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
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. Gradually, "The Outlaw Josey Wales" turns into a story about forgetting revenge and a fixation on death, and instead about embracing life and rebuilding a community. "Dying is easy for men like you and me," Wales says to a Comanche chief (Will Sampson) in one scene. "It's living that's hard." It's one of the most unexpectedly uplifting and moving films ever made. And, let's make no mistake about it, it's also an action-packed, tough, and exciting film.
Strangely, the film came out of extremely difficult circumstances and rough beginnings. Eastwood purchased the rights to Forrest Carter's novel "Gone to Texas," only to discover that the author was actually Asa (Ace) Carter, who had worked as a speech writer for George Wallace supporting racial segregation and had once created a subgroup of the Ku Klux Klan. Upon meeting Carter, Eastwood and his producer Robert Daley found the man to be a borderline sociopath (he drew a knife on one of Daley's secretaries at a restaurant). Regardless, Eastwood loved the beautiful story too much and pushed on with making the film. He hired Philip Kaufman to both write and direct the movie, now re-named "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Kaufman (along with Sonia Chernus) wrote a stunning script, but after only a few days on the set, it became obvious he wasn't working out as a director; his style clashed with Eastwood's. Eastwood quietly removed him as director and took over the job himself. As Eastwood's biographer notes, "Kaufman was to a degree the victim of Clint's growing confidence in his own abilities."
Despite this confused beginning, "The Outlaw Josey Wales" turned into a magical piece of Western cinema and a huge hit with audiences. It gets better and better with each viewing: a thrilling adventure when you first see it, its many layers of beautiful subtlety emerge each time you go back to it. Bruce Surtees's photography is astonishing, Jerry Fielding's music exciting and unusual for a Western, and every performance top-notch. Few films are as all-around well done as this American classic.
The DVD offers the film in a glorious widescreen transfer with a new 5.1 sound mix, but there are no extras. Considering the history behind the making of the film, this disc really ought to sport some fascinating commentaries and documentaries, but alas, nothing. Still, I can recommend few films higher than "The Outlaw Josey Wales."
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.