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Plot: The town of Big Whisky is full of normal people trying to lead quiet lives. Cowboys try to make a living. Sheriff 'Little Bill' tries to build a house and keep a heavy-handed order. The town whores just try to get by.Then a couple of cowboys cut up a whore. Unsatisfied with Bill's justice, the prostitutes put a bounty on the cowboys. The bounty attracts a young gun billing himself as 'The Schofield Kid', and aging killer William Munny. Munny reformed for his young wife, and has been raising crops and two children in peace. But his wife is gone. Farm life is hard. And Munny is no good at it. So he calls his old partner Ned, saddles his ornery nag, and rides off to kill one more time, blurring the lines between heroism and villainy, man and myth. Runtime: 131 mins Release Date: 06 Aug 1992
There may never be another real western. Clint appears to be done with the genre and there really isn't anyone else I can think of that can do it Properly. Sergio Leone is gone. William Wellman is gone. Sam Peckinpah is gone. John Huston is gone. John Ford is gone. Howard Hawks is gone.Kevin Costner tries hard but he just doesn't get it. Dances With Wolves wasn't really a western. It wasn't even an anti-western. It was more like a political indictment of the actions of the Americans of the time. For all that I did enjoy it.Most of the others since Unforgiven are movies where <more>
somebody decides to put the characters on a horse, but the story is just generic pap. Nobody has the balls to make something with a meaning.I will grant that Deadwood is a truly excellent series but it isn't a movie.That's why I believe that Unforgiven is a fitting end to the western genre. I won't get all rhapsodic and spout a bunch of crap about how Clint made this movie as a symbol of the end of the western. Cuz that's a load of crap. The script had been around since the early 70s when things were still going strong. What it is, is a movie that shows us that there is no black and white in any time. There are only shades of grey.It is also just as dirty and violent as things actually were for most people in that era. Life was comparatively cheap and most people didn't have much hope of justice. The middle class was very small and the upper class was tiny. The vast majority belonged to the under-classes.Good guys didn't wear white hats and not every sheriff was a good guy. Some were violent and corrupt braggarts and bullies. Little Bill mocks English Bob's self-promotion, but at the same time he knocks Bob down he builds himself up. He doesn't bother with courts or judges and he is his own executioner. He isn't motivated by any innate sense of justice when he deals with any criminal elements. It's more that he takes it as an insult to his own power.William Munny is a killer, plain and simple. He has human feelings but basically he is unrepentant. He changed for his wife, but like many changes it wasn't permanent. He won't sleep with a whore but when he needs money he is willing to kill for it. At the same time he treats the whore with kindness and is loyal to his friend. And somehow he managed to get a good woman to love him. A classic anti-hero.Rather than being about the end of the Western genre I believe that it is actually an ode to what came before it. Sergio Leone would have been proud.
This film was a revelation, a western that DOESN'T LIE. The whole theme stripping away the mythology our culture has built around the west, scraping it away like the finish on a mirror and reveling the ugliness AND the humanity beneath. I was utterly convinced, both by the portrayal of the period and the reality of the characters. A large focus was its treatment of the subject of killing. The movie SHOWS US what it is like to kill a man, a stark stark contrast to the casual attitude taken by so many other westerns. We see what we already know, wild west or no, that killing is something <more>
that most people just aren't capable of. And yet the character of William Munny shows us that in spite of the mundanity he embodies in his later life, true evil still existed then as now, and every now and then, true heroism.
Ford, Hawks, Leone, Peckinpah, all of them big names who have defined the Western genre in one way or another across the history of cinema, transforming what started as low-budget action films into an art itself where the American Old West served as setting for tales of mythical heroism, classic tragedies, and legendary adventures. Actor and Director Clint Eastwood is probably one of the most knowledgeable artists about the Western genre, as his acting career began as the legendary "Man With No Name" in the Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns of the 60s. As a director, he somewhat <more>
continued this legacy through movies like "High Plains Drifter" and "Pale Rider", but finally in 1992, Eastwood released what many consider his final ode to the Western, and his ultimate masterpiece of the genre: "Unforgiven", an epic saga about the deconstruction of the Western myths.Clint Eastwood himself plays William Munny, a former gunslinger who is now living a peaceful life as a farmer with his two children. However, life is very difficult for Munny's family, as since the death of his wife the family has been facing financial problems. One day a young man calling himself "The Schofield Kid" Jaimz Woolvett appears looking for Munny. The Kid tells Munny about a bounty offered in the town of Big Whisky, and offers him the chance to join him as hired gun and split the reward between them. While Munny's days as a murderer are in the past, he decides to join him after thinking about the farm's problems, but not without calling his old friend Ned Logan Morgan Freeman to join them. However, Munny's past as a notorious thief and murderer will return to haunt him in this last mission, as the Kid shows a true and honest admiration for Munny's fame as a gunslinger, even when Munny himself considers his past as villainous.While better known for his work in science fiction, David Webb Peoples' screenplay proves to be a very accurate description of life in the American west, particularly concerning the aspects of the uses and abuses of violence in that era. It is in fact the use of violence what comes as the main theme of the story, as Munny is escaping from his past's violence while the Kid is eagerly awaiting the next chance to prove his masculinity by the use of violence. The duality between man and myth is explored not only via the relationship between the Kid and Munny, but also in the shape of a character who writes novels about the wild west, and sees the figure of the gunslinger as an idolized modern hero. Peoples' screenplay is remarkably well written, as the many characters and their relationships are exhaustively explored, resulting in a character driven revisionism of the western, that in many ways criticizes the genre's origins as violent "Shoot 'em up" films.Peoples' script is definitely the movie's backbone, but it is Eastwood's masterful direction what transforms this meditation of violence into a unique revision of the Western. With a gritty and realistic approach very in tone with the script, Eastwood portraits the Wild West without romanticism and leaving out the mythic aspects of the genre, taking the revisionism of the Western one step beyond. Using Peoples' script, Eastwood takes a critic view on the figure of the "hero" in Westerns, focusing on the image of the gunslinger and the use of violence to solve problems. Visually, Eastwood has crafted his most impressive movie since "Bird", with an extensive use of shadows and light in the excellent work of cinematography by Jack N. Green. Eastwood's style, originated by the influence of Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, and developed through many stages seems to finally have spawned its masterpiece in this film.As William Munny, Clint Eastwood is simply perfect in what at first sight looks like an extension of his earlier "Man with no name" persona. William Munny has a name, and a past he wants to escape from, and Estwood captures the image of guilt and regret to the letter. This is easily one of his best roles to date. Morgan Freeman is also very good as Ned Logan, although like Jaimz Woolvett who plays The Schofield Kid , gets easily overshadowed by Gene Hackman's powerful performance as Little Bill Daggett. Hackman completely owns every scene he is in, showcasing his enormous talent in a very dramatic role. The legendary Richard Harris has a small appearance as another aging gunslinger, English Bob, in very memorable scenes where he demonstrates why he is considered one of the best actors of his generation.After starting his career playing a mythical hero in Leone's "Dollars" trilogy, it is actually fitting that is Eastwood who explores the figure of hero in his many movies. Ever since his first directed western, Eastwood showed an interest in the duality of the hero, taking a special interest in the archetype of hero portrayed in the classic 1953 Western, "Shane". Eastwood has explored this theme in many ways in the past: first as a true antihero "High Plains Drifter" , then as a man becoming legend "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and later as a true mythic hero "Pale Rider" ; all this culminates in "Unforgiven" as the ultimate demythologization of the concept, and his final ode to the Western genre. While the movie indeed feels a bit "preachy" at times, the story is devised in such a way that it never feels too heavy handed, as it unfolds nicely as a classic epic tale of the West.Personally, I can't praise this movie enough, as it is easily one of the best Westerns done since Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch", and required viewing not only for fans of the genre. While some consider it an "anti-Western", I think that with this movie, Eastwood's name can proudly stand along those of Ford, Hawks, Leone and Peckinpah as a master of the Western. "Unforgiven" is definitely Clint's masterpiece. 10/10
Unforgiven is about as far from the fantasy mythos of A Fistful of Dollars as Clint Eastwood could get. No pin-point accuracy with 19th century technology, no desire to 'play fair' and face the enemy on even terms. If you can shoot him in the back...then do it.Eastwood puts in an astonishing performance as the retired killer Muny, saved from his life of thievery and murder by his late wife. Now, desperately trying to support his children with no income, he is tempted back to his killing ways by the bounty offered by the women of a brothel, one of whom's number has been savagely <more>
beaten and disfigured by a drunken ranch-hand.The film follows Eastwood as he wrestles with his desire to honour his wife's memory and his need to feed his children by returning to the killer that, he fears, is his true nature. Meanwhile word of the bounty has spread and the events spiral out of control as the sheriff Gene Hackman deals with the guns for hire that ride into town.While all the supporting cast are excellent Gene Hackman's Oscar winning performance even manages to eclipse Eastwoods as the brutal Sheriff. He beats one of the bounty hunters, English Bob Richard Harris almost to death and then explains to a journalist, in one of the film's stand out scenes, how men like he and Muny are so successful at killing. The mood moves from light banter to life threatening seriousness...and back again, with just one move of his head.One of the greatest Westerns ever made? Certainly. Although the fact it's a western is really secondary. In truth it's a tale of the nature of evil and the nature of man. Eastwood uses the gap between the western myth and reality as an arena to play out his story and does so with consummate style.
Unforgiven will always be the last Western. No matter what comes after it, Tombstone, The Missing, or Wyatt Erp, Unforgiven has the final word. Not that I wouldn't characterize those films as Westerns, but the spirit of Unforgiven, from the opening shot of the house with the scrawny tree and lonely grave, to the end which returns there, is imbued with the finality of a spent genre. The feelings evoked are ambivalent and distant, much like the characters within Unforgiven itself. Perhaps Clint Eastwood's genius lies partially in that he doesn't allow for us to mourn. It <more>
wouldn't be western to cry because a story-form is over, it wouldn't be leather to empathize for a broken man who doesn't want your sympathy, it wouldn't be spurs to despair about the implacable and corrupt forces of life which turn men like William Munny into killers. Clint Eastwood presents to the audience the most distorted configuration of the western; the most disfigured example of a genre whose classical conventions were untouchable and sacrosanct. We have no heroes and no villains, only a protagonist and a puffed up sheriff who thinks he's doing the right thing and does in fact have more moral vision than the dried out killer The movie itself is riddled with identity crises, the killer has turned into a farmer and a father, the young gunslinger is a virgin to bloodletting, the sheriff shows signs of being a slave master, and the innocent one gets it first and gets it dirty. Gone are the days of the Magnificent 7 where one rode into town, rallied the brave cowpokes with shiny silver pistols, and dispatched an easily recognizable enemy. Gone even are the days of Bonnie and Clyde where gunslingers were attractive and fascinating to the audience, exuding flair, charisma, and sparking the imagination. They were legends; William Munny is a sad bit of history. He is presented with deadpan honesty, not as a caricatured Tarantino assassin, or a misunderstood old man who has atoned for past wrongs. He is a broken human person, so lost along the moral frontier that the only compass he can grasp is more killing. Throughout the movie, we are reminded again and again of the stark contrast Unforgiven stands in to most other Westerns, by the obsequious scribe W. W. Beauchamp. He was the one who wrote the John Wayne stories, the ones with ethical clarity at least . He was the one who coined phrases like "high-noon" and "hot lead". In Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood, takes apart the classical western narrative piece by piece allowing the audience to inspect the illusion. Characters like English Bob are unscrupulous frauds, ladies in distress are revenge bent whores, and old men really don't ever change for the better. They become that way when sensationalized by hack storytellers like Beauchamp. And when the only character materializes who seems to at least fit the description of gunslinger, Munny is so empty and hopelessly unheroic that we begin to reconcile ourselves to the end of the Western. Where else is there to go? We understand how the old stories were crafted thanks to the insider's view provided by Beauchamp, and what's left is a craggy faced cadaver with a dead wife, a dead friend, and two forgotten children.Every character within Unforgiven inhabits a gray zone that clouds the audiences's ability to easily categorize them as good or evil. We are forced to come to a more nuanced understanding of each as a human being with redeeming as well as corrupt qualities. The two cowboys committed a horrendous crime by knifing the prostitute, but did they deserve death, especially the young one, who didn't do the knifing, clearly felt remorse, and tried to make a peace offering? The whores are right to demand justice, but do they ever take into account the wishes of the victim, who if anything seems to strike some romantic sparks with the young cowboy. By the film's end, they are bloodthirsty sirens screaming at the body of the dead young cowboy. The sheriff Little Bill, compounds the opening crime by allowing it to go unpunished, but later exposes English Bob and tries to keep people from getting killed-- is he protecting unrepentant criminals, or is he allowing old wounds to heal? And of course there's Munny himself, who won't pay to touch a woman but will kill prolifically for a purpose that is murky at best. By Unforgiven's end, the audience feels alienated from characters and message. The conclusion of William Munny's life is narrated by a cold, impersonal voice that labels him a scoundrel, but doesn't care enough to waste much breath condemning him. We are left with the image of the homestead, the center and heart of the Western film, where man attempted to master the wildness within his environment and himself. This house is empty and abandoned, its only companion the forlorn grave memorializing a genre which has passed away.
An old man reconnects with his wicked past (by whstrock)
I enjoy the transformation of Clint Eastwood's character throughout the movie. In the beginning he reluctantly becomes a gunfighter but as the movie progresses you see how he slides down the slippery slope of wickedness to become the cold-blooded killer needed for the task. Morgan Freeman's reaction to the transformation is well played also. Richard Harris' character is colorful as is his sidekick. Gene Hackman's sheriff is pleasantly atypical of the role. All these actors and their characters effectively leave the viewer with a myriad of directions from which the movie <more>
expertly entertains. If you are expecting anything like Clint's "spaghetti westerns" you will be disappointed. If you are looking for an excellent story with characters that all have varying degrees of wickedness, you will be satisfied when its all said and done.
'A Man With No Name' Becomes 'A Man With A Real Story'. (by sjwest)
Clint Eastwood's storytelling gives the western genre one of its most sublime story's. Gone is the trademark mysterious hero and in its place is an ex gunman who made his peace when he met his wife. Eastwood has transcended traditional entertainment to storytelling craftsmanship. He delivers rich characters with deep rooted problems inextricably linked to the villains of the story. Refusing to wither and die away, style has been perfectly adapted with age thus ensuring his maturation into a true Hollywood legend.Besides his now distinctive storytelling, there are numerous factors that <more>
make this a landmark Western. The ensemble cast could not have been stronger and there were no weak performances. The soundtrack accentuates the intended atmosphere of the director. A single detracting factor I could find only just qualifies as such. Munny's whimsical lines seemed a little contrived at times. They droned on like pale attempts to capture the Western era. But this is a consequence of the fact that they were more to do with the character of William Munny. He is after all a reformed killer with a now passive approach to people. Given this fact and also that it may have been distracting since it was so out of sync with what we are used to seeing from Eastwood, I still have to list it as a demerit on the account it slightly jerked me out of the story.Hollywood producers have to satisfy audience preferences if investments are going to accrue profits. It is the nature of the beast. The action and more specifically the Western genre will stick to tried and tested formulas in order to guarantee audience acceptance. But every so often you get people who as a natural consequence of their unique character appeal are able to deliver a story that is outside these understandably restrictive boundaries. Eastwood is a cool individualist who normally plays characters who are not team players and do it their own way. His own way this time is to give the western genre a real story oozing characterization. A sort of ballad for the bad guy.The ballads tune provides the story with a sad, introspective mood, within the opening and closing scenes. The opening scene depicts Munny in his new found life. He is cured of his wicked ways, helped by his dear, departed wife. But men are not willing to forgive or forget his monstrous deeds and in the final scenes he is who he has to be. Such is the sorrowful life of William Munny.Westerns are typified by clearly defined goodies and baddies, but this is definitely not the case here. Eastwood and Freeman play reformed killers who find circumstances drawing them once again to their evil ways. But the older and wiser men now realize the value of life and come face to face with their troubled consciences. This is unlike their naïve, young partner who is attracted to the bravado image of the killer and relishes taking a man's life. This moral issue is virtually taboo for the classic western which glamorizes the lawlessness and the hero attraction of the gunslinger. This is also why in my view no-one besides Eastwood should have handled this movie.Then we have the juiciest character of the movie superbly played by Gene Hackman worthy of the weight of every micro granule of his Oscar. He is the epitome of every hard-line lawman that ever was. The misguidance of the so called righteously empowered, swinging the hammer against evil for good. Hackman must have salivated when he read the script since there was obvious relish in his performance. All the better for the movie, and of course for Eastwood at the Oscars. By far the best performance and the others were good further underlining the talent of the man.The antagonist of the movie is almost always the most complex and thus most interesting to analyze. His vain attempts at carpentry are his way of trying to appear to be a good man. There is purity in building ones own home and it is this wholesomeness that he wishes to capture. In that way his fellow citizens will see him as a simple man only wanting to lead a righteous life. But his inability as a carpenter is indicative of his depravity. He cannot be a good man. The source of his drive is anger and hatred. It is through this failing that we realize he cannot escape who he is.Indeed it was not only the power of the script that gave the audience a spellbinding climax, but the talents of the actors. The actors' characterizations deliver the audience a spellbinding climax. It is only through Hackman's performance that we not only acknowledge his ending as inevitable, but also as deserving. We saw him as a man who virtually thought that he was righteously empowered to rid the earth of Munny and his kind What he thought was an honorable task was one rather of abuse and suppression. He became the baddie in the eyes of the audience and it is he who the audience wants to see justice served upon. Munny was so weak throughout the movie that the eruption of his evil ways captured the interest of the audience. He transformed into the Eastwood of old the anti hero with a far more malevolent presence. Never could we have sensed this hatred and evil that we now see in William Munny. It is now that the frivolity of his mannerisms that I touched on in the beginning adds to the story as it helps to accentuate the turn in character. He is now only a killer, in it neither for money or fame as the writer nearly finds out to his tragic detriment.Those who have only seen his Westerns of old or the 'Dirty Harry' movies may enter the cinema with expectations of such like will either be disappointed or pleasantly surprised. It is the atypical western and an unfamiliar portrayal by Eastwood. But I believe that most people will have the latter reaction. The differences are their strengths helped by the fact that it was a superbly crafted movie with a meaningful story and thought provoking lessons for our heroes and villains. Eastwood was directly suited to the roles that we identify him with, but it is exactly because of this suitability that he eases into the role of Munny. No mellowing with age, no identification with the mainstream, he has always done it his way, and he is so good that any way could be his way.
The Good, the Bad and the Unforgiven... (by MovieAddict2016)
Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" is a nod to the old spaghetti westerns from the sixties and seventies, such as "The Dollars Trilogy" by Sergio Leone, the very films that made Eastwood a major Hollywood player. But this one is more touchy than the others--it features a character who may be The Man with No Name a.k.a. Blondie thirty years after we saw him ride away at the end of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." This particular man is filled with guilt trailing him from his past, when he was a gunslinging drunkard made infamous throughout the west as a brutal <more>
killer. Now he's older and a retired cowboy--he lives with his two children in the middle of nowhere as a farmer. His name is William Munny.The film opens in a town miles away run by the evil Little Bill Gene Hackman , the corrupt town sherriff. In the town brothel, a hooker is beaten to a pulp by two men who get away with simply having to hand over some horses to the owner of the joint. Seeking revenge, the women of the facility put together their small fortunes and put up a stash of reward money for the assassination of the two men.Enter the Schofield Kid Jaimz Woolvet , who is eager to hunt down the two men and collect the reward money. He invites Will Munny to accompany and help him with his quest. At first Will refuses, but then he decides to put down his pitch fork and use his weapons one more time. Along the way, Will and the Schofield Kid pick up Ned Morgan Freeman , another retired gunslinger living out west in peace and harmony. Together they ride off into the sunset in hopes of finding their targets and collecting some reward money for their efforts. Things aren't always as simple as they seem.The Schofield Kid claims he has killed five men. But Ned and Will come to an agreement that they think he's bluffing. The Schofield Kid is like an eager kid wanting to impress his role model. Whe"Unforgiven" is a tender western that isn't quite as unrealistic as you might expect walking into the theater to watch it. Clint Eastwood is famous for the cowboy roles. Now it's his turn to give a new insight into the feelings of cowboys. The underlying roots of the movie are quite simple--you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Even though Will has left his brutal and abusive past behind him, his old personality is still in there, somewhere amongst the chaos of his colliding feelings. He's a man beaten by his heart more than by any enemy he has encountered in the past.Gene Hackman is always good for bad guy roles, mainly because he can create some of the most hateable characters of all time. I saw "Crimson Tide" immediately after "Unforgiven"--his roles are often the same, but there is no doubting that he can create a truly mean character while still adding some depth to his persona.Clint Eastwood is one great director. He has created a wonderful and grim epic that transcends the genre. Westerns have always been a bit cheesy as compared to more contemporary films after all, there's a reason they're often called spaghetti westerns . "Unforgiven" is given the regular screen treatment. This is a more accurate portrayal of the wild, wild west. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is superior, but that's a given.The end of "Unforgiven" is a mix between "Taxi Driver" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." It's a bit depressing, but, at the same time, refreshingly noble. It's one of the best cinematic climaxes ever created. The message behind "Unforgiven" may not be encouraging, but some of the greatest films aren't.
A classic feel of Western with the added brilliance of Clint Eastwood and an equally strong cast (by Smells_Like_Cheese)
I have heard quite a bit for "Unforgiven", also I want to seen all the best pictures from the 90's. I was also excited to see Morgan Freeman in the cast, so I know now that "Million Dollar Baby" was not Clint and Morgan's first experience together. They work so well as a team and bring nothing but sheer entertainment and charm to movies."Unforgiven" is a very good picture that has a real story and isn't just about "cops and robbers" or "cowboys and Indians". How far would you go for a friend? I loved Will and Ned's friendship <more>
so much because you could tell how much they had been through together and Will went back to his old ways in the blink of an eye for his dear friend. I loved watching Will's story through the movie, the first time you see him, he's just so charming and you would never had suspected of his former life of crime, alcohol, and bloodshed. Through the film, you have a lot of doubt for his character if he could go back to his old life despite his promises to his deceased wife. He, the Kid, and Ned go on a trip to kill two cowboys who cut up a prostitute's face for $1,000.00. Together, they learn that this isn't going to be such an easy task when the boys they're hunting down belong to a town where guns and all arms are banned that could lead to a punishment as far as death. But Will gets sick and the Kid and Ned give a lot of talk in killing these cowboys themselves, when Will is just half himself he does the deed himself in killing one of the cowboys. He tells Ned to go back home and he'll take care of the other cowboy, he does so but gets caught and beat to death by the sheriff.The Kid and Clint do the rest of the job by killing the other cowboy and receive their reward by the prostitutes, but Will learns of Ned and goes back into his old habits. What happens next? You'll have to watch yourself. Something that I learned that was interesting, Clint dedicated Unforgiven to Don Siegal and Sergio Leone, two directors who believed in him as a young actor. Unforgive is a remarkable film: methodical, deeply felt, with a devastating emotional and moral impact. It is easily one of the best Western movies. Like I said, it just has such a classic feel to it and you can't help but enjoy it. It seems like Clint might just own Hollywood one day. : 8/10