A simple little big Hawks/Wayne western as timeless it is today, featuring lot of good performances by a great cast along with some awesome fight scenes and a fine storyline that explores more on this classic western admired by John Carpenter. (Who cannot forget Martin & Nelson singing together, btw?)
There's so much humanism in this American West's classic that i've only found in John Ford's best works. I like the « fact » that Hawks let the story extended on « la durée », so the characters can be more developed. (Though i prefer the cynical's side of High Noon, sorry for Americana's folks).
I am legitimately curious why this Hawks classic is as beloved as it is. It doesn't have the most brilliant story, style, direction, etc. Things we usually point towards as hallmarks of greatness. I do think Hawks' films can be oddly philosophical at times with themes of grief, guilt, benevolence and humility. His characters always seem to be in search of redemption. It's too long, but I still enjoyed it.
"Desire list". Ricky Nelson never did anything that could compare with this film, which is a regular feature of some Hawks westerns: inhabit the unquestionable territory of the western masculinity with the presence of young "pop" lads that would shake this unquestionability. His sleazy posture contrascene wonderfully with Wayne's usual rigidity and brings a disturbing sensuality, unprecedented in those dusty cities.
This is a truly fascinating cinematic achievement. I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen for 141 minutes with the sheer fear of losing something, anything: Martin's career-defining performance, Dickinson's quasi-erotic banter, Wayne's bravado, Hawks's sophistication… 'Rio Bravo' is the crème de la crème of Westerns. 'Rio Bravo' is American Cinema.
Forget calling this is one of the best westerns of all time, this is one of the greatest films in Hollywood history. Hawks' and Wayne's response to the artificial High Noon towers over its predecessor in every way. Critic Robin Wood was not exaggerating when he said that Rio Bravo alone was enough to "justify the existence of Hollywood."
How does one rate this? At one level, it's an unbelievably solid film - whose use of music undeniably paved the way for Morricone. On another, there's the right-wing subtext which inspired John Wayne to make it.