight between Northern anti-slavery militants and their Southern slave owners opponents. He raised a Southern militia squadron with his own money and rode at the head of it - it cost him a lot, as in retaliation pro-Northern radicals burned some of his businesses in Missouri. In 1857 he married young Elizabeth Nancy Shelby, a relative.

In 1861 the state of Missouri, even if it ultimately didn't join the Confederacy, was almost evenly divided between pro-South and pro-North partisans. With his own money Shelby raised a company of volunteer cavalry with himself as its commanding officer with the rank of captain. The war in Missouri turned badly for the Confederates who were ultimately forced to retire to Arkansas, but many thousands local volunteers followed them there.
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