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The Outlaw Josey Wales

4.8 out of 5 stars 986 customer reviews

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(Mar 30, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

1999 WB DVD release (same basic cover image w/o "Clint Eastwood Collection" border).

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney, John Vernon
  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Writers: Forrest Carter, Philip Kaufman, Sonia Chernus
  • Producers: James Fargo, John G. Wilson, Robert Daley
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 1999
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (986 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305308772
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,179 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Outlaw Josey Wales" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although Clint Eastwood gained his greatest critical acclaim as a director for 1992's "Unforgiven" and 2003's "Mystic River" -- both of which are incredible pieces of American cinema -- his best film remains this perennially popular Western from 1976. Here's Eastwood's own take on it: "I do believe that if I'd made that picture in 1992, in place of `Unforgiven,' it might have received the same amount of attention, because I think it's equally as good a film. I think the subject matter of `Josey Wales' is timeless." Orson Welles himself named it one of his favorite movies!
Yet critics at the time completely dismissed it as just another Clint Eastwood Western-Revenge flick. On the surface, the plot might give you that illusion: Missouri farmer Josey Wales loses his family to marauding Union cutthroats during the civil war. In retaliation, he joins Qunatrill's raiders in the guerrilla warfare that flames across Missouri. When the war ends, Wales refuses to surrender. He flies west across the country, chased by his former leader Fletcher (John Vernon in a great, sympathetic performance) and Terrill, the Union captain who murdered his family (Eastwood regular Bill McKinney). It seems Wales has no future except to stay alive long enough to get his revenge.
But...that's not at all what movie ends up being about. Gradually, Wales finds himself at the center of a growing community of outcasts from many different backgrounds: an old Cherokee named Lone Watie (Chief Dan George, in the film's most unforgettable performance), a band of Northern settlers (including Sondra Locke in her first role with Clint), a girl from another Native American tribe, the residents of a dying Texas town, and a red bone hound.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Of all the years and several formats for this movie to be released in...this IS the best it has ever looked and sounded! Over the years (even DVD) the transfers have been soft and lacking detail. Well, this blu-ray brings back what has been missing all these years. This is one stunning transfer! The soundtrack DTS-HD 5.1 really sounds like surround for the first time. In the past, it seemed like three channel...but now all the speakers are employed (and the subwoofer is used).
If you are a fan of this classic and love blu-ray, upgrade today! Throw out that old DVD and do your eyes (and ears) a favor and get this version. I am still shocked how well this film from 1976 looks! It finally shines!!
I can't believe what I have been missing all these years! Great restoration job.
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Format: DVD
As I am not ordinarily a fan of westerns, I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed this film. It was an engrossing and entertaining movie, and, unlike others in this genre, it is an intelligent and well thought out film.
The film tells the story of a Missouri farmer who, towards the end of the Civil War, finds his home overrun by renegade union soldiers who set fire to his homestead, kill his wife and son, and leave him for dead. After burying his family, he joins a group of confederate guerillas who have suffered similar tragedies. Ultimately, the war ends and their leader brings them in for surrender, except for Josey Wales, who watches their surrender from afar. Good thing he did not join them, as their surrender turns into an execution by the very same men who had pillaged his home and killed his family.
Wales escapes only to be relentlessly hunted down by the very men who had wronged him, as well as by bounty hunters who want that five thousand dollar reward offered for his capture. Wales rides on to escape them, and along his travels acquires a motley entourage whom he befriends and who befriend him. What happens on his journey is classic Eastwood.
Clint Eastwood plays his role as a stoic man of few words, while Chief Dan George is an absolute delight as part of Wales' entourage. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent. Of course, Sandra Locke, as Eastwood's real life main squeeze at the time, got star billing, even though her role was one of the smaller ones and her performance the least impressive of the supporting cast.
This remains one of the more entertaining films in this genre. It also made Hollywood sit up and take serious notice of Eastwood as a major force in the film industry.
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Format: DVD
While he was still a star and hero on the long-running TV western Wagon Train, Clint Eastwood emerged on the Hollywood scene in western-theme movies, specifically his trio of "spaghetti westerns" with director Sergi Leone, the best being "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly".

After establishing another remarkable character in Dirty Harry, Clint returns to his western "roots" as the vengeful Josie Wales, in "The Outlaw Josie Wales". This is Clint's 31st film and his fifth as a director. Actually, the film was started with a different director, Philip Kaufman of "The Right Stuff" fame. After numerous and intractable arguments over the interpretation of the film, Clint fired his director a week into shooting and took over directorship himself. We will never know what sort of film Mr. Kaufman would have produced, but Eastwood's final product is a true gem in western filmmaking.

In Eastwood's western trilogy he was known only as "the man with no name", a loner who generously dispensed his form of western justice at the barrel of a gun (or two). There was not much character development. We don't learn what drives the man or what he feels inside. With Josie Wales, Clint plows new ground, as he plumbs the emotions of the vengeful Wales. He builds insights into the character and feelings of Wales, a man with a name AND feelings. This makes the movie more than a mere "shoot 'em up", and adds depth and meaning to the film. Eastwood does much the same and more, with his 1990 blockbuster (and his last western) "Unforgiven", with Oscar results.

Josie Wales can be viewed with interest and pleasure on several different levels. There is of course the "vengeful man" theme that is the movie's backbone.
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