Thursday, Jun 2024
Director: Howard Hawks
Screenwriters: Jules Furthman & Leigh Bracket from B.H. McCampbell's story
Length: 141 mins.
Theme Song: Rio Bravo -Dimitri Tiomkin
Released: 1959

rio bravo posterRio Bravo is said by many to be Wayne and Hawks' answer to High Noon. They were reportedly quite put off by Gary Cooper's willingness to ask for townspeople's help and so developed this story of a strong sheriff who enacts justice on his own (with the indispensable help of others...) Rio Bravo is the first of Hawks' westerns which deals with similar themes and characters -- El Dorado (1966) and Rio Lobo (1970) being the other two -- and is widely considered the best, often a classic. This is a 'town' western rather than a landscape film, as all scenes occur in the streets of the town, its buildings or the jail. The story concerns the efforts of Wayne and his assistants to bring a murderer to justice by keeping him in jail until the marshall comes while fending off the attempts of his confederates to break him free. Wayne has to rely on the questionable help of the drunken Martin and the half-crazy and crippled Brennan, who each acheive their own redemptions. Also caught up in the fray is the young gunslinger Ricky Nelson (who here plays 'Colorado'. This character was named 'Mississippi' and was played by James Caan in El Dorado...) and Angie Dickinson as the love interest.The creed the good guys abide by here is whether you are "good enough" for the job. We don't know the answer to this with some of the characters until the very end. A particularly enjoyable feature to this film is the singing scene which has Martin singing one song and Nelson another with each accompanying the other on guitar or by whistling while Brennan plays a jaunty, happy harmonica. This is a 'singing cowboy' scene that puts most others to shame, especially given the inimitable, drawling vocals of Dean Martin, well suited to the western setting.This is a good, though long western with a compelling story and nicely drawn and acted characters. We recommend it as a MUST SEE.


  • John Wayne .... Sheriff John T. Chance
  • Dean Martin .... Dude (Borachon)
  • Ricky Nelson .... Colorado Ryan
  • Angie Dickinson .... Feathers
  • Walter Brennan .... Stumpy
  • Ward Bond .... Pat Wheeler
  • John Russell .... Nathan Burdette
  • Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales .... Carlos Robante, Hotel Owner
  • Estelita Rodriguez .... Consuela Robante, Carlos's Wife
  • Claude Akins .... Joe Burdette
  • Malcolm Atterbury .... Jake the Stage Driver
  • Harry Carey Jr. .... Harold
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