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The Outlaw Josey Wales
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An Army of One
The Outlaw Josey Wales tells the story of a Missouri farmer living a peaceful life — until his family is brutally murdered during the Civil War. To get revenge for the death of his wife and son, Wales becomes a Confederate soldier and joins a band of unscrupulous guerilla raiders. When the war ends, Wales refuses to surrender and heads out west to escape the law. When he meets up with a group of settlers in need of his protection, he sees a chance to lead a good and useful life once again. But Josey Wales has a price on his head and everyone is out to get it.
This was the first of six films made by real-life couple Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke and marked the beginning of their long-term relationship.
Of all the movies Eastwood has made, he claims The Outlaw Josey Wales is his favorite.
In 1996, the Library of Congress identified the film as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant,” and it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
The film was included in Time Magazine’s list of top 10 movies of 1976.
The movie received much praise from Native Americans for its non-stereotypical portrayal of their people.
An Action-Packed Western Movie
- Starring and directed by four-time Academy award winner Clint Eastwood
- Based on the book “Gone to Texas,” written by Forrest Carter
- A must-own for fans of classic Spaghetti Westerns
- Bonus material includes production notes, commentaries and more
- Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Meet the Cast
Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood)
Wales is a peaceable Missouri farmer-turned-outlaw, driven to revenge when his family is brutally murdered by a band of pro-Union Jayhawkers.
Laura Lee (Sondra Locke)
Laura Lee is a young woman who has been captured by a band of Comancheros. Wales comes to her rescue and helps her escape.
Lone Watie (Chief Dan George)
An old Cherokee chief, Lone Watie becomes part of the ragtag group of people under Josey Wales’ care. Lone Watie believes in fighting for what is right.
Captain Terrill (Bill McKinney)
The leader of the ruthless Redlegs who killed Wales’ family, Terrill is determined to track down the outlaw and claim the bounty placed on him.
As The Outlaw Josey Wales, four-time Academy Award winner* Clint Eastwood is ideally cast as a hard-hitting, fast-drawing loner, recalling his “Man with No Name” from his European Westerns. But unlike that other mythic outlaw, Josey Wales has a name – and a heart. After avenging his family’s brutal murder, Wales is on the lam, pursued by a pack of killers. He travels alone, but a ragtag group of outcasts (including Sondra Locke and Chief Dan George) is drawn to him – and Wales can’t leave his motley surrogate family unprotected. Eastwood’s skills behind and in front of the camera connected with audiences for its humor and tenderness as well as its hair-trigger action.
About the Actor
Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930, in San Francisco, California. The talented director and actor is well known for spaghetti westerns like For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976). He is also known for multi-award-winning films including Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Gran Torino. Sondra Locke was born May 28, 1944, in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and made the majority of her appearances as an actress in the 1970s with The F.B.I (1965), Cannon (1971) and Kung Fu (1972). Her biggest break came when she was offered a part in Clint Eastwood's movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales.
NEW! Commentary by Richard Schickel
Introduction from Clint Eastwood
Hell Hath No Fury: The Making of The Outlaw Josey Wales
Eastwood in Action Vintage Featurette
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Top customer reviews
As someone said, it's the winner what gets to write history. So, most times, regarding the American Civil War, what we get in movies and in books as lead protagonists are folks from the Union side of the argument. But not so with this one. Josey Wales was a simple Missouri farmer who was mindin' his own business when Union soldiers, these savage "Red Legs," came along and slaughtered his family and left him for dead. And so there goes a vengeful Josey saddling up with the first bunch of Johnny Rebs to come upon him, because the enemy of my enemy...
Somewhen during the months and maybe years of warring that elapse, Josey Wales became a very scary man, mighty deadly and unflagging in his quest to take out Union soldiers. Imagine the chagrin of the man when the war ended, and, worse, that the South ended up on the losing side.
It's based on Forrest Carter's book GONE TO TEXAS, but I haven't read the book, so I don't know how closely the movie clings to the original source. What I do know is that THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES left a lasting impression on me when I first saw it years ago. It was this one - and not, say, The Man With No Name trilogy or the Dirty Harry crime thrillers - that cemented Eastwood as an iconic figure in my eyes. THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES generates this mythic vibe. In Eastwood's hands, as actor and as director, Josey becomes larger than life. The movie achieves a balance of grit and grandeur and authenticity. The period detail that's worked in helps to immerse you even more into the narrative. There's a sense of lives being lived unglamorously in the mud and the mire and nuthin' pretty about it. Moments of violence, brutal and explosive and sudden and random, perforate the screen, and it sinks in that sh-- like this happened quite a bit back then. But, too, there's the epic sense of scale. At some stage, as Josey Wales inadvertently, reluctantly picks up more and more companions during his travels, the one man revenge story transmogrifies into a rich, sweeping saga.
And there are those neat character flourishes, like how Wales spits tobaccy with uncanny aim and there's that one illuminating scene in which he explains why he shot those pistoleros on the boardwalk in that particular order. And, then, those colorful supporting characters. Chief Dan George, brimming with wry humor and with sheer humanity, is unforgettable as the old Cherokee Indian, Lone Watie, who ends up tagging along in the bulk of Josey's adventures and who ends up snagging the film's most memorable one-liners. Lone Watie, the chatterbox, and Josey, who hoards words like water in the desert, produce an effortless chemistry. Doe-eyed Sandra Locke, who I don't much remember in anything but in Eastwood pictures, comes in later as the prospective love interest and the token damsel in distress. Geraldine Keams doesn't have much dialogue but still impacts the screen as the capable Navajo girl, Little Moonlight. And then there's John Vernon as Fletcher, him what recruited Josey Wales to the Confederate cause in the first place. Fletcher the practical man who, when peacetime broke, tried to broker a deal with the enemy so as to save what's left of his men. Except that Josey Wales, that ornery cuss, wasn't having it. Except that Fletcher had the bad cess to make a bargain with a viperish Union man. And so there's Fletcher, reluctant villain, roiling in equal dosage of regret and resolve, expressing with his basso profundo rumble: "A man like Wales lives by the feud. As of what you did here today, I got to kill that man." That's as good a testimonial as any on what makes Josey Wales tick. I do believe Josey is Eastwood's most badass role. Sorry, Harry Callahan and Bill Munny. Sorry, Frank Horrigan. Sorry, Dude with No Name.
For those who can't get enough, there is a 1986 sequel THE RETURN OF JOSEY WALES with Michael Parks - whom you'll recognize from films such as NIGHTMARE BEACH and CAGED FURY - directing and starring as Josey Wales. I say, skip it.
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.
I bought this movie for my sister as a Christmas present. She's a big fan of George Cosmatos' movie "Tombstone" and was skeptical of this movie at first, but she absolutely loves it now. Clint Eastwood's acting in this movie is phenomenal. His appearance as a nitty-gritty cowboy is one you commonly see as a representative of Western movies. Altogether, the movie is five stars, and then some.