Chisum (1970)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Traditional Western  |   Release Date - Jul 29, 1970 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Brendon Hanley

John Wayne was one of the few personalities who could carry a movie almost entirely on his personality, and Chisum is one of those movies. It came out in 1970, a year after Wayne won an Oscar for his self-referential role in True Grit and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch revolutionized the screen Western. Hollywood studios (behind the times as usual) continued to make the genre the old fashioned way for a few more years. Chisum follows all the traditional formulas, but, thanks to a solid performance by Wayne and some high-energy action sequences, it manages to be good entertainment. Ben Johnson is pretty standard as the comic sidekick; remarkably, this was the film before his Oscar-winning performance in The Last Picture Show. The director, Andrew McLaglen, went on to direct a number of lamentable -- though quite funny -- sequels to movies that he had nothing to do with originally, including Return From the River Kwai, Sergeant Steiner, and The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission.