Rio Bravo [VHS]
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Product Description

When it comes down to naming the best Western of all time, the list usually narrows to three completely different pictures: John Ford's The Searchers, Howard Hawks's Red River, and Hawks's Rio Bravo. About the only thing they all have in common is that they all star John Wayne. But while The Searchers is an epic quest for revenge and Red River is a sweeping cattle-drive drama ("Take 'em to Missouri! Yeeee-hah!"), Rio Bravo is on a much more modest scale. Basically, it comes down to Sheriff John T. Chance (Wayne), his sobering-up alcoholic friend Dude (Dean Martin), the hotshot new kid Colorado (Ricky Nelson), and deputy-sidekick Stumpy (Walter Brennan), sittin' around in the town jail, drinkin' black cofee, shootin' the breeze, and occasionally, singin' a song. Hawks--who, like his pal Ernest Hemingway, lived by the code of "grace under pressure"--said he made Rio Bravo as a rebuke to High Noon, in which sheriff Gary Cooper begged for townspeople to help him. So, Hawks made Wayne's Sheriff Chance a consummate professional--he may be getting old and fat, but he knows how to do his job, and he doesn't want amateurs getting mixed up in his business; they could get hurt. This most entertaining of movies also achieved some notoriety in the '90s when Quentin Tarantino (director of Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Jackie Brown) revealed that he uses it as a litmus test for prospective girlfriends. Oh, and if the configuration of characters sounds familiar, it should: Hawks remade Rio Bravo two more times--as El Dorado in 1967, with Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and James Caan; and as Rio Lobo in 1970, with Wayne, Jack Elam, and Christopher Mitchum. --Jim Emerson

Customer Reviews:

  • Howard Hawks and John Wayne--great combination
    I recently picked up The John Wayne Collection edition of Rio Bravo. I loved the film and thought the special features were well worth the extra money.

    I hadn't seen the film in years and I was surprised at how good it is. Many critics rank it high on any list of John Wayne films--or even Westerns in general--but I carried a negative image of the movie due to Ricky Nelson. He was a pop star and teen idol in 1959, and I thought he was unsuited for the role of a gunslinger. Especially with his puffed up, slick hairdo. (He should have kept his hat on, like Yul Brenner in the The Magnificent Seven (Special Edition).) With some years to mellow my biases, I realize Nelson didn't do that bad of a job and the rest of the film certainly out weighed his somewhat thin performance and high-pitched voice.

    The Special features are the reason to buy this edition. The John Wayne Westerns Trailer Gallery alone are worth the price of admission. (These were trailers for his films before Stagecoach.) John Carpenter and Richard Schickel do an informative and entertaining commentary, and the featurettes are all worth the time. In fact, I spent three enjoyable nights with the two disc set.
    ...more info
  • Blu Ray Version Is Good, When It Could Have Been...

    Apart from the fact that Ricky Nelson couldn't act to save his life (he plays the fast gun Colorado), the big revelation in Howard Hawks' High Noon rerun is Dean Martin who is just superb as the drink-obsessed Dutch - sidekick to sheriff John Wayne and his trusty buddy Walter Brennnan.

    The Blu Ray version is disappointing print wise for the opening credits - there's blocking, speckles on the print etc, but thankfully it doesn't stay that way for long. Although there are other weak points in the transfer later on in the movie, for about 90 % of the time I'd say it looks really good - not great - but certainly better than any other version of it that I've ever seen.

    There's a nighttime sequence where one of the bad guys hiding out in a barn near the prison tries to shoot John Wayne - it cuts to Dutch outside worried about his friend inside - the clarity of sweat and dirt on Dean Martin is wonderful to see - and startling. When Angie Dickenson is stopped by John Wayne at her bedroom door suspected of card shark tricks in the saloon she's just left below, her face and clothing look sensational too (what a beauiful woman she was). But then in other places there's a disappointing feeling of the focus being slightly off or the print's vibrancy being washed out.

    It might just be that in 1959 the colour process was not quite there yet, but you can't help but feel that if this negative had been given real care and effort - the print would have been a genuine joy to look at - rather than being something that just ellicits the word 'good' out of you every now and then.

    "Rio Bravo" is a very good transfer to Blu Ray, but like so many oldies that aren't treated to proper restoration, you can't help but feel that an opportunity was missed here - because it's a Western that's stood the test of time....more info
  • Rio Bravo
    Westerns are finally on Blu-Ray and the classics are good to pick up over time. They make to many bad new movies so when you want to buy a new movie add an old western, you can't miss....more info
  • Old Movies and Blue Ray
    I love the movie, Rio Bravo. Have seen it hundreds of times and now after watching it on Blue Ray, I seen things that I'd never noticed before. Amazing picture quality. They just gotta get more "old" standby movies out on's like watching a whole new movie....more info
  • Four stars for Walter Brennan.
    Walter Brennan as "Stumpy" is so damn funny. He broke the mold by acting so darn crusty, he simply crumbles into dust and blows away as the final credits roll. Now, about the film's other qualities. The movie looks like Howard Hawks was doing a pilot for a TV Western during the "golden age" of TV westerns like Gunsmoke and The Rifleman. It looks shot on some CBS soundstage. Ironically, I believe Walter Brennan had the most TV experience on the shoot and he comes across as the most cinematic character in the movie. Okay, John Wayne is pretty good here as well - but nowhere near the presence Hawks got out of him in Red River. Great special features and a sorta enthusiastic audio commentary by Hawks' disciple, the director John Carpenter....more info
  • Great,but where,s YELLOWSTONE KELLY/
    Although The Searchers is my no 1,there is no doubt about the class of Rio Bravo.If the Documentaries are even half as good as The Searchers 50th Anniversary Special Edition then, very well done Warners.
    Kelly J Colvin reports that there are more Special Editions on the way.
    WHERE IS YELLOWSTONE KELLY,Widescreen please;;
    Rio Bravo has been reviewed thousands of times,i think we all agree about its status as an All Time Classic.
    WHERE IS YELLOWSTONE KELLY?;;Not even on VHS,never mind DVD,AN ABSOLUTE SCANDAL,C,mon Warners,what are you playing at? A whole generation loved this classic,SO PLEASE DO SOMETHING;;
    Davy,westernnut....more info
  • Here, here to BT Cat
    Right on the write on. How many times can we get ripped off? I guess a lot according to how may times "Special Editions" keep poppin' up. I whole heartedly agree and I stopped buying these rip off special editions a long time ago....more info
  • 5 great stars in one great movie
    I had not seen this movie in over thirty years, so I had forgotten just how good it was. To start with, you have John Wayne in the lead. Then you have Dean Martin in one of his few serious roles. Then comes Ricky Nelson, who could have been a great actor if he had been given a few more serious roles and not simply used as a cameo to bring in the teenage girls. Angie dickinson, doing her best as romantic interest for a man old enough to be her father. Then we come to Walter Brennan at his crotchety best. With a cast like this you just have to have a good movie, but add in a plot with more twists than a fifty foot lariat, then top it off with a great song sung by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson. Pure entertainment. No deep philosophy, just lots of action and adventure. Treat yourself to a piece of the time when movies were made for fun....more info
  • Nelson and Martin lend added flavor
    This John Wayne classic has the added flavor of great voices, which only enhances this terrific western. A very young Ricky Nelson and Dean Martin do a wonderful duet, one I hadn't heard before. Throw in Angie Dickinson as a femme fatale and you've got some well-matched actors having great fun with their characters. Wayne is a sheriff who is put to the test when he must arrest the brother of a rich rancher. Though the charge is murder, the rich rancher will stop at nothing to get his scoundrel of a brother out of jail. Wayne is left with a drunk, a greenhorn and a limping old man to help him fend off the bad guys.

    Chrissy K. McVay - Author...more info
  • OOPS!!
    Full but painful disclosure compels me to own up to the fact that I had this all wrong. I had just bought a new DVD player, and I had been using a B&W movie for the hook-up. This was the only movie I had seen on the new player until popping in this version of Rio Bravo, which, as stated previously, had a sickly green tint to it. I discovered only after writing the first review that I of course had an incorrect hook-up. I fixed it and the movie plays great. My apologies to Duke and Stumpy.

    Saw this movie during its first run as a nine-year-old and loved it. Still do. But the color reproduction on this DVD is scandalous, and bears absolutely no comparison to its original state. The rich, vibrant color of the original has been replaced by a Dr. Seussian green, making every character look as if they are suffering from sea sickness. This makes the movie unwatchable,despite its low cost.Thank God a new version is due out soon. Save your money for that one. ...more info
  • A movie so good that Hawks later remade it - twice!
    This is a Western (Waynestern) that people either love or dismiss. I love it. For me, many of the things people complain about are its virtues. John Wayne has an important role as Sheriff John T. Chance, but there is plenty of room for the other stars. Dean Martin gives one of his better performances as Dude. Martin shows some real depth as a drunk trying to find his way back. Ricky Nelson was such a youngster, but he pulls off the role of the outsider who finally has to pick a side and joins the right team. I have to tell you, though, that seeing him light all those cigarettes, well, I can imagine that it caused a bit of a scandal back then. While I don't have any direct memory of it, he was such a teen idol that I can't imagine that parents were seeing him smoking at 18.

    Angie Dickinson was spectacular as Feathers. She was amazingly beautiful, but not in a model or dollhouse way. In many ways, Feathers is Slim Browning from "To Have and Have Not" and more than a few of her scenes are obviously based on scenes from that movie. Howard Hawks admits it, many critics have noted it, and even Angie Dickinson has commented on her discovering it years later when watching the movie on TV.

    Remember, back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, movies were not brought back to the theaters very often and were not yet played on television (at least not much) until the 60s. So, reusing effective plots and dialogue would only make sense. Many have noted that Hawks tweaked the plot of this movie in "El Dorado" and "Rio Lobo". The similarities are easy to spot. Does this make them lesser movies? I don't think so. Does Handel's having reused earlier compositions to create "Messiah" so quickly diminish the majesty, beauty, and popularity of that oratorio? Of course not! They are just products of a certain time and set of cultural expectations.

    The opening scene of the movie (almost five minutes long) has not a single word and is wonderfully effective. Dude (Dean Martin) is obviously sick for some whiskey and thinks he is being offered a drink, but the vicious Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) mocks him by throwing a dollar coin in a spittoon. As Dude gets down to reach into the slop inside the spittoon to get the dollar, Chance (Wayne) kicks it away. In the ensuing fight, a man is killed and Burdette is taken into custody. The central plot of the movie is how Chance, Dude, and Stumpy (Walter Brennan in a marvelous performance) have to hold Joe in the jail while his rich and powerful brother, Nathan (John Russell) tries to spring him. The several side plots are Dudes struggle with withdrawal from booze, Feathers and Wayne developing a romance, Whether Colorado will join the right side or view the struggle as someone else's problem.

    Another famous performance from the movie was from the diminutive Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez as Carlos. Some find his performance too caricatured and politically incorrect, but I think he was just a charming guy that people related to. I don't see anything in the character to laugh at except his predicaments. The sight of him against Wayne (more than foot taller) is always a hoot, as well. There is one more serious scene where Wayne is off the porch and Pedro is on it, so they carry on the dialog more or less eye to eye without any patronization whatsoever. The Carlos character doesn't run from the fight, either. He shows up at the last battle with his shotgun and some extra rifle shells for Chance. That kind of loyalty and bravery is praising the character rather than diminishing him. Gonzalez Gonzalez just had a special charm and he should be credited for it.

    The pace of the movie seems slow to modern audiences, but I really enjoy the way the movie develops it characters with conversations not directly tied to the action. When the action scenes do come the fury and quickness gives them great power without having to resort to gore or extreme violence (although characters are killed in the movie). Most of the emotional tension comes in scenes setting up the action scenes, which tend to be over quickly. The final confrontation is a classic and is always fun to watch.

    A good family film, too. While the relationship between Feathers and Chance caused some concerns in 1959, but people today would be hard pressed to figure out why. Besides, it is the way all loner men and their women get along in Westerns, isn't it?

    The extras on the second disk are quite good. There is a tribute to the works of Howard Hawks that is most interesting. Another feature on this movie that I quite enjoyed, and a short on the way Old Tucson has been used in many Westerns past and present.

    The voice over commentary has Richard Schickel and John Carpenter. They are not speaking together, but their comments are edited in as appropriate. Carpenter's comments are more interesting and to the point than Schickel's. Schickel seems to be talking off the cuff and gets several things wrong. For example, he says this movie was Hawks' reaction to "3:10 to Yuma", but Hawks says in the other extras that it was the Sheriff running around for help in "High Noon" that he disliked so much. He also says that it is Glenn Ford as the Sheriff in that movie trying to get help to move his prisoner that upset Hawks. But it is Glenn Ford who is the bad guy and Van Heflin, a failing rancher trying to save his ranch, his marriage, the respect of his boys and himself that leads him to take the risks. Schickel also notes that Wayne uses a pump action rifle in "Rio Bravo", but it is obviously a lever action rifle. I believe it was a Winchester with a short barrel, but I am not a gun hobbyist. These are small things, but they affect that value of the commentary. It sounds as if he was just talking off the top of his head without preparation. My advice; don't do that.

    The color of the movie looks great and I recommend this movie and extras very much.

    Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
    ...more info
  • My Favorite Western.
    Very good, very fun, the very best. This movie is realy brilient. If you are a fan of westerns than you have to see this. It is funny, It has good action, it has good romanse and there are alot of cool gun fights. Every thing a western needs is in this movie. It also has very good acting....more info
  • A True Western Classic
    This was a huge movie when it came out, it had John Wayne at the hight of his popularity, Dean Martin at the rise of his, Ricky Nelson, america's T.V. teen idol and Walter Brennan who played Grandpa Amos on the highly rated T.V. show, The Real McCoy's.

    I saw this at the movies three times in one week when I was a kid. I talked my mother into taking me, then the next night my grandparents stoped by and asked if my sister and me wanted to go see it with them ( she didn't, but I jumped on the chance ! )and two days after that , I saw it with my best friend at the matinee!

    It had John Wayne being John Wayne, a sheriff standing off the bad guys from breaking his prisoner out of his jail. Helped by Dean Martin, the town drunk who used to be a gunslinger, Ricky Nelson, the enigmatic ( actually, just sort of creepy in retrospect ) " The Kid " and the always entertaining Walter Brennan as his deputy, OH ! and leave us not forget Angie Dickinson, who didn't add much to the plot, but was mighty nice to look at.

    What a great era, what a great time, what a great movie! ...more info
  • Very Good Movie/Very Good Quality
    Very good movie and the quality was excellent. I've been very impressed with the quality of HD-DVDs, especially with older movies. (Note: you need an HD-DVD Player to view movie)...more info
  • More than expected...
    If you are thinking about buying this movie you already know it is arguably the best western ever made, so I'm going to tell about why you should buy this edition over previous ones.
    This edition provided more than I expected, aside from the usual extras included in the DVD's. I'm referring particularly to the collector's photographs that come in this edition and that took me by surprise. They are great production shots of H. Hawks, J. Wayne, Dean Martin, and the crew of the film.
    If you love this movie, you'll love what this two-disc special edition brings... a lot of stuff that takes you closer and deeper into the movie than anytime before.

    Buy it and enjoy......more info
  • rio bravo
    a superb film with outstanding actors
    this is without doubt a classic western
    that rates with the best...more info
  • High Noon vs. Rio Bravo
    High Noon vs. Rio Bravo?

    Should we think of it as a competition when Rio Bravo was made as a protest against the way Will Kane had to go around the town looking for special deputies only to get turned down?

    The behind-the-scenes talk is that both John Wayne and director Howard Hawks had contempt for High Noon and the way its protagonist went looking for help to fight the bad guys. Guess these two guys never heard of the Second Amendment or even of special deputies or posses!

    Actually as stand-alone stories both movies have messages worth learning. One should see true life experiences in both of them. In High Noon the town's people all had excuses for why helping out their marshal wasn't good for them at the moment. Good thing the men who fought for us in the Revolutionary War didn't refuse to join the Army because they "got a wife and kids".

    And make no mistake, the U.S. Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment in the base of our political system as a way for the citizenry to remain armed in order to oppose tyranny. Now it may be true that they were worried more about tyranny from oppressive governments both foreign and domestic, but just how good would the people of Kane's town be against tyranny on a national scale when they couldn't even be bothered to stand up against it in their own back yard?

    In High Noon Will Kane eventually finds help from his own wife who comes to see that she owes more loyalty to her vows to her husband than to some goofy religious belief that says that to fight evil you lie down in front of it and spread your legs -- figuratively, if not literally.

    In Rio Bravo the sheriff says upholding the law is the job of professionals, then what does he do? Like his friend says, he employs a drunk and a cripple, and then decides he needs more help and looks to a teenager and deputizes the kid. LOL Said cripple, by the way, who so unprofessionally shoots and nearly blows the head off of a fellow deputy and can't even admit it when he made a mistake. ("How was I supposed to know the Dude was gonna go and git hisself duded up? Huh?... HUH???") And then when Feathers tries to sit guard in the lobby of the hotel and falls asleep Chance treats her tenderly for her effort and carries her off to bed. Looks like Wayne and Hawks couldn't make up their minds just what it was they believed! Sort of schizoid, IMO.

    Too bad for them, but no reason for us to not take away some important lessons from both of these movies, one of which is that it seems it is never comfortable or convenient nor can we expect the timing to be "right" when we are called upon to stand up against evil; and having one's personal demons going on inside is no excuse to bow out of the fray, turn inward, and forsake the common good....more info
  • A Western for Every Film Collection
    I am addicted to the films of Howard Hawks and this must be my favorite one of his films. It is difficult for me to articulate the attraction, but I have never tired of watching it. This is the film that is credited with saving Dean Martin's career, boosting the career of Angie Dickinson and just giving John Wayne another classic role. I particularly like the way the entire story is set up in the first 5 minutes of the film without any dialog. Hawks lets his camera do his talking. The movie could be characterized as an action film, but throughout the characters actually talk to each other. This is a movie that belongs in every collection, no matter your preferred genre....more info
  • Get the Original DVD
    The movie is Howard Hawks' and John Wayne's follow up to Red River and when taken together must be considered the Best of the genre.

    In my opinion this edition is too dark. The original while not of perfect quality is brighter and very enjoyable.
    ...more info
  • Good, but it has short-comings
    Rio Bravo is my favorite Duke movie and I could sit here all day and review it. So I am soley reviewing the DVD treatment.


    Someone said previously that this 'new' transfer was darker than the previous bare bones DVD. I had my doubts but it's the truth. I took screencaps of both versions, compared them and this one is definitely darker. The other version even seems slightly sharper. This is my biggest beef with this release.


    For being a film historian/critic, Richard Schickel is extremely boring and I couldn't totally trust anything he said after he called the Duke's rifle a pump-action. He also said "Hawksian" so often that I don't care to hear the word ever again. Both him and Carpenter are essentially repeating what they say in the featurettes. It is more about Hawks than Rio Bravo. Angie Dickinson or someone who worked on the film would have been much better, providing us with some stories.


    The Howard Hawks featurette is pretty interesting and I learned alot (although it has been pointed out as a double-dip also apearing on another Hawks' DVD.)


    Excellent featurette with alot of interviews including Angie Dickinson. Very well produced. I will probably watch it again in the future, which is more than I can say for most making-ofs.


    This shorter featurette was neat. I never even knew about Old Tucson and it was pretty fascinating. This and 'Commemoration' are in widescreen which is hard to come by in featurettes of older movies.


    Trailers from his lesser-known earlier films including The Big Stampede, Haunted Gold, Somewhere in Sonora, The Man From Monterey and Rio Bravo (of course). It doesn't make much sense to have these on Disc 1 when the rest of the special features are on Disc 2.

    This Two-Disc Special Edition comes with some nice production photos. If you want more of the physical stuff like that, buy the Ultimate Collector's Edition.

    The film itself is unquestionably 5 stars. But I had to knock off 1 star due to the inferior transfer, pointless commentary and overall awkward layout. I'll keep my bare bones release for the better transfer and this too for the special features....more info