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The Unforgiven (1960)

Burt Lancaster , Audrey Hepburn , John Huston  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Audie Murphy, John Saxon, Charles Bickford
  • Directors: John Huston
  • Writers: Alan Le May, Ben Maddow
  • Producers: Burt Lancaster, Harold Hecht, James Hill
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008PX7J
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,893 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Unforgiven" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Legendary director John Huston is "at the top of his form" (Time) with this "powerful, exciting" (The Film Daily) tale of forbidden love set against America's most rugged and ruthless frontier. Starring Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn and Lillian Gish, and featuring a script by Ben Maddow (The Way West), The Unforgiven is a "tough Texas saga filled with pride, prejudiceand passion" (Video Movie Guide)! Indian by birth, but secretly adopted by whites, Rachel Zachary (Hepburn) soon becomes the target of lawless racism and brutality when her true identity is revealed. The Indians want her back, the local whites want her dead, and her only hope for survival is a man (Lancaster) who must face the most terrifying fight of his lifeto save the woman he loves!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Classic June 21, 2003
By A Customer
I've always wondered why this film is never spoken in the same breath with "Shane" or "The Searchers". "Great" Westerns are usually described as being epic in scale, but "The Unforgiven" has an authentic feel to it. From the dusty look everything has, to the sod hut the family lives in, to the realistic period dress, this movie has a look that is unlike any other I have seen. The DVD has the best print and sound I have seen and heard since the film was released in 1960, with sharper definition and bolder colors than before (obviously better than the VHS tape). Some viewers may find tiny faults here and there, but overall this film needs to be viewed by any lover of Western movies.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unforgiven (1960) August 28, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This is the best western I have ever seen. I knew it would be a classic at age 10 when I first saw it in a movie theater in Tacoma, Washington. And time has not changed that. I would give it 6 stars, if possible. The cast and their performances are brilliant, especially Charles Bickford as the clan patriarch, Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, and all the others. The music is grand and the plot is ever so interesting. No western that I have ever seen has even come close to undertaking the complexities of race relations (a term scarcely known in 1850) in the Wild West. One of the most intense scenes I have ever seen on film is when they are about to hang the old Hunter, Abe Kelsey. This is simply a John Huston masterpiece. Every camera shot is outstanding and the dialog is superb. You can never forget Kelsey's warning, "You ALL turn to devils! Devils!" Incidentally, altho I have forgotten his real name (John Wiseman?) I believe he also had a bit part in "Masada" as another type of prophet-patriarch. Forget about the fluff & huff of modern, politically correct "westerns" of today's producers, with their blow-dried hair doos. If you want an authentic western at its best, this is a must see. And you're entire family can watch it. No -F- words, of course. That in itself is testimony to another era of golden film making -- all acting, no cheapness. "The Unforgiven" goes into my book as one of the top 10, all time great movies.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Might Be the Most Ambitious Western Ever January 24, 2006
Not to be confused with Clint Eastwood's 1992 film "Unforgiven", "THE Unforgiven" is a 1960 John Huston film that is almost worthy of joining Eastwood's as one of the top ten westerns of all-time. That it falls slightly short of that status could be because Huston withdrew from the project in post-production, after the studio insisted on toning down his message of racial tolerance to give the film more commercial appeal. Although this tampering tends to cloud his political message, it is still there if you do conduct a little analysis. "The Unforgiven" does lay claim to the distinction of being the most ambitious western of all time.

Based on an Alan LeMay novel, as was John Ford's "The Searchers", "The Unforgiven" presents the flip side of the search for a missing sister. Here it is an Indian looking for his sister who was abducted as a baby by a white man and then adopted by his family. The obvious complaint is that the Indians are the villains in both films. But there is a distinction as the little girl in "The Searchers" was abducted when she was nine years old and she retained a desire to be reunited with her white family. The girl in "The Unforgiven", Rachel (played by Audrey Hepburn), has only known her adopted family.

John Huston once said that a good story should have "excitement, color, spectacle and humor, adventure, high drama, tragedy, good conversation, truth and irony". Even the studio cut of "The Unforgiven" does a pretty good job of bringing all these elements to the screen. The most obvious sign of studio tampering is the inconsistency in John Saxon's character (Johnny Portugal), a half-breed who is often harassed by the local cowboys and is meticulously set up to be Ben's (Burt Lancaster) rival for Rachel's affections.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly powerful movie. December 16, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent movie that explores prejudices, family ties, and our preconceived notions about ourselves. It is set in the Old West, but the issues it explores are still relevant today. Director John Huston has done a masterful job with this film.
Audrey Hepburn is elegant and beautiful in the role of a sister who may have a "questionable" birth. Audie Murphy is her somewhat simple-mindedly prejudiced brother, Burt Lancaster is her older brother, whom she quietly adores. (And we soon see, the feeling is mutual.) Lillian Gish is just fantastic as the matriarch of the family, and Joseph Wiseman is excellent, as always, as an enigmatic stranger. Also, look for John Saxon in a small role as a Native American ranch hand.
A must-see. Incredibly well done, with wonderful performances by Hepburn, Lancaster and Gish, especially.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forbidden blood, forbidden love March 3, 2005
Tempers reach a fever pitch and a post-Civil War Texas community threatens to explode when people begin to suspect the adopted daughter of a respected family is a Kiowa Indian.

John Huston directed THE UNFORGIVEN in 1960, one of the last of the `message' westerns of that era which includes such notables as BROKEN ARROW (message = practice racial tolerance) and HIGH NOON (message = McCarthyism is bad.) I'm not a big fan of message westerns. Too often the sermon drowns out the story. As they used to say, if I want a message I'll call Western Union.

Still, Huston was one of the smartest directors around and the cast - Audrey Hepburn, Burt Lancaster, Lillian Gish, and Audie Murphy - are all first-rate.

Audrey Hepburn, the luminous Audrey Hepburn, plays the young woman was a foundling and now is the subject of an increasingly acrimonious dispute over her pedigree. Gish plays the foster mother and Lancaster and Murphy the Kiowa-hating half-brothers. Murphy a little top heavy with hate, Lancaster a little light in the keel when called on to remember the brother part. They aren't really kin, one coyly tells the other early on.

The first half of THE UNFORGIVEN is pretty interesting. There's a wild, one-eyed wraith, dressed in torn and faded Confederate gray, claiming to be the `sword of God' and warning any and all of Hepburn's true heritage. A young John Saxon plays a half-breed wrangler named Portugal who... well, rather mysteriously disappears rather early on. It has nothing to do with the plot per se, it's just that his character suddenly just isn't in the movie anymore. And that's the rub.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Top Ten Westerns
Offbeat, well written western with solid performances by all concerned.
Published 13 days ago by Honest Abe
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion one of the great classic westerns
In my opinion one of the great classic westerns. Burt Lancaster is great as the head of the family dealing with Indians, family problems, feuds with the neighbors and his own... Read more
Published 15 days ago by ryder lusk
5.0 out of 5 stars but this one is terrific. Audrey looks great
I'm not a big fan of westerns, but this one is terrific. Audrey looks great. And Lillian Gish...WOW.
Published 21 days ago by C. L. Burch
5.0 out of 5 stars Atypical Western but Masterfully Rendered
One of my all- time favorites. This ,"The Searchers" and "Cheyenne Autumn" exemplify Hollywood's bifurcated portrayal of the Native American plight in the American... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Regina Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars ... the acting is incredible and the supporting cast is awesome. I now...
I think the acting is incredible and the supporting cast is awesome. I now know what a good actress Lillian Gish was. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Denise
4.0 out of 5 stars the blu ray edition of 'the unforgiven' looks very good, i only wish...
the blu ray edition of 'the unforgiven' looks very good,i only wish this edition had the original stereo sound tract.. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MIKE ROPER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by William Hsu
4.0 out of 5 stars The movie brings back a lot of good, old memories
This movie is nostalgic for me I first saw it back when I was in high school. The movie brings back a lot of good, old memories. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Arthur L. Thompsoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Timem to take over TV programing
My husband and myself are gathering a video library. There are so many things on TV now days that you just can't watch because of the language and other things . Read more
Published 2 months ago by naomi doddridge
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it from the first time I saw it
Know this one too. I love it from the first time I saw it, and will continue to watch it over and over.
Published 3 months ago by Edna Jo Murrill
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