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Lawman 1971

R CC

The authentic film reveals a deadly and truthful look at the way the West really was. Starring Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Robert Duvall and Lee J. Cobb.

Starring:
Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan
Runtime:
1 hour, 38 minutes

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Rent Movie HD $3.99
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Product Details

Genres Western
Director Michael Winner
Starring Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan
Supporting actors Lee J. Cobb, Robert Duvall, Sheree North, Albert Salmi, Richard Jordan, John McGiver, Ralph Waite, John Beck, William Watson, Walter Brooke, Robert Emhardt, Charles Tyner, J.D. Cannon, Lou Frizzell, Richard Bull, John Hillerman, Roy Engel, Jan Burrell
Studio MGM
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Dog on November 24, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Burt Lancaster plays a marshall that is going to take some men in for trail or kill them. That is the beginning and the end of the discussion.
This is a fascinating film. What makes it so is the reaction everyone has to such an unbending, uncompromising man. The townspeople are not behind Lancaster because the men he wants to take in all work for a very important town leader that has done much to support and help the town grow. The town boss, played with complexity by Lee J. Cobb, admits his men did wrong, but wants to "negotiate" a kind of deal with Lancaster.
Lancaster is not a negotiator. He is a killer with a star on his chest.
This is the other interesting aspect of this film: as the Lancaster character tells an idealistic cowboy, "a lawman is a man-killer. That is his business."
All in all, a tough, lean Western with an unusually hard edge. Lancaster's ice-blue eyes dominate the film, with great performances throughout by, notably, Lee J. Cobb, Robert Ryan (as an aging gunfighter looking for an easy slide), and Robert Duvall. The writing is excellent, also, with many memorable lines that say a lot with few words.
A little-known Western but, in my opinion, one that wouldn't be out of place in any discussion of the all time greats of the genre.
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Format: VHS Tape
First, the caution: the "widescreen" VHS version is a sham! It doesn't show you the actual original widescreen film, it simply chops off the top and bottom of the already reduced TV image! So just buy the regular VHS or the DVD,and make some noise on chat boards and elsewhere till they release a true widescreen version of this beautiful, beautiful film.
Okay, this is the longest review I've ever written, but here's why. I watch a LOT of movies (I'm a film and lit prof). IMHO, this is the most underrated film I've ever seen.
First off, DON'T THINK OF THIS FILM AS A WESTERN! If you do, you'll miss out on a great artistic experience, and that would be a shame. It is a film that, among several other things, bravely challenges the macho ethic while presenting characters of enormous moral ambiguity, all the while featuring a) some of my favorite direction ever, and b) simply unmatchable acting. Oh yeah, it takes place in the West :-).
Winner's directing is incredibly thought-provoking, literally second-by-second. Never, ever have I seen a more thoughtfully directed film--every once in a while he over-thinks, but it's more than forgivable. Just two of many elements: The cuts from scene to scene are ALL great, and there are no wasted moments, everything provokes thought.
Two examples: 1. Two macho guys are talking about all the land they own, and this weird flute theme slowly rises, creating an odd dissonance--suddenly we cut to a mouth playing the flute, then we realize it's Lancaster: Mr.
Read more ›
Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am compelled to write a review of Lawman in an attempt to dispel some oft repeated misunderstandings about the film. The most common error applied to the film is that it is morally ambiguous. Lawman the film is not morally ambiguous as such. The Lawman, Jered Maddox (Lancaster), is clearly the most outstanding and praiseworthy character in the film. The confusion comes in only if we attempt to universalize morality in a Kantian fashion, thereby making the actions of the Lawman "immoral" because of his willingness to use force when discharging his duties. The fact that the majority of the other characters are immoral or simply utilitarian (looking only to their self-interest) in their moral views does not in any way mystify the issue to those willing to clearly look at the circumstances of the story. A bunch of drunken cowboys accidentally killed an old man and refuse to return to the scene of the crime to stand trial, insisting it was an accident and that it should not matter anyway. Thus Maddox, knowing full-well the kind of arrogance and blatant disregard for juridical authority he is up against, states "I'm going to take these men back with me or kill them where they stand." Maddox is under no illusion about the outcome of the trial if and when it does take place. He knows the leader of the cowboys, Bronson (Lee J. Cobb), is a wealthy cattle baron and will be able to "buy the circuit judge cheap." But he is committed to his duty. Maddox is his duty: the guardian of the law. We find this hard to accept today in our era of feel good humanism which seeks to muddy everything in the waters of "moral ambiguity." Why will he not compromise? That is exactly what the cowboys who killed the old man want, a compromise, i.e.Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
One of the most underappreciated westerns ever made, LAWMAN stars Burt Lancaster as a hard-bitten, taciturn lawman from the town of Bannock who rides seemingly for a hundred miles to the town of Sabbath to take in a group of cowboys who, in a drunken shooting spree, had shot up his town and killed an old man.
But his appearance in Sabbath causes considerable hostility among the townsfolk, because they owe their livelihoods to that same bunch, led by Lee J. Cobb, and are unwilling to give it up. Lancaster, unsurprisingly, is unmoved. Therein hangs this solid, almost psychological, sagebrush saga.
Lancaster, as usual, is brilliant in his role of an efficient, cold-blooded lawman, and Cobb is equally special as the leader of the group of cowboys being sought. This is not your typical good guys/bad guys saga: what happened in Bannock was a tragic accident, and Lancaster may be pushing his authority a bit too far. Robert Ryan, always one of the better and more overlooked actors in Hollywood, gives one of his greatest performances as Sabbath's aging, pragmatic marshal.
Probably Michael Winner's best film as a director, LAWMAN was shot on location in central Mexico and has some stark photography by British cameraman Robert Paynter, giving it a look not out of place in a Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone film. It is violent in places, but it makes for very good viewing, especially for those who appreciate westerns of this type.
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