"Rio Bravo" (1959) - Sam Gall's Movie Review Issue #5 Gem Mint 10.0

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

"Rio Bravo" (1959) directed by Howard Hawks

"A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy."

You might like this if you like: Westerns, Romance, John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Howard Hawks

Watching Rio Bravo gets me romantic about movies again. I’m a huge Howard Hawks fan ever since the original “Scarface” (1935). I’ve seen it a few times by now (Rio Bravo). The near 5 minute silent opening is great. No dialogue. Wonderful little introduction our cast of characters.

Dean Martin in "Rio Bravo" (1959)

The thing I think made me fall in love with this film was the music. The songs Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson... just hearing them sing is what makes me romanticize the film so much. It adds a folky, poetic and epic-tale feel to what’s already there. I was a huge fan of Dean Martin’s prior but had discovered Ricky Nelson from watching this film. I don’t think I had seen Dean Martin act before and was really impressed with his performance and ability to incorporate his musical skills inside of it. Ricky Nelson too but again he was a new face for me. The song "My Rifle, My Pony & Me" will go down as one of my favorite songs of all time. The Sopranos brilliantly use it at the end of one of their episodes.

Angie Dickinson in "Rio Bravo" (1959)

John Wayne is good in this, I'm not a John Wayne fanatic. I despise the racism and bullying of John Ford, I can appreciate his films. With John Wayne I'm a bit less swayed in either direction, don't hate him, don't love him, but I love westerns and I know you gotta take some John Wayne with that genre no matter what.

I’m always a sucker for the cooky, old geezer. I hate generalizing but they always make me laugh. Walter Brennan as Stumpy is just amongst the favorites. Angie Dickinson is a joy to watch as well.

John Wayne (left), Ricky Nelson (middle) & Walter Brennan (right) in "Rio Bravo" (1959)

I love the sort of generational trio. It creates for a fun chemistry on screen. Logan (2017) mirrors this structure with the old cripple, grizzled vet, and fresh blood that I love so much.

Written by Sam Gall on 07/10/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

Official Trailer for "Rio Bravo" (1959) directed by Howard Hawks:

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