Action / Biography / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 7674


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June 11, 2016 at 02:55 AM


John Wayne as John Chisum
Ben Johnson as James Pepper
Christopher George as Dan Nodeen
Richard Jaeckel as Jess Evans
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
789.27 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 1 / 3
1.67 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 6 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JLRVancouver 7 / 10

Typical late-Wayne era Western

A typical star-driven late 60's Hollywood-oater, "Chisum" was entertaining but it's easy to see the rising appeal of grittier, harder Westerns like 1969's "The Wild Bunch" (a film reportedly disliked by John Wayne). Other than the iconic Wayne as the titular character and the always great Ben Johnson as his muttering sidekick, most of the cast looked like Hollywood actors and actresses playing at 'old-west' – hairstyles seemed anachronistic, women had tight fitting dresses, everyone had perfect teeth etc. Billy the Kid was portrayed as a pretty nice guy with his on-screen killings always justified (at least by him) and lots of references to him learning to read, do sums etc., and again, his mentor Tunstall is portrayed as an older British father-figure (he was actually less than 10 years older that The Kid). After watching John Wayne play a lot of 'larger-than-life' heroes like John Chisum, it's not surprising that some people were surprised by his actual acting ability when he finally played a more complex and ambivalent character in "True Grit". What I most disliked about "Chisum" was the music, especially the clichéd opening Ballad of John Chisum and the intrusive "Sally" song. All-in-all, an OK old-school western from an era when the genre was moving away from white hats vs. black hats story lines to more realistic (at least as realistic as a highly-fictionalised era can be), dirtier, and bloodier films.

Reviewed by vorkapich 4 / 10

The Duke vs. History: History Loses

"No matter where people go, the law follows, and no matter where people go, they find God has been there first." Thus utters The Duke in the title role of this typical product of John Wayne's waning years. He utters this after a considerable body count has accumulated in the course of recounting some of the events of the Lincoln County War in New Mexico in the 1870s. God was passive as all that corruption and killing, including some who were unarmed, was going on. Mysterious ways...

The Chisum depicted here is the Wayne character that developed in the decade after Rio Bravo put him back in the saddle after excursions into non-Westerns: tough but fair; ready to do what it takes to make things right, i.e. be extremely violent; amiable but something of a loner (too many personal connections might compromise one at some point). Wayne wears the same togs he wore in all his Westerns from this period: vest, red or blue shirt, bandanna, high-crowned Stetson. He was already enshrined as the personification of the Old West, or the Old West by way of Hollywood. Next stop, Madame Tussaud's.

The screenplay actually has some details here and there that are supported by the history of the events, but this is mostly a warped and inflated version of the story. For instance, in this telling, Billy the Kid rides into town, big as you please, shoots Sheriff Brady in front of Chisum and co., then rides out without anyone so much as reaching for their six-shooter. In the actual incident, Billy the Kid (aka Henry McCarty) and his accomplices ambushed Sheriff Brady, a much wiser tactic. McCarty was wounded in the thigh when he broke cover to retrieve something (a warrant or a rifle) from Brady's body. The height of the ludicrous is reached, fittingly, at the film's climax, the shootout at McSween's store. A slew of bad guys are slain, even though they are barely visible (there were perhaps a half dozen casualties on both sides in the actual confrontation) and the whole shebang is wrapped up when The Duke and his boys come with guns blazing amid a herd of stampeding cattle. The Duke then dukes it out with the Murphy character (Forrest Tucker); they both fall from a balcony and Murphy is...impaled on steer horns. Wow! The real Chisum was a couple of days ride away on his ranch when that action was taking place in Lincoln. In fact, Chisum himself never fired a shot in the Lincoln County War. Murphy was ill with cancer by time the conflict in Lincoln County reached a fever pitch; he died a few months after the Battle of Lincoln.

This is simply an excuse to make another Wayne Western, and dress it up as Something That Really Happened. The efficient director, Andrew McLaglen, assembled a passel of familiar faces — Forrest Tucker, Bruce Cabot, Ben Johnson, Christopher George (he had been a bad guy in El Dorado), Richard Jaeckel, all of whom could be depended on to give unsurprising performances. Wayne's house cinematographer (he did 21 films for Wayne's Batjac production company), William Clothier, keeps things in focus and the contrasts in the bright sunlight of the Durango, Mexico and other Southwestern locations well-balanced. The whole thing is a product of pros in the process of "keeping on", as the lyrics of the film's song say, without any urge to do much more.

Filming was done in the late fall, which must have made for a nice working vacation for all involved.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 6 / 10

John Wayne delivers once again

At the outset of the 1970s, John Wayne seemed to be churning out as many old-fashioned westerns as was humanly possible for one actor. CHISUM is one such film, surrounding the veteran actor with some of his supporting favourites and one of his favoured directors. The plot is nothing new and merely an excuse to give a lot of actors a lot of screen time, show off some finely rugged scenery, and tell the kind of story familiar in western cinema.

The sprawling plot features multiple protagonists and sub-plots, perhaps the most useful of which is the one featuring the real-life characters of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. With the emphasis of much of the running time on these two characters, Wayne sometimes feels like a supporting actor in his own film, although he's very good as the brash, braggardly man with a heart of gold. The action bits are well staged and exciting.

The supporting cast helps to keep the interest going. Christopher George is extraordinarily mean as a bounty hunter and went on to marry Linda Day after appearing with her here. Forrest Tucker, veteran western villain, makes for an imposing bad guy. Ben Johnson, Bruce Cabot, Patric Knowles, and Richard Jaeckel are some of the familiar faces you'll spot en route. Geoffrey Deuel brings some good charisma to his role as Billy the Kid. CHISUM is no masterpiece and not one of the Duke's best either, but it's a reliable western made in a fast-changing world.

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