Sunday, Dec 2023
Director: Howard Hawks
Length: 114 minutes
Released: 1970

rio lobo 1970This is Hawks' final film and the last in his series of 4 made after Red River which are base on similar themes and events, the first (and best) of these being Rio Bravo (1959). This one is set right after the Civil War and features Wayne as the dutiful Union Colonel who seeks revenge on military traitors. With the similar plot elements to Hawks' earlier films, Wayne reportedly asked Hawks again if he got to play the drunk this time. Given his recent Oscar win for playing a boozer in True Grit (or was the win simply an acknowledgment for starring in 200+ films?) Wayne's plea was evidently heard this time as he gets to do a noticeable bit of drinking. This is a role decidedly cast in the latter, more relaxed, and humorous era of Wayne's career. It is good to see him in these type roles and we are reminded of how successfully he resurrected his career and image and so absolutely cemented his legend late in life. These considerations and Wayne's performance are undoubtedly the highlights of this film. Virtually every single supporting performance in the movie -- particularly Jennifer O'Neill's laughable effort -- withers in the shadow of Wayne's presence. A possible exception to the lame supporting cast might be George Plimpton's brief novelty appearance, but otherwise, the Duke is required to carry the movie alone -- and nearly does so. Generally, this is decent Western fare, though far from excellent. The viewer is strongly advised to look in on Hawk's other post-Red River efforts such as Rio Bravo and El Dorado before fully commiting to Rio Lobo. You will find the similar gang of misfits uniting against a common enemy; Wayne taking charge but accepting help; eager women wanting to help the men; an exchange of prisoners; corrupt towns shot in soft colors at night; and the proverbial tumbleweed blowing across the screen during tense moments. For the chance to see Wayne heroically play Wayne yet again at the end of his career, we rate Rio Lobo a GOOD VIEW.


  • John Wayne.... Col. Cord McNally
  • Jorge Rivero.... Capt. Pierre Cordona
  • Jennifer O'Neill .... Shasta Delaney
  • Jack Elam.... Phillips
  • Christopher Mitchum.... Sgt. Tuscarora
  • Victor French.... Ketcham
  • Susana Dosamantes.... Maria Carmen
  • Sherry Lansing.... Amelita
  • David Huddleston... Dr. Jones
  • Mike Henry.... Sheriff Hendricks
  • Bill Williams .... Sheriff Pat Cronin
  • Jim Davis .... Deputy
  • Dean Smith .... Bide
  • Robert Donner.... Whitey Carter
  • George Plimpton.... 4th Gunman
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