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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but impressive epic western comes to DVD
Larger than life and with twice as many brothers, "Wyatt Earp" struts onto the DVD scene in a "Special Edition" that looks stunning but is less filling than one might have expected. This sprawling episodic tale begins with Wyatt as a child preparing to run away from home and join the Union army like his brothers Virgil and James. His father (Gene Hackman in a brief but...
Published on May 23, 2004 by Wayne Klein

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not a daisy
After reading the wonderful book "Doc" for book club, my husband and I watched "Tombstone" a few days ago, and "Wyatt Earp" last night, in preparation for next week's book club meeting. To all those who say there is some controversy about which movie is better, I can put the controversy to rest: "Tombstone" is better.

Watching "Wyatt Earp" felt like watching...
Published on February 26, 2012


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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but impressive epic western comes to DVD, May 23, 2004
Larger than life and with twice as many brothers, "Wyatt Earp" struts onto the DVD scene in a "Special Edition" that looks stunning but is less filling than one might have expected. This sprawling episodic tale begins with Wyatt as a child preparing to run away from home and join the Union army like his brothers Virgil and James. His father (Gene Hackman in a brief but powerful performance)catches him as he leaves and returns him back home. While Wyatt clearly yearns from the adventure he feels his brothers are experiencing, his father knows the truth about war and sets him straight.

Later, James and Virgil return home both exhausted and beat up from serving in the army. Their father has put on his traveling shoes and announces that the family will be moving West where there's opportunity for a lawyer and rich land is ready to be farmed.

Wyatt after many trials and tribulations ends up out west as a lawman. He manages to interest his brothers in coming out to help clean up Dodge City as well. We also get the thunderous conflict at the OK Corral as part of the conclusion of the film and witness a wonderful performance by Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday. While the narrative is a bit too episodic and flawed, the film manages to retain one's interest throughout it's 190 minute running time due to Costner's unassuming portrayal as Wyatt. The real highlight, though, is Quaid as Doc capturing the fragile gunfighter as he fights the consumption that eats him alive.

With the long wait for "Wyatt Earp" to appear on DVD, one would have hoped to have a special edition with a commentary from director Lawrence Kasdan, star Costner and a look back at the film's reception when it was first released a decade ago. Unfortunately, the Warner Special Edition sticks to the basics for the most part: we get the original 190 minute theatrical cut of the film (sans the extended scenes that were added to the video version); two documentaries one "new" one that includes vintage interviews and the other a 1994 TV special; "lifted scenes", i.e., the footage included in the special video edition and the theatrical trailer.

Let's start with the good stuff first. The stunning anamorphic widescreen transfer finely does justice to Kasdan's epic vision for this larger than life western biography. The remastered 5.1 sound captures just about every nuance from the original theatrical exhibition 10 years ago. Honestly, "Wyatt Earp" hasn't sounded this good since it was first released in 1994.

The negatives are few but worth noting. The documentaries are pretty good although a bit too brief. Perhaps Kasdan preferred his original theatrical cut to the extended version. That could explain why these sequences show up on the second disc and aren't integrated into the film. The lack of a commentary track is a big minus for the disc, though, as 1)Knowing how the film compared to the life of Earp would have been fascintating and 2) Kasdan's plans while shooting the film and comments would have been welcome.

With the recent deluxe release of "Open Range", I would have hoped for better from this release. On the other hand, great care was used in transferring this for DVD and the extras are roughly what "Unforgiven" received when it was re-released. Kudos to Warner for such a marvelous looking DVD although, again, more extras should have been included.
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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wyatt Earp was a Man, December 14, 1999
By 
William R. Graham (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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A lot of people forget that Wyatt Earp was a real man who had more courage and integrity then most people you will ever know. This movie is a pretty accurate portrayl of that man. Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid (Doc Holliday) do a superb job, although the supporting cast has a lot to be desired. This movie differs from the movie "Tombstone", in that it portrays a lot of Wyatt's life from being a teenager during the Civil War to his and Josie's adventure to the Alaskan gold fields near the turn of the century. "Tombstone" deals primarily with the happenings in Wyatt's life in that one town, which ironically dealt with less than 2 years of his long adventurous life. I liked this film because it dealt with an approximate 35 year time span of Wyatt's life, and the movie is long enough to dipict this. There are a lot of historical accuracies in the movie which include proper representations of places and dialogue such as what is said on the way to and during the gunfight. The inaccuracies are easily overlooked such as Virgil being shot in the wrong arm and the reference to "Johnny behind the duece" as "Tommy." All in all though, a good film about the life of a great man, Wyatt Earp.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic and Entertaining, May 4, 2002
By 
Kate (Naperville, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
Historical inaccuracies aside, this movie was the best I've seen in a long while. Kevin Costner was even colder than usual (as in "For the Love of the Game"), an expressionless look on his face for much of the movie, but anything else would not have done justice to the character. The supporting cast was unremarkable, but Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday was incredible...in my opinion, he stole the show and deserved much more screen time. While many of the Earp brothers (excluding Wyatt, of course) were faceless and often difficult if not impossible to tell apart, Quaid captured Doc Holliday's character in every action--speaking, riding, making one of those cynical and hilarious one-liners (Like when Wyatt confides in Doc that he is his closest friend, and Holliday replies, after a long silence, "Shut up," or when he comments that Wyatt wants to be a lawman and an outlaw, getting "the best of both worlds."). It took me a considerable amount of time, at least an hour, to finally believe the video case and conclude that Doc Holliday was in fact played by Dennis Quaid. How did that large, handsome, all-american actor from "Frequency" manage to pull off a skinny, dying man? And that voice...I loved the voice of Doc Holliday, and would rewind the tape sometimes to listen again. Rich and deep, it was the only thing that ultimatly conviced me that Holliday was played by Quaid.
Undoubtably a movie worth seeing, even more than once, I recommend Wyatt Earp to anyone.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sprawling Widescreen Epic, March 13, 2004
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Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Laurence Kasden's film, which goes further than any other in it's dramatisation of the life and times of Wyatt Earp.
Kevin Costner, in the title role, is perfectly cast, aging from Earp's younger days into old age. The performance is notable in it's gradual changing and mood from a care free, wild individual to a middle aged and hardened man - and ultimately into a serious, but thoughtful Wyatt Earp at the conclusion. It must be said that Denis Quaid's incredible Doc Holiday outdoes all the rest. The viewer has to look twice to recognise that it is indeed Denis Quaid playing the role. The Actor had lost so much weight for the part, that he looks like the dying gunfighter and gambler one would expect, suffering from TB, in a portrayal which no other actor, including Victor Mature, Kirk Douglas and more recently Val Kilmer, can compete with. His Southern accent is also flawless. He also paints Holiday in a more caring light then before, less self centred, but no less capable of violence.
The movie itself, with a running time of over three and a half hours, is a relatively factual chronicle of the life of the mythical Lawman, and of his complicated relationships with his brothers and their wives, and of the hardships that shaped and moulded him. He comes across as a very deliberate person, but also very cold and ultimately inconsiderate, as well as being heroic and the paragon of justice. One thinks of Burt Lancaster as Earp in "Gunfight at the OK Corral", but it is rather Lancaster's role in Michael Winner's "Lawman", that Costner evokes in his role. The notion of "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend" from 'The Man Who shot Libery Valance', is also brought to mind at the conclusion with the re-telling of the Tommy O' Rourke legend. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent with Gene Hackman perfect as the Paternalistic mentor of the Earp familly. The whole conflict between the Clanton and McLowery clans is more clearly examined, although they don't dominate proceedings in the way that Walter Brennan as Ike Clanton did in "My Darling Clemintine" It's also nice to see Karen Grassle in a small part, along with Bill Pullman, Tim Sizemore and Jobeth Williams. Mare Winningham is also notable in her role as the tragic prostitute who assumes Earp's name in the vain hope that some day he would love her and marry her, and Issabella Rossalini plays Doc Holiday's Kate, tempestuous and attractive, but violent and hard. This edition is presented in it's full widescreen aspect, and is best viewed as such, taking in the wide prarie vistas, and detailed railroad scenes. James Newton Howard contributes a memorable epic score.
A must for all movie epics.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and underrated!, July 2, 2000
By 
S. Langland (puyallup, wa USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wyatt Earp [VHS] (VHS Tape)
"Silverado" is one of the best westerns ever made, and "Wyatt Earp" is another worthy western by Lawrence Kasdan. The film is a big sprawling attempt to capture the whole of the iconic lawman's life, from his boyhood just after the Civil war through the Tombstone years, and onward toward the Alaska gold-fields. "Wyatt Earp" is unusually ambitious in this regard for a Hollywood film, and attention to historical detail was wonderful. I loved Costner as Wyatt Earp: as an actor he is very much in the Gary Cooper mold; not overly expressive, and this is just the right note for a legendary lawman, & steely gunslinger. Dennis Quaid is a phenomenon as Doc Holiday: skinny and haggard, he looks tubercular (unlike the well fed Val Kilmer in the laughable "Tombstone.") The photography is sumptuous, & the film score dramatic and memorable. I can even laud the make-up artists who made the 40 something Costner look believably youthful for his scenes as Wyatt Earp in his 20's. Yes the movie is long, and a tighter hand could have prevailed during editing, but compared to the typical Hollywood schlock one sees, "Wyatt Earp" is well worth the hours you invest in viewing it. One of my favorite films of the last ten years. A great film in the western genre!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1a and 1b, December 10, 2004
By 
Many people draw comparisons between this film and "Tombstone" (released a year earlier). But what it really comes down to is personal taste. One is not better than the other. I consider them 1a and 1b in the "O.K. Corral" in the western movie mythos.

My personal preference, obviously, is this film. I loved the epic feel of it. "Tombstone" for me, was more Hollywood with thinly drawn characters, who played second fiddle to the climactic battle, and lots of gunfighting. "Wyatt Earp" took its time. Some say that that is its biggest drawback. I never once felt the movie was getting long in the tooth. Following Earp around, watching him grow into the legend he'd become, was fascinating. There was more drama to it, more emotion. I absolutely adored this film and recommend it to any fan of Westerns and of Wyatt Earp in particular.

As side note I'd like to say that anyone who believes Kilmer edged Quaid as Doc Holiday must not have been watching the same movie. Kilmer with his pale make-up and hollywood jezibelle accent just doesn't hold a candle Quaid. Qauid dropped 40 pounds for the role. His skin looked loose and sickly. His voice was a booming, phlegm-filled southern drawl accented with frequent bouts of severe coughing. Dennis Quaid became Doc Holiday, whereas Kilmer merely starred as the character. Unfortunately Quaid doesn't get half of the screen time as Kilmer, which is why Kilmer has become the popular choice.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not a daisy, February 26, 2012
By 
This review is from: Wyatt Earp (DVD)
After reading the wonderful book "Doc" for book club, my husband and I watched "Tombstone" a few days ago, and "Wyatt Earp" last night, in preparation for next week's book club meeting. To all those who say there is some controversy about which movie is better, I can put the controversy to rest: "Tombstone" is better.

Watching "Wyatt Earp" felt like watching creaky community theater (no offense to community theater) from the opening scenes with Wyatt (Kevin Costner, with his trademark anachronistic shag/mullet hairdo) drinking a cup of coffee that is steaming like a witch's cauldron, as if the stagehands just put a lump of dry ice in the cup. With the exception of the fine Gene Hackman as the Earp father, the male leads' acting is either goofy cartoonish, or melodramatic, or wooden, or amazingly, all three at the same time. Having just watched Kurt Russell's tightly controlled and uber-masculine portrayal of Wyatt Earp in "Tombstone," Kevin Costner's take on the same character reminded me a little of Forrest Gump, no offense to Forrest Gump, crossed with Costner's character from "Dances With Wolves" (same hairdo).

I love Dennis Quaid, but having watched Val Kilmer's definitive portrayal of Doc Holliday in "Tombstone" just a few days before seeing Quaid's version in "Wyatt Earp" was probably completely unfair to Dennis Quaid and his cool little sunglasses, who just didn't even come close for me.

I LOVE Westerns, but this cliche ridden movie--tight shot of bottle right before a bullet explodes it, anyone?--made me roll my eyes. To sweeten the deal, it is over three hours long!

Recommendation: Watch "Tombstone" instead.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than The Harsh Reviews, February 2, 2007
By 
Mark (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wyatt Earp (DVD)
This movie came out a few months after the other "Wyatt Earp" biopic and while everybody loved Kurt Russell's Tombstone / Wyatt Earp, this film got slammed.

Personally, I love westerns and I really enjoyed Tombstone. But I think this was a more ambitious effort and notwithstanding the criticism that it ran too long, I think it's a better film then Tombstone.

Tombstone was enjoyable and light and a very entertaining diversion for a couple of hours - especially the scene's which included Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday.

But Wyatt Earp presented a much more accurate and in-depth depiction of one of the west's most enduring characters. And unlike other Wyatt Earp / gunfight at the OK Corral pics, this film devoted quite a bit of time to the earlier years of Wyatt Earp and the events that shaped his life leading up to the infamous Gunfight.

It presented a more in-depth portrayal of the other people in his life - Josie Marcus / his in-laws (who couldn't stand him for the "cold" character that he was) / Doc Holliday / Bat Masterson and many others.

Personally, I would love to see a sequel to this film that picks up the lives of Wyatt and Josie after the dust had settled in Tombstone. They spent close to 50 years together and took in the goldfields of the north / horse racing and boxing in California and prospecting in Arizona.

This novie had a fine supporting cast however, my biggest complaint would be that the actors I most enjoyed didn't have especially prominent supporting roles. Gene Hackman as Wyatt's father was great (as always) however, he didn't have alot of time on the screen. It was his father who installed in Wyatt at a young age the importance of family and justice.

Michael Madsen, one of my favorites, played Wyatt's brother Virgil, however, he too didn't have alot of lines.

And kudos to Dennis Quaid for his protrayal of Doc Holliday. He may not have gotten the press of Val Kilmer, but you have to respect the fact that he lost 38 lbs of weight in order to capture the appearence of a man who was been eaten up with consumption / tuberculosis.

I think the primary reason I enjoyed this film is that it portrayed Wyatt Earp in a much more realistic light - it portrayed him as a great, but "flawed" man which, from everything I've read about the man (and that's alot of books), he was flawed. I think the death of his wife at a young age had a profound impact on Wyatt's relationships in later years. And I think this folm brought that out.

I don't think this is a great film / western - I'll reserve that word for many of Sergio Leone's and John Ford's films, but I think it's alot better than the reviews it got at the time.

But I'll take my hat off to Kevin Costner for making a film about Wyatt Earp that doesn't just focus on THE GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL.

And as a fan of westerns and an avid reader of western history, I'm grateful to him for making this movie. And in view of the fact that so few westerns are made these days, I'm certainly not complaining about the 3 hours plus of this film.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPREHENSIVE AND INSIGHTFUL, August 21, 2004
By 
Amazon Customer "MRD" (Somewhere in the Field) - See all my reviews
I have heard much said in comparison between WYATT EARP, starring Kevin Costner, and TOMBSTONE, starring Kurt Russell. Invariably most critics seem to gravitate to the shorter, bloodier TOMBSTONE. But I'd have to say that I like both for different reasons.

WYATT EARP is classic Costner. Long, meticulously accurate and comprehensive. I like this movie for the insight that it provides into Earp's storied life. Earp's adolescence and early adulthood are usually left out leading Earp aficionados to believe that he was born full grown and living in Tombstone instead of in Missouri. The story of the loss of his wife and the short-lived life of crime were fascinating. Earp's work as a buffalo skinner and freighter also added to the ultimate lore.

WYATT EARP is very likely one of Costner's best performances, more believable than his role as John Dunbar in DANCES WITH WOLVES and a precursor to his recent triumph in OPEN RANGE.

As with TOMBSTONE, it's interesting that the scene stealer is Doc Holliday, played in WYATT EARP by Dennis Quaid. Whereas TOMBSTONE'S Doc, Val Kilmer, emerges as more of a dandy, Quaid, with the emaciated personna that he assumed for the role (he lost over forty pounds!), his steely-eyed scowl and his rampant sarcasm, is much more believable as Holliday, reputed to be one of the coldest killers in the history of the West, than is Kilmer. Granted, Kilmer is wonderful, but Dennis Quaid emerges as the frightening, psychotic killer that Holliday was.

WYATT EARP also showcases the talents of many of Hollywood's brightest stars. Gene Hackman, though in no more than a cameo, is wonderful as Nicholas Earp, the patriarch of a large family who instills within the minds of his family that nothing matters more than blood and kin. Catherine O'Hara and JoBeth Williams star as the feisty wives of Morgan and James Earp. Mare Winningham is perfect as the ill-fated Mattie Blaylock, the woman who assumed that she was Wyatt Earp's common-law wife and, in the end, fades into a cloud drug-induced stupor. Bill Pullman is wonderful as Ed Masterson, the "affable," unheralded brother of the famous Bat Masterson, played by Tom Sizemore. And Ma Ingles, Karen Grassle, is trotted out in the cameo of Wyatt's mother-in-law, Mrs. Sutherland.

Yes, WYATT EARP is long and drawn out. But the story, the James Newton Howard soundtrack and the wonderful panoramic cinematography are well worth it.

THE HORSEMAN
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Tombstone, Not Meant To Be, September 11, 2004
By 
Bob Siegel (Santee, California USA) - See all my reviews
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Released around the same time as the movie, "Tombstone", this movie is unfairly compared and it is true that the sequences surrounding the gunfight at OK Corral are more enjoyable to watch in "Tombstone" (where we got to know the villians better and therefore got to hate them more, neccesary in a good action movie)

But "Wyatt Erp" is not an action movie. It is an epic, concentrating on a character study of what made this man the legend he became. Costner does a superb job. (better, and with more depth than Kurt Russell, although Russell was also good, so this is a compliment to Costner, not a complaint about Russell) Dennis Quiad is as good as Val Kilmar in his portrayal of Doc Holiday but he is not featured as much as Kilmar was and does not have all the good lines Kilmar had, such as "I have two guns, one for each of you."

I liked it. If I had not seen "Tombstone" first, I would have loved it and that is not fair to the producers so I am giving it a top rating.
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Wyatt Earp
Wyatt Earp by Lawrence Kasdan
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