High Plains Drifter [VHS]
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Clint Eastwood's second film as a director (and his first Western) is a variation on the "man with no name" theme, starring Eastwood as the drifter known only as "the Stranger." He rides into the desert town of Lagos and is quickly attacked by three gunmen. Recovering with the aid of a local dwarf (a memorable role for Billy Curtis), the Stranger is hired by the intimidated townsfolk to fend off a band of violent ex-convicts. After teaching the citizens self-defense and instructing them to paint the entire town red and rename it "Hell," the Stranger vanishes. He reappears when the marauding criminals arrive, and delivers justice and teaches the townsfolk a harsh lesson about moral obligation. Is he a figure from their past or a kind of supernatural avenger? Combining humor with action, High Plains Drifter is both a serious and tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Westerns that made Eastwood a household name. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • High Plains Drifter
    This is Clint Eastwood at his imcomparable best. To me, it even outranks "Unforgiven."...more info
  • HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER--The First True Supernatural Western
    Having made an impressive debut as a director (as well as actor) in 1971 with PLAY MISTY FOR ME, Clint Eastwood turned his attention back to the genre that made him famous--the Western. HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER was that movie. And while it does bear a resemblance to the spaghetti westerns Eastwood made in the 1960s with director Sergio Leone as "The Man With No Name", it also takes on some chilling supernatural overtones.

    Eastwood here is the mysterious title character who rides into the town of Lago, at the foot of the eastern Sierra Nevada at the edge of Mono Lake. The townsfolk are immediately suspicious of him and scared, and they have every reason to be. Only a year before, they witnessed their previous sheriff murdered by a trio of ruthless gunmen because the sheriff found out that Lago sat on valuable land owned by the federal government. Instead of stopping the murder, they allowed it to happen.

    But the more often Eastwood's character gets to have his way with the town, the more the people of Lago begin to turn on one another. When word gets out that the three men (Geoffrey Lewis; Anthony James; Scott Walker) the town hired to kill the sheriff are let out of jail and vow to get revenge on the town, they realize they need Eastwood's help. But Eastwood doesn't let Lago's residents off so easily. Having ordered the town decorated blood red and renamed Hell, Eastwood disappears, while the townsfolk cower in fear at the outlaws return. But the mysterious High Plains Drifter has a surprise for all concerned...

    Thanks to a very good screenplay by Ernest Tidyman (SHAFT; THE FRENCH CONNECTION) and Eastwood's directing and acting, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, despite its occasionally graphic violence and a fairly nasty rape scene involving Eastwood's mysterious stranger and one of the few women (Verna Bloom) in Lago, is one of Eastwood's best films, and one of the best westerns of the 1970s. Eastwood's charachter may very well be an avenging angel, or even, tantalizingly enough, the ghost of the sheriff who was allowed by the town to be brutally murdered, thus giving the movie a creepy quality akin less to the spaghetti westerns and more to the gothic horror genre. The psychological tensions in the town are laid out fairly well, and Lewis and his outlaw partners are appropriately nasty. Billy Curtis' supporting role as the town midget, and the only one sympathetic to Eastwood's cause, is an interesting and offbeat one, and it works.

    Eastwood actually filmed HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER on the shores of Mono Lake itself; the whole town of Lago was built from scratch. With superb cinematography by Bruce Surtees and a haunting score by Dee Barton that echoes Ennio Morricone's scores for Leone, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is a long way away from the John Wayne school, especially in terms of violence, but it remains an impressive mark on Eastwood's long resume as both actor and director....more info
  • More sweaty-face close-ups than a gay sauna
    "Flea-bitten range bums don't usually stop in Lago," the local saloon thug advises the Man With No Name. "Life here's a little too quick for `em. Maybe you think you're fast enough to keep up with us, huh?" He picked the wrong man to mess with-and you picked the right movie. Favorite part: Eastwood kicks everyone out of the hotel; even little old ladies are homeless, scrambling about in the dust. A preacher confronts the laconic, cigar-chomping Eastwood: "Now look here, brother, you can't put all these people in the street like this. It's inhuman, brother!" "I'm not your brother," Eastwood replies in that raspy voice. "We are all brothers and sisters in the eyes of Gawd-uh!" replies the preacher. Eastwood points to the street. "You mean all these people out there are your brothers and sisters?" "They certainly are!" "Well then you won't mind if they come over and stay at your place..."
    ...more info








  • Clint Eastwood masterpiece
    High Plains Drifter is not your typical western. It is a multi-level Clint Eastwood masterpiece that combines gritty western with dark humor and psychological mindplay. Drifter is almost Alfred Hitchcock-like in its delivery of serious imagery and characterizations. Excellent performances by the entire cast with Eastwood leading the way through the miserable lives of the pathetic citizens of Lagos. The people get a good mental spanking by the man with no name, and, in the end, he leaves you with a thing or two to think about....more info
  • Supernatural western 5 stars for content 2 for quality
    An odd supernatural western with a number of twists, Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter is now recognized as a pivotal and important western. When it was released it was blasted by many critics for its violence since then its critical reputation has risen.

    Eastwood plays a stranger who arrives in an odd town called Lago. The residents are wary of any stranger and the gunslingers hired to protect the mining operation (among other things)immediately want to take him down a peg or two. They have no idea who they're dealing with. There's a dark secret involving murder eating at the heart of Lago and its residents. Its corrupting effects are hidden by pleasant facades of the buildings.

    The residents want to hire The Stranger who defend them against outlaws who have a grudge against the towns people. He's initially reluctant but agrees after given carte blanc to the town. He does lives up to his end of the bargain but not before exacting a brutal revenge.

    The film certainly merits five stars. It's an assured second film from Eastwood as a director. The script by Ernest Tidyman (with uncredited rewrites by Dean Reisner)marvelously captures many of the elements that made Sergio Leone's westerns so popular and manages to invert many of them at the same time. Reportedly inspired by a subgenre of samurai films revenge films, Eastwood chose to make the film when the treatment intrigued him. Tidyman's (The French Connection)screenplay is lean and compact providing a perfect frame work that echoes and compliments the films that Eastwood made for Leone. The haunting musical score also echoes Morricone's scores for Leone's films without imitating them.

    Universal has given this classic western shoddy treatment. The cover you see here isn't the cover on the current version. It's a much less dramatic photographic image. Additionally, it's clear that this is just a re-release of the original 1997 bare bones DVD. The film has not been remastered and there's loads of analog artifacts as well as some interlacing problems in a couple of scenes. The film deserves to be restruck from the original negative and remastered with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. It also deserves a commentary track from star/director Eastman as well as a documentary on this magnificent film. There is a promotional film floating around that was made at the time of the film and the least Universal could have done with this reissue was put it on disc. That, along with a retrospective documentary and interviews is really what this terrific film deserves. Sadly, Universal has chosen to release it with little fan fare at a budget price but without any of the extras that would make it worthwhile. There is the original trailer (in pan and scan format) and production notes.

    One other minor flaw is that the transfer is cropped incorrectly in this widescreen presentation. As a result, some of the credits appear at the very edge of the screen. While this isn't a major issue, the film isn't presented in quite the way it should be.

    Eastwood deserves kudos for this fine western which was a pivotal film in his career as both director and star. Universal deserves a round of boos and hisses for the shoddy presentation of this reissue. Hopefully, this film, like Unforgiven, will receive the deluxe presentation it deserves....more info

  • great service
    shipping was kind of slow but i contacted them about it and they took care of it, great customer service....more info
  • Best Eastwood Western
    "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is a slightly better film than "High Plains Drifter." However, Eastwood is almost upstaged by Eli Wallach in that classic Spaghetti Western. In "High Plains Drifter," what you get is the quintessential, undiluted "Man with No Name" character, with all the mayhem and intimidation that comes with it.

    The story is interesting and contains an important moral point about cowardice and conformity. The film ends with a ghostlike eerieness, which Eastwood used again in "Pale Rider" several years later. In summary, "High Plains Drifter" offers an excellent alternative to the countless run-of-the-mill westerns produced over the years....more info

  • Last of the Spaghetti Westerns
    Once again Eastwood does it with great style. The man with no name rides into town and wreaks havoc on the bad guys. An unusual dream of a sheriff that was whipped to death haunts him. As the story unveils itself we are drawn further into the past of the towns people. Not quite like his previous spaghetti westerns but still a hint of his character remains like a ghost that has come to see that justice is metered out. The fact that he rapes and kills does not seem to make us hate him, just accept him and know his final goal is as close to justice as we will see. The supporting cast is very good and the sets and music are great. Well worth adding to anyones western DVD collection. The quality of the picture and sound is excellent. Extras include notes, bios, highlights, and theatrical trailer....more info
  • A Very Well-Done Western......One of Eastwood's Best!
    True, Clint has played the role of a "Man With No Name" some umpteen times, but he's so darn good at it that it seems just as fresh and original every time. This time 'round, in his first directorial western, there's an extremely effective supernatural mood to the film; is the Stranger the ghost of the sherrif? Is he his brother? You never can tell, and this only helps to enhance your viewing experience. Aside from that, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is actually a little short on action. But it saves it for some brief but brutal moments throughout the film (especially the climax, which I felt to be a litle anitclimatic.) The acting ranges from first-rate to mediocre, but most of the cast is fairly decent. Billy Barty is the most memorable as the pushed-around dwarf who, via the Stanger's unique form of persuasion, becomes both mayor and sheriff. The soundtrack is really weird; while the main theme during the opening and closing credits is very eerie, the rest of it kinds [stinks]. The landscape, however, makes up for it, as it is some of the best I've ever seen. I mean this in the sense that in a Western, the landscape is usually meant to enhance the movie's atmosphere and story; and Eastwood obviously possesses an incredible eye for this.

    I was hoping for some improvements on the old disc (transfer, extras, etc.) with this new "Universal Western Collection" edition. But alas, I'm afraid all they changed is the disc and cover art. Oh well . . . . it looks great on my shelf next to my other Eastwood DVDs in this series (TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA and JOE KIDD)....more info

  • High Plains Drifter - Another great Eastwood western!
    In this classic western, Clint Eastwood performs admirably as producer, director and of course starring in the lead role. High Plains Drifter is an excellent tale that highlights Eastwood's talents in this genre, whether it's his "Stranger" type aura or the clipped but poignant lines. This great western has a superb script and exceptional performances by Eastwood and the other actors. Its surreal style, unexpected plot twists and great camera angles serve well to enhance this movies overall appearance. I do not normally comment on the soundtrack for films however, in this case I feel compelled to because I felt the soundtrack for this one is a perfect accoutrement to the overall feel of the movie!

    The premise:

    A lone stranger rides into town and is immediately set upon by some of the locals. Unfortunately for these rough locals, they've picked the star of the movie in Clint Eastwood to aggravate and they receive his quick six shooter justice for their efforts. The locals, being a cowardly bunch, eagerly set out to appease him in every way in order to secure his loyalty and protection from a group of criminals who are soon to be released from the territorial prison.

    The "Stranger" agrees to be their benefactor and immediately sets out to do so in some strange ways. Through humiliation, misogyny and the threat of immediate "justice," he begins to prepare the town for return of the criminals. As a surreal side note, the Stranger and some of the locals are having waking nightmares about the brutal killing of the former marshal by the criminals who are expected to return. What follows is a western that is one of the best and a benchmark for all westerns to follow.

    I highly recommend this great Eastwood western to any and all die hard or casual fans of the genre or the actor. It is a classic western that deserves a spot on the DVD rack.

    Special features:

    Not unlike many of the other movies of the time, this one isn't jam packed with special features because there just aren't many to throw in. It does have a great trailer and some production notes that are quite interesting to read through on the screen. {ssintrepid}...more info

  • Ride out west into the Twighlight Zone
    The Twighlight Zone meets the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I like this movie on many different levels. First, there is no one better at playing mean than Clint Eastwood. The level of mean here almost equals his output in Dirty Harry. Second, there's a midget in this movie, and it isn't some ten second cameo either. This midget, who knows how to act, plays a major role throughout the movie. As far as midget performances go, this guy ranks right up there with the Wizard of Oz and anything Joe Pesci has done. Finally, the supernatural feel of the movie is accentuated by an unnerving soundtrack and irregular camera angles.

    If you're hungry for DVD extras, this release will leave your stomach growling. There's a trailer, notes, and bios to snack on, but no commentary tracks or interviews to gorge on....more info

  • What's up with the truncated run time???
    The out of print version of this DVD is 106 minutes, IMDB has a run time for High PLains Drifter as 105 minutes. The only available version is much shorter. Can someone comment on this, as there is no way I would ever buy a shorter version of a film, and no one else would either. ...more info
  • Stick to Sergio
    This was one of Clint's earlier American westerns and was a pretty big dissapointment (to me anyway). I'm a huge fan of "The Man with No Name" trilogy of spaghetti westerns, but this one just didn't live up to their predecessors. What made Sergio Lione's westerns so good was their sense of adventure as well as how much fun they were. In Fistfull, For a Few Dollars More, and TGTBATU Clint is constantly spouting funny and bad-ass one liners, and the other characters are colorful and cool as well (Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes/ Douglas Mortimer, Eli Wallach as Tuco.) Clint, as always, is a great western actor, but the sense of fun is gone and the movie is boring and too dark, the climax is cool, but the annoying midget and the supernatural theme keep this from being a Clint classic. Instead try Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider, Unforgiver, "Man With No Name" series, and the BEST western ever, Once Upon A Time In The West...more info
  • High Plains Drifter - A brutal bit of anarchism with supernatural overtones
    High Noon from Hell. A lean, anarchist, and spooky western. Eastwood's second directorial effort is also one of his best. He's an ex-marshal back from the grave to avenge himself on a corrupt California town and the men who killed him. Or is he? It's wickedly funny too. "Let's paint the town red, baby!"...more info
  • A Classic To Say The Least
    Only Clint Eastwood could play a character who drifts in to a small western town, order the towns people to paint everything red, and then rename the town "Hell". Eastwood plays a mysterious drifter in this film, who is followed by a very chilling tune throughout the movie. With some townspeople at his side, and others wishing him dead, the town comes to him for aid due to the coming release of three criminals the townspeople put in jail. With the criminals released, it's evident they'll come back into the small town of Lago looking for revenge, but as it turn out Clint has some avenging to do himself. Great film that gives off an extremely powerful feel of mystery and suspense, a definite must see!...more info
  • High Plains Drifter
    I could watch Clint Eastwood any day because he MAKES MY DAY! Gotta love it. Good movie - one of is classics!...more info
  • Psycho-western
    Disquieting and unique, High Plains Drifter is not your grandfather's western. Eastwood's sophomore directorial effort borrows from many sources and Clint pays his respects to the styles of both Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone for this offbeat western. Part western, part psychological treatise, and all Clint, this is a unique vision of the western that delivers a sharp commentary on fear, guilt, revenge, and greed. The acting is very good with highlights including Geoffrey Lewis as head bad guy Stacey Bridges and Verna Bloom as the lone conscience of the town. Eastwood's Stranger character is a mixed bag of misogyny and righteousness delivered in his trademark laconic style.
    This movie forces us to confront our own moral ambiguity and is a highlight of the revisionist westerns of the time.
    The dvd offers little in the way of special features save a trailer, some filmographies, and a brief write-up about the making of the feature. ...more info
  • Eastwood turns in his typical performance

    This gives the old saying, "painting the town red," a whole new meaning.

    Eastwood is portraying a gunman wreaking vengeance on an entire Western town for standing by while a gang of nasties brutally kills the sheriff. One gets the impression, at the end, that he is the reincarnation of the murdered sheriff, himself.

    This is, in no way, intended as a criticism: Eastwood, like John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and a host of other fine actors, always plays himself. His stock in trade is his "tough guy" impression, and he does it flawlessly.

    His films are always well-done, and he always plays the same basic part, which his audience obviously loves.

    Joseph (Joe) Pierre

    author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
    and other books...more info

  • High Plains Drifter
    Eastwood's eerie, magnificent "Drifter," his second effort in the director's chair, turns the final showdown clich¨¦ of the Hollywood Western on its head: Instead of confronting the killer posse alone, for money or out of brute contempt, The Stranger teaches the cowardly townsfolk how to defend themselves--then promptly disappears. And where else but in an Eastwood flick would the protagonist, for the purposes of intimidation, have a town literally painted red and renamed Hell? Such flashes of dark humor animate the story, as do The Stranger's haunting flashbacks, the austere sets, and the cast of irregulars. Enigmatic and violent, "Drifter" reworks the Man With No Name persona into a mystical folk hero, and the effect is riveting....more info
  • Comedy or Tragedy?
    The many perceptive reviews here cover the film well, but I would suggest that much of the film, especially the first part, is really comedy. The opening scene is amazing. The Stranger rides into town. The populace gazes on him in apprehensive terror. He rides on. More fear and shuddering. On he rides, and on. Even more frightened glances from doors and windows... This goes on for EIGHT MINUTES, until the viewer has to either start giggling or stop watching. ...This is certainly a great and and thought-provoking film, worthy of all the other analyses found in the reviews; but I suggest that the comic/satirical element is not to be overlooked....more info
  • High Plains Driffter
    One of Clint's best westerns. This ranks right up there with Jose Wales and Unforgiven.
    ...more info
  • Eastwood's first masterpiece as a director....
    This is Clint Eastwood's first masterpiece as a director. This was Eastwood's 3rd film (after Play Misty for Me and Breezy), and it still remains one of his best films. Misty and Breezy are excellent films, but this one is far better than both of them. Many critics have said this is a tongue in cheek Western. I digress strongly. Yes, there are humourous elements in it, but it's a morally complex, eerie, and brilliant piece of filmmaking. Eastwood's character doesn't really have a name, but this isn't an extension of his work with Sergio Leone. It has a lot to do with revenge, karma, greed, and what small town America in the west was really like. It wasn't like the idealised, "God-fearing" folk (that cliche gets a real takedown in this film) you see in typical Hollywood westerns. The ending is downright surreal, but it works brilliantly. Even the supporting players (especially Billy Curtis) are excellent here. A decent number of Eastwood's films have some bad acting in them in the supporting roles, but here that doesn't happen. Eastwood shot this masterpiece in 24 days, and under budget too. This was Clint's first great film. ...more info
  • "Flea-bitten range bums don't usually stop in Lago"
    A man no one knows rides into a town with a shady present and past. People in Lago seem paranoid and some are guilt ridden. As the show continues you start finding out why. Three men are hired to protect the town, especially from the three outlaws the town double-crossed who will be getting out of prison soon. Strangers aren't welcome here. But Eastwood is here to settle a score, that's why the sound of whips make him flinch. After Eastwood guns down the three men who are "protecting" Lago, they need someone else to take their place. Eastwood is reluctant to accept their offer until the appointed sheriff tells him he can have anything he wants that the town has to offer. Before it's all over he makes them sorry they asked. But he does accomplish what he came to town to do. Watch for Geoffrey Lewis, who's been in other Eastwood movies and played his brother in "Every Which Way But Loose"....more info
  • A bear-classic fable of the Old West
    High Plains Drifter is a superior Eastwood Western that takes "The Man With No Name" characterone step further into the realm of myth. Is Eastwood's character the returned spirit of the betrayed sheriff or an avenging angel? You'll have to make up your mind yourself.

    An impressive tale of revenge and atonement. Four stars....more info