187 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A potential (cult?) classic!
While this movie may never achieve the critical acclaim it deserves, there is a grassroots appreciation for this movie that points out, once again, the different worlds of professional movie critics and the movie-viewing public. For example, Leonard Maltin describes Dana Delany as 'goofy' in this production. Personally, I found her captivating, and -- for some reason...
Published on March 17, 2000 by John Taylor
32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Director's Cut Hits The Bullseye
Although I'm a greater fan of the Lawrence Kasdan / Kevin Costner version of Wyatt Earp's life, TOMBSTONE -- the Director's Cut -- is a marked improvement from the original threatrical version. Several key scenes are extended from the original release, and many new scenes are added that give the characters a bit more emotional depth. While much of the action still...
Published on January 21, 2002 by E. Lee Zimmerman
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187 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A potential (cult?) classic!,
While this movie may never achieve the critical acclaim it deserves, there is a grassroots appreciation for this movie that points out, once again, the different worlds of professional movie critics and the movie-viewing public. For example, Leonard Maltin describes Dana Delany as 'goofy' in this production. Personally, I found her captivating, and -- for some reason -- the most attractive I have ever seen her.
Kurt Russell turns in another excellent performance, proving once again that he has grown considerably as an actor over the years.
The performances of Michael Biehn, Sam Elliott, Powers Boothe, Billy Bob Thornton, Bill Paxton, Billy Zane, Jason Priestly, Joanna Pacula, even Charlton Heston, in supporting roles -- major and minor -- are carefully crafted and played to perfection.
But in my book Val Kilmer steals the show as Doc Holliday. Chalk this up as another excellent performance (e.g. Thunderheart) by the oft-maligned but excellent actor.
Do yourselves a favor and view this movie as a stand-alone ... don't try to compare it to the other Wyatt Earp movies; don't compare it to history. Just enjoy it as it is -- a truly well-told tale, a violent love story (think True Romance set in the 19th century if you will), full of outstanding performances.
This story (as are almost all tales about Earp) is heavily romanticized. History reveals that there were no good guys or bad guys in the power struggles that took place between town authorities, Earp's crowd, and The Cowboys. Nonetheless, the director has paid close attention to period accuracy in costume, language, and props. The firearms used -- an area that is often woefully researched -- are period accurate, with only the most minor license taken for cinematic effect.
My guess is that in time this movie will establish itself as an audience favorite regardless of "expert" opinion. And the cast members have every reason to be proud of a truly fine ensemble performance.
131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm Your Huckleberry",
This review is from: Tombstone [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is one of the most entertaining westerns ever made and as such, ranks right up there with "Shane," "Open Range," "Ride the Man Down" and Eastwood's "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 lawman days behind him. Tombstone is a wild town still and a group known as The Cowboys and a young gunslinger named 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. The film takes its time as 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 superior to other westerns is the depth of the story and the realistic performances of the cast. The finest of the aforementioned is Val Kilmer's extraordinary turn as Doc Holliday.
This film more realistically portrays the relationship of Holliday and Wyatt than any other film. Kilmer's Holliday is dangerous and intelligent, and above all, loyal to perhaps his only real friend in life, Wyatt Earp. Kilmer so became the real Doc Holliday that it was said he remained in character on the set at all times, even when the camera was not rolling. 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 the quick and dangerous Johnny Ringo in a gun battle. Doc Holliday, in spite of his illness, has Wyatt's back and arrives there first. What follows is one of the most tense and accurately portrayed gunfights in film history.
Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp remained friends until Holliday finally was overtaken by the tuberculosis which had plagued him for years. As in real life, Wyatt Earp actually does find happiness and settles down with Dana Delaney after his wife dies in this film. The real Wyatt 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 Marshal 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.
97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray: Beautiful cinematography and really clear lossless audio! An enjoyable film!,
1993 and it was the battle between two films based on the iconic western figure Wyatt Earp. Screenwriter Kevin Jarre ("The Mummy", "Glory", "Rambo: First Blood Part II") and Kevin Costner were originally set to make the film together but due to a disagreement, Costner would go on to film "Wyatt Earp" while Kevin Jarre would take his script to Buena Vista for distribution and sure enough, it became a contest of sorts as who would get their movie out first and which one would dominate in the box office.
Fortunately, despite numerous problems on the set of "Tombstone", if there is one thing that the film had was its all-star cast as Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston, Jason Priestly, Dana Delany, Thomas Haden Church, Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Rooker, Terry O'Quinn and many more.
Directing the film would be George P. Cosmatos ("Rambo: First Blood Part II", "Leviathan", "Shadow Conspiracy"), cinematography by William A. Fraker ("Rules of Engagement", "Father of the Bride Part II", "Street Fighter") and music by Bruce Broughton ("Lost in Space", "Bambi II", "Tiny Toon Adventures").
In the end, "Tombstone"earned $56 million domestically and did much better than Costner's "Wyatt Earp" in the box office.
"Tombstone" is presented in 1080 High Definition (2:35:1). For the most part, the good news is that "Tombstone" looks very good on Blu-ray. The cinematography by William A. Fraker is absolutely beautiful during some of the scenic shots overlooking the fields, the skyline, dusk and dawn. While many parts of the film showcases many colors and for the most part, detail of the town, the saloon, the skin pores, etc. look great on Blu-ray, I noticed that the scenes look a bit dark at times. I haven't had the chance to compare with the original DVD release of "Tombstone" but there are times that seem as if shots were taken during overcast or the shadows of the hats are covering the faces of people.
But despite the dark look of some scenes, "Tombstone" definitely looks sharper and more contrast is seen on the Blu-ray release and blacks are nice and deep. Only one scene which was stock video where you a bit of aliasing but for the most part, I didn't detect any major artifacts or blemishes.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Tombstone" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Audio dialogue is quite clear and for the most part, the majority of the film is dialogue driven until you get into short action scenes at the O.K. Corral and the final half hour in which the film starts to have more action-based scenes. But one of the things that you will notice is the use of the surrounds in terms of capturing the ambiance of the outdoor scenes. I was watching when Wyatt and Josie were horseriding and are taking a break and all of a sudden I started hearing birds chirping and rustling the trees. I thought that was pretty cool. Also, you will hear the thunderstorms come to life and of course, the gun battle sequences in which you hear rifle shots, gun shots and more. Overall, "Tombstone" sounds very good via lossless.
Subtitles are in English SDH, English ESL, French and Spanish.
"Tombstone" comes with the following special features in 480i, English 2.0 Dolby Digital audio and subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish. Included are:
* The Making of Tombstone - (27:19) This featurette goes into the cast of Tombstone as they talk about their characters and filming a Western. Director George P. Cosmatos talking about making an authentic Western and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
* Director's Original Storyboards - (4:00) A special feature showcasing the original storyboards of Director George P. Cosmatos.
* Trailers and TV Spots - Featuring two theatrical trailers (:60 and :120) and the "Friends" TV spot (:30).
"Tombstone" is an enjoyable film and for those who enjoy Westerns and for those who like the stories of lawmen vs. the outlaws, the film is quite entertaining and a storyline in which both Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer actually do a remarkable job. Russell as the Wyatt Earp, the caring brother and also not afraid of anyone! And Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday at his most charming and also his most vulnerable and how Kilmer plays off the sickly version of Holliday is really well-done.
But what I did enjoy about "Tombstone" when I first watched it over a decade ago, was how it tried to capture the life of Wyatt Earp and led to the "Gunfight of O.K. Corral" and "Wyatt Earp and the Immortals". Granted, the film is not exactly historically accurate and the adaptation would be of what took place had to receive the Hollywood touch but for the most part, it did capture many of the stories that took place especially with Virgil Earp becoming a marshal, some of the battles that took place and more.
If there was one thing that I was hoping for, it would be a more climactic battle between Wyatt and Curly Bill Brocius. With Brocius being the leader of the Cowboys, I felt that the battle between both men was rather short. Also, there were some scenes of certain characters that felt out of place and this goes with the troubled production as the original screenplay was longer and had a story emphasizing sub-plots of the various characters but was nixed. The fact that "Tombstone" has quite a bit of starpower, I just felt that certain characters were never utilized and if they were, what was the purpose. For example, why was Deputy Billy Breckinridge (played by Jason Priestly) even shown and also, with no historical fact towards his sexuality, why was she shown to have gay tendencies? Also, the character of Sherman McMasters (played by Michael Rooker), just an added scene showing why he broke off with the Cowboys would have been nice to see as well.
As for the Blu-ray, the film definitely looks and sounds better than its predecessor. It's important to note that the Blu-ray version features the 130-minute version and not the 135-minute director's cut version of "Tombstone". Missing is the audio commentary by director George P. Cosmatos and also "The Tombstone Epitaph - Actual Newspaper Account" featured in the Director's Cut Televista DVD version. But the making-of featurette, director's original storyboards and trailers remain intact. But you can't help but be pleased with this Blu-ray release.
Overall, "Tombstone" was an enjoyable Western that I have seen a good number of times. Does it rank high compared to the best Western's out there? Definitely not but in my opinion, it's the best Wyatt Earp film that I have seen yet and it's a film that I just found enjoyable from beginning to end. Definitely recommended!
221 of 245 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A memorable "huckleberry",
This review is from: Tombstone - The Director's Cut (Vista Series) (DVD)
Having already seen My Darling Clementine (1946) and The Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957) several times, I was curious to observe what director George Pan Cosmatos and his screenwriters would do with essentially the same material in this film. There are significant differences between and among them but suggesting comparisons and contrasts would be unfair to three different films which appeared over a 57-year period.
Now on to Tombstone. Director George Cosmatos worked with a large cast and all of the performances are first-rate. William Fraker's cinematography and Bruce Broughton's musical score are carefully integrated within the narrative and serve it well. My own opinion is that Val Kilmer (Doc Holliday) dominates each scene in which he appears. However, Kurt Russell (Wyatt Earp), Dana Delany (Josephine Marcos), Sam Elliot (Virgil Earp), and Powers Boothe (Curly Bill Brocius) hold their own.
As portrayed in the film, Tombstone (Arizona) is a western town in the last stages of being a community dominated by outlaws. The involvement of the Earps coincide with a growing local desire among residents to establish law and order. The eventual showdown at the OK Corral is a key event but by no means the only one. I was especially interested in how Cosmatos and Russell develop Wyatt Earp's character as he struggles to follow his conscience, establish some stability in his own life, and thereby complete a transition from gunfighter to private citizen.
Back to Kilmer for a moment. I do not recall a prior or subsequent film of his in which he reveals the comic timing, nuances of personality, and conflicting anxieties which he does while portraying Holliday in Tombstone. His is a masterful performance, maintaining an exquisite balance between playful humor and force of will. I recalled elements of that performance while recently observing Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. However, the Holliday character is revealed to have much greater depth and complexity than Sparrow's even as both characters demonstrate at every appropriate opportunity a unique flair for mimicry.
I do have a few minor quibbles. First, I think the pace of the plot lags unnecessarily at times. Also, the evolving relationship between Wyatt Earp and Josephine Marcos is not always in focus, even when allowing for a period of adjustment as they take each other's measure. Finally, I really don't understand the purpose of the final scene except to offer an alternative to the neat-and-tidy conclusion which so many other films offer. That said, I think that Cosmatos, his cast, and crew have created 135 minutes of generally entertaining, sometimes hilarious, and often thought-provoking material. Perhaps the more ambitious scale (e.g. timeframe and subplots) precludes the dramatic impact of its predecessors, My Darling Clementine and The Gunfight at the OK Corral. In any event, I enjoyed it.
Final point: I wish all other versions offered special features comparable with those provided by the Vista Series DVD. They include a commentary by Cosmatos, the 134 Director's Cut Edition, featurettes ("An Ensemble Cast," "Making An Authentic Western," and "The Gunfight At The O.K. Corral"), an interactive Tombstone storyline, The Tombstone Epitaph - Actual Newspaper Account, and Cosmatos' original storyboards for the O.K. Corral sequence.
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Own Blu-ray,
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Tombstone has had a long and sorry past when it has come to its releases on video. For we enthusiasts that go back that far this film, despite being released in 1993, saw a laserdisc release but not in AC-3, a definite disappointment as you had a decent picture but dated sound. As if that wasn't enough, when it was finally released on DVD in December 1997 it was still Dolby Pro Logic and while the transfer was widescreen it was a terrible transfer and was not anamorphic. Those anxious to watch the four black coats come down the road in true widescreen and orchestrated bombast wept like Tom Mix at Wyatt Earp's funeral.
And so, the erstwhile lovers of home theater and this film in particular, which should be reference material right next to Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park and other 90s pheoms, waited and waited, and waited some more. Finally our prayers were answered in 2002 with the Tombstone - The Director's Cut (Vista Series), a very nice transfer, a DTS 5.1 mix, a lot of nice goodies and all was well with the world.
Then came Blu-ray and despite being one of the main purveyors of the format, Hollywood/Disney sat on Tombstone again. It sat patiently in the corner, during the great HD-DVD war it could have been right there saying "I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game." But no, it was left. So, it was with great trepidation and expectation I approached this release knowing there was no way it could live down its 1997 release but the Vista release left a lot to live up to. It should come as no surprise it falls in between.
This is the best video transfer yet of this film. It's a gorgeous 2.35:1 AVC transfer. It retains the grain of the original but otherwise this print is pristine. The colors snap and are vibrant, it's devoid of any artifacts and despite closing in on 20 years this film holds up well and is visually spectacular. You won't be disappointed. As the Vista Series transfer was done in 2002 I believe this is an entirely new transfer as I doubt that one was HD. Also the Vista Series features a "Director's Cut" of the film that is of dubious merit. This Blu-ray features the original theatrical release of the film.
The DTS-MA soundtrack sounds great, not jaw dropping but great. You have some nice deep bass rumble from the horses, the shots go flying over your head, etc. I would guess that this is either a straight up sampling of the DTS mix done for the Vista Series or possibly a slight rework from that master material. I don't believe this is a complete remastering in DTS-MA It sounds good though and you won't be disappointed.
It's not bad per se but you get less extras than the Vista Series. Why they put some additional material together for a prior release and then leave it off the Blu-ray? One reason usually: to sell the "deluxe edition" Blu-ray at a later date. I wasn't expecting the little map and the fancy case like the Vista Series but at least give me what I had before. Also there is nothing new here at all. Kurt Russell has made reference to essentially directing this film, George Cosmatos has passed away now, I would have been interested in a Kurt Russell commentary track or some information on the production. This film has a very interesting production history and the extras don't cover it, instead you get the stale "making of" fluff piece.
I won't go into the film, if you don't know this film by now I can't help you. It's easily one of the best westerns ever made and I'm talking right up there with John Ford and the rest. This is a superb flim with an all-star cast and not a poor performance to be found. It's also got more one-liners than you've ever seen in a flim before.
Overall this is 4/5 stars, it could have been better but I appreciate the effort for the main feature.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm your Huckleberry,
Aside from this being a great western action adventure film, it's a true story which a lot of people forget or don't realize. The main actors do an excellent job and the movie has a fine supporting cast. Being an old west history buff, I have studied documents and accountings of this time in history and have visited the town of Tombstone 5 times. This movie not only accurately portrays the town, especially the Bird Cage Theater which is nearly exact, but the costuming is the best I've seen of 1880's style reproduction. There are a couple of inaccuracies like Marshal White being shot in the chest, (he was shot in the groin), and Virgil and Morgan being shot on the same night, (they were shot 3 months apart). Nonetheless, the events are accurately portrayed as they happened, right down to minute details like a bullet striking over Wyatt's head when Morgan gets shot in Hatch's Saloon, and the dog continuously barking afterwards. The makers of this movie did their homework and are to be commended on the fantastic result. They even used a lot of the phraseology of the time and some lines are directly from documentation of interviews of people who were witnesses to these events. Included in these is of course the best line..."I'm your Huckleberry." The source of this line is from the book "Tombstone." By the way, a Huckleberry is old west vernicular meaning, "The best man for the job." An outstanding movie about part of the life of an outstanding man, Wyatt Earp.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's your Huckleberry?,
This is a fun movie. Kurt Russell is dead-on as a wiley Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer steals every scene he appears in as Doc Holliday. Bill Paxton is good as Wyatt's brother Morgan. Is there anyone that looks better under a cowboy hat than Sam Elliot? He plays brother Virgil Earp. Not so much a true narrative as a series of vignettes featuring the above characters (with the centerpiece Shootout at the OK Corral) the film is nonetheless a very entertaining look at these characters. Powers Boothe is menacingly bad as Curly Bill, the leader of the outlaw Cowboys.
Kilmer's Doc Holliday, in particular, is a load of fun. "I'm your Huckleberry" he taunts Johnny Ringo, and although I have no idea where this saying originated, Kilmer repeats it in this film to entertaining effect. Later on he is asked why he sticks his neck out for Sheriff Earp. "Wyatt Earp is my friend", he replies simply. The other man scoffs "I've got LOTS of friends". "I don't" says Doc.
This is the kind of movie that perpetuates the "Legend of Wyatt Earp", but it's also the kind of movie that grown men still quote liberally with big smiles on their faces more than a decade after it's initial release.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tombstone Blazes New Trails,
This review is from: Tombstone [VHS] (VHS Tape)
There have been many filmings of the Wyatt Earp saga, most done well. John Ford with his excellent "My Darling Clementine," two John Sturges films, "Gunfight at OK Corral," and "Hour of the Gun." Both excellent and hold up well. And along comes "Tombstone," not as heralded as versions that came before, but what a brilliant piece of movie-making. There has not been many westerns made recently and they used to be the staple of the screen. "Tomestone" injects new life into this time-worn story. Kurt Russell is a tower of strength as Wyatt Earp. His brothers are well played by Sam Elliot as brother Virgil and Bill Paxton as brother Morgan. The rest of the cast are finely cast and good in their roles. But the role that really galvanizes this movie to real greatness is Doc Holliday played by Val Kilmer. He totally inhabits the character, giving his many lines funny twists, like "I'm you're huckleberry," or "You're no daisy," all spoken in a prissy, hilarious Georgian accent, yet there is an underlining sadness about him-no mean feat with such a character. The action is furious, tragic and rousing. The photography by co-producer William Fraker is superb, with thunderstorms, swirling dust and wide distant Arizona vistas. After seening the overlong, slow "Wyatt Earp," basically going over the same themes, but with little spark, made me appreciate "Tombstone" all the more. Kudos to the the costume and set designers for a original, realistic look to the production. And one last kudo to Kevin Jarre for his wonderful, funny, screenplay. Scenes like Johnny Ringo (Michael Bien) and Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) dueling in Latin, then that great western icon, Harry Caray Jr. breaking in and saying "Boys, we don't want any trouble in any language." And pre "Sling Blade" Billy Bob Thornton being slapped and threatens to draw his gun on an unarmed Wyatt Earp and Wyatt says "Go on, skin those smoke wagons and see what happens." "Tombstone" evokes the time, the flawed people of the wild west, shows great attention to details and is a positively kinetic piece of movie making that makes the heart beat faster, entertains, and leaves us with the sadness of a west long gone, even if it is a west of legend, violent and confusing. How many films on video can claim so many strengths? That Tombstone won no awards is incredible. This movie was clearly one of the best if not the best movie of the year.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our favorite Wyatt Earp,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This movie got slammed by Kevin Costner who was making his own version of Wyatt Earp to be released at the same time as this one. Costner managed to blackball the film so effectively that only Disney (Buena Vista) was willing to distribute it. And Costner's movie doesn't hold a candle to this one.
The performances of everyone in the cast are terrific. It is a long movie that feels short. I always want it to go on longer than it does. My husband and I and our friends have watched it many times and it never gets "old."
It was really filmed in Tombstone (been there!)and that's a big plus. It has a great sense of place. I think this is Val Kilmer's best performance ... quite probably Kurt Russell's best work too. It is a super good western, with all the elements that make westerns a great genre. If you have not discovered this movie yet, don't wait another minute!! This is GREAT stuff.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The law is back in town,
This review is from: Tombstone - The Director's Cut (Vista Series) (DVD)
This 1993 western may have received mixed reviews from critics when it was released, but it has since become a cult classic film that is still great movie that even people who don't like westerns can enjoy. The film is carried at a rather nice pace, and the sublime casting of Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday makes Tombstone work. Kilmer turns in his best performance, while Kurt Russell turns in a near equally great performance as Wyatt Earp. The huge ensemble cast includes Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn, Powers Boothe, Dana Delany, Jason Priestly, Billy Zane, Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Rooker, John Corbett, Thomas Haden Church, Stephen Lang, Robert John Burke, Charlton Heston, and the voice of Robert Mitchum in major and supporting roles, along with some great gunfights and brilliant set design all help Tombstone be a feast of the senses. If you already own Tombstone on video or on the older edition DVD, then seriously consider upgrading to this new edition Vista Series DVD set, the extras are great and well put together, and Tombstone is one of the best action films I have ever seen.
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Tombstone - The Director's Cut (Vista Series) by George P. Cosmatos (DVD - 2002)