After emerging from the Hollywood blacklist, actor-director Martin Ritt found a friend in his former pupil, Paul Newman. The leading man would appear in six of Ritt's pictures, and, though their collaboration reached its peak with the nihilistic drama Hud (1963), the 1967 revisionist western Hombre was just as compelling. The film was one of a spate of late-1960s/early-1970s movies about the end of the Old West, including The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Hombre actually owes quite a bit to older Westerns: it borrows the metaphor of the stagecoach as a microcosm of society from John Ford's Stagecoach (1939); and it shares the revisionist racial concerns of Ford's The Searchers (1956). As in Arthur Penn's influential Left-Handed Gun (1958), Newman's polished good looks infuse the raw spirit of the West with a more modern sense of the existential. His man-against-the-world act would earn him his fourth Academy Award nomination that same year, for Cool Hand Luke.
by Brendon Hanley review