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Sales Rank: 2,946
Actors: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney, John Vernon Director: Clint Eastwood Rating: Features: Color, DVD, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC Running Time: 135 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Release Date: June 1, 2010 Theatrical Release Date: 1976 Studio: Warner Home Video
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As The Outlaw Josey Wales, four-time Academy Award winner* Clint Eastwood is ideally cast as a hard-hitting, fast-drawing loner, recalling his “Man with No Name” from his European Westerns. But unlike that other mythic outlaw, Josey Wales has a name – and a heart. After avenging his family’s brutal murder, Wales is on the lam, pursued by a pack of killers. He travels alone, but a ragtag group of outcasts including Sondra Locke and Chief Dan George is drawn to him – and Wales can’t leave his motley surrogate family unprotected. Eastwood’s skills behind and in front of the camera connected with audiences for its humor and tenderness as well as its hair-trigger action.
Clint Eastwood fired the original director, Philip Kaufman The Right Stuff, and took over the reins of this project himself. He may have had a point: this brutal, thoughtful western, a near-tragedy about a Civil War veteran whose past comes looking for him, is probably Eastwood's most mature frontier drama prior to the Oscar winning Unforgiven. Hoping to build a quiet life in a cooperative community of settlers, Eastwood's Wales blames himself when his enemies attack the homestead, and he has to revert to his warrior instincts to help fend off the threat. The jittery intensity of Sondra Locke who would be Mrs. Eastwood, at least for a while, and the screen-filling charisma of the late Chief Dan George harmonize beautifully with Eastwood, who had finally figured out how to add depth and texture to his stock-in-trade Man of Steel persona. This one may be too short on action to satisfy fans of Eastwood's Dirty Harry films, or of the Italian westerns he made with Sergio Leone, but it's an honorable effort. --David Chute