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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10.45%
Just Average: 4.48%
Pretty Crappy: 2.99%
Sucks: 4.48%

6 reviews, 98 user ratings

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Unforgiven (1992)
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by Slyder

"Possibly The Greatest Western Ever Made"
5 stars

After putting up with recent debacles in the early 1990’s, Clint Eastwood took a bold and daring step to return to his western roots, and dug out from his dusty vault a screenplay written by David Webb Peoples about a retired drifter who gives out one last kill for money to support his family, and made it his next project. Eastwood purchased the rights of the script from peoples in 1976 and shelved it until 1992, because he wanted to be the right age to play the main character. And it was worth it because out came Unforgiven, a modern day western that tackles and dismantles the true realities of how the Wild West was. A modern day classic, Unforgiven went on to win 4 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and well deserved. This film not only revived Eastwood’s career, but also brought the Western genre once again back to the limelight.

William Munny (Eastwood) was a notorious killer, and thief, whom killed many people for or without reason, mainly because he was always drunk, and the whiskey was what gave him courage and aim. Then he retired to settle himself into the married life as a hog farmer, but then many years later, in 1878, his wife died of smallpox, and was left widowed with his two young kids. 2 years later, a young, arrogant gunslinger (Jaimz Woolvet), who calls himself the “Schofield Kid” (After his Schofield model Smith &Wesson revolver) shows up at his farm and offers him to go to Big Whiskey, Wyoming to kill a pair of cowboys who cut up a whore. The reward: $1000, half for Munny, half for The Kid. Munny at first hesitates for respect of his wife and because he’s not like that anymore, but then he sees that his present life as a farmer is a poor one, and does not hold much promise, and he wants his two kids to be educated. So he takes the assignment, and goes off to find his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to take him along for the bounty hunt. But first, they’ll have to come under the clutches of tough-motherfucker Sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman), once an outlaw himself, who won’t tolerate any outlaws or as he calls them, assassins, come into his town and claim the reward, and is willing to roughen up and humiliate whoever does.

Eastwood summarized this film’s message saying, “The moral is the concern with gunplay.” Eastwood finally makes a western that reflects on modern times, on the opening shots we see the sun set on the horizon as we see a lonely man, a tree and a house stand there. A symbolism of the end of the era of the Wild West, when outlaws were heroes and lawmen were the villains. Then a new morning arrives, and retired gunfighters no ride with pulp writers, accompanying them just to get their story, and live off from that, and we see that through the introduction of English Bob (Richard Harris) and his “biographer” W. W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek), whom arrive ahead of time before William, Ned and The Kid. But what Eastwood does, is that he also slags off the supposed “hero outlaw” myth by showing us how Little Bill goes on and beats the shit out of Bob, and later debunking a story that Beauchamp had written about Bob whom killed somebody to protect the honor of a lady, which was a bunch of bullshit as Little Bill would reveal later. This scene completely debunks the myths of the Wild West. Outlaws were not heroes, they did heroic things but they weren’t heroes, and they were as evil as the town lawmen. This means that whatever stuff that a pulp writer writes, will be most of the time a complete bastardization of the events, and how they happened, for strictly marketing purposes, and to sell off some guys image as a legend, and a hero, when the true facts tell otherwise. It also points out how alcohol has an influence on a man’s courage to grab a gun and kill somebody, and when someone wants to kill someone else, he will do it, regardless of whether he’s armed or not, or whether it’s just cause or not, and the worst of it, he will do it just for the hell of it. But all this leads to one single conclusion: Gunfights are not exciting or glorious or whatever bullshit pulp writers will come up with. Gunfights are ugly and unpleasant, and killing a man is a really hard and regretting thing to do. If someone gets shot, there will be blood, and there will be sadness, grief and regret. Once again, the western evolves, and instead of being a mythology, it becomes a reality. This reality spreads throughout the film, where we see Munny having problems in mounting his horse (this is also a metaphor on his wild past), Ned folding when trying to shoot one of the cowboys, and lastly The Kid, whom learns the very cruel lesson about what it feels like to kill a man. Another reflection of this reality is that in fact, no character is likeable, each one of the characters in the film has his own sense of evil and a reason why to be despicable, but that’s because that’s the way it was, it was an ugly cruel reality.

Eastwood doesn’t hold anything back, and tells the story with a realistic sense, telling it like it is, with no myths or clichés ever hanging anywhere. He and his cinematographer Jack N. Green manage to bring out some impressive photography as well as managing to create a realistic atmosphere of suspense while filling the scenery with rich symbolism. Joel Cox’s editing is also great, giving us one concise product, free of meaningless scenes. David Webb Peoples screenplay doesn’t focus the story on the main character and instead, manages to boast over the many characters it contains to broaden and develop the story and give it a deeper meaning while at the same time, delivering its message. Some people will consider it as an Anti-Western film since logically, it goes against the many trademarks and traditions that the genre is famous for, but to dismiss it as just that, would be missing the entire point of the movie, since what its mainly doing is bringing us a more realistic Western, with an approach more down to earth and more accurate than the one that we’re used to. A Western that tells us how things were like they were, and not how many think it should be. There are no heroes in the real world, only humans who do heroic things, and this is no more real than the same portrayal of William Munny, whom we see the true character that he is, falling off his horse, beaten up, crying and lamenting the deaths of the people he shot (giving the character a human approach), only to come back with a vengeance and with an wrath that brutally echoed his violent past. Eastwood finally dignifies and makes the hero human, and is freed from his “Man With No Name” ego.

The performances are fantastic. Eastwood gives probably the finest performance of his career as William Munny, and his eye for directing has never been stronger. Gene Hackman matches Eastwood every step of the way with his riveting yet charismatic portrayal of Little Bill Daggett and proves why he’s one of the finest actors out there. Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, and Jaimz Woolvet also shine on their roles. The rest of the supporting cast is also great.

In the end, I can’t tell you how much I liked this film. I fucking loved it, and it deserves every Oscar that it won. There have been many great westerns out there like the Man With No Name Trilogy, High Noon, Shane, and Stagecoach, amongst others, but in my book, none of them tops this film off. Unquestionably Eastwood’s best film to date and arguably the finest Western ever made, this film doesn’t look any more fresher than when it was originally released 10 years ago, a must for everyone.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=843&reviewer=235
originally posted: 10/09/02 00:13:48
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell low key but potent Eastwoods great 4 stars
12/31/11 Simon Lovely moral ambiguity, turns western theme on its head; any viewer finds something to like 5 stars
2/02/11 Josie Cotton is a goddess Classic neo-western 5 stars
8/16/10 TravisN One of the few movies in the 90's that deserved its BP award. 5 stars
7/19/10 forest gump Really good western 4 stars
6/08/10 Flathead King Some of the dialogue in this film is a bit odd and the ending lacks credibility. 3 stars
3/07/10 Samantha Pruitt this movie was boring and overrated! 2 stars
1/08/10 Dane Youssef Just maybe the last great western. Eastwood and Hackman scorch. Still have the west in them 5 stars
9/15/09 MB Ignore the morons who don't get it...this film is a masterpiece 5 stars
5/23/09 bud cham very good film. Bit slow in the middle but a rousing last 20 minutes makes up for it. 4 stars
3/21/09 james obrien the very best of this kind of film 5 stars
2/22/09 Caryl Yantis I loved this movie 5 stars
2/14/09 whentempersflare I'm not a big fan of westerns, but this was pretty good. 4 stars
2/11/09 Ming Clint still make my days..Great movie 4 stars
1/25/09 Pamela White Very overrated for a western, weak plot for great actors. 2 stars
1/25/09 Anonymous. the best western i've ever seen. 5 stars
10/21/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
9/27/07 mr.mike slightly overrated , but still a classic 4 stars
1/19/07 AJ Muller This, Josey Wales, and The Wild Bunch are the best Westerns ever. Period. 5 stars
9/04/06 MP Bartley Majestic, mythic, moody and magnificent. Deeply and darkly brooding. 5 stars
7/18/06 David Cohen The Hollywood Western can never go back to what it was before "Unfogiven," Thank God! 5 stars
7/05/06 Brian Mckay Only second to the Josey Wales - Godamighty! 5 stars
6/07/06 Peggy Doty Loved this movie deserved all the awards 5 stars
5/11/06 SpyV I love this movie. Fantastic study of character, in a western backdrop. 5 stars
5/09/06 perempe one of the best westerns of today 5 stars
3/03/06 lawyer J.Noble Daggett damn fine! Eastwood, Freeman, and especially Hackman are NATIONAL TREASURES 5 stars
12/08/05 Frank Rountree Excellent story and great acting 5 stars
10/09/05 Agent Sands Darker than your average western. 4 stars
9/13/05 ray mero Clint breaks off his golfing for another bit of squinty gnashing about, um, violence. 1 stars
8/25/05 ES A movie that requires multiple watches for true appreciation 4 stars
8/17/05 Jake Clint Eastwood's Masterpiece 5 stars
7/10/05 sbpat21 a fucking great movie 5 stars
6/04/05 Ubu the Ripper Not the greatest western of all time, but very good. 5 stars
3/17/05 indrid cold The "take away all he's got ..." scene is classic, but otherwise I was somewhat let down. 4 stars
3/11/05 Richard Betts The greatest western ever. Brilliant. 5 stars
2/08/05 Dan Great Movie. 5 stars
1/29/05 Bob Barton This ranks right at the top of all-time greatest western movies ever made 5 stars
7/08/04 Stevo "Take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna hav." 5 stars
7/03/04 Luiz Gilberto de Oliveira Messias This movie show how the murder really is: Ugly and dirty. 5 stars
5/13/04 Trentus Whitbread POO FACE 1 stars
3/24/04 Lord Haw Haw We all got it comin', kid. 5 stars
1/02/04 A F I hate westerns, yet I rather enjoyed this film. 4 stars
12/14/03 john a powerful film and a great cast 5 stars
11/23/03 Edler One of the greatest ever! 5 stars
11/21/03 adguy Want to see the real west? Take a look. Top notch. 5 stars
9/27/03 Nasty_Gnorc proves that western's aren't dead. 5 stars
8/29/03 Evilmasterfoo Hell of a thing killin' a man. 5 stars
8/02/03 Lord Jiggy Powerful story of a descent into Hell. Superior to most films of the last 10 years 5 stars
7/01/03 AD overated my arse 5 stars
5/16/03 mr. Pink One of the most overrated movies of the 90s. Finale doesn't gel with everything before that 3 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Possibly most overrated Best Pic winner ever, maybe soon to loose distinction to Shitcago. 3 stars
3/02/03 Jack Sommersby A bit underdeveloped, but it's still an outstanding piece of work. 4 stars
2/10/03 Ubu the Ripper Not "Josey Wales". Too much "F" word and a bad guy who cuts prostitute's breasts. Goofy. 2 stars
12/23/02 Dominic We all got it coming kid. 5 stars
10/29/02 Monster W. Kung Quite unique, actually. Awesome. 5 stars
10/09/02 Charles Tatum Eastwood has done better westerns! 3 stars
9/30/02 Own too loose when my pie are gain her High on my "Why the heck did that win best picture?" list 3 stars
9/27/02 Tom Fleeman A very gripping tale with that powerful Clint Eastwood demeanor. 5 stars
9/06/02 Ramblin Wreck This could be argued to be the greates Western movie........and I love Westerns!!! 5 stars
8/14/02 sdfr an instant classic! 5 stars
7/18/02 terry finnegan great film great actors great story 5 stars
3/19/02 Brian Holly Possibly the greatest western movie ever made 5 stars
12/01/01 R.W. Welch Hackman performance boosts this one up from the ordinary. 4 stars
11/25/01 cg perfect debunking of the american ideal 5 stars
10/20/01 Andrew Carden Totally Dull Script, and Very Disturbing To Watch. Not Recommended. 1 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm I still say this film is underrated... 5 stars
7/03/01 jim dyer realism - rare in westerns, very strong here 5 stars
6/14/01 zombie not the best western, but pretty close 5 stars
5/03/01 BrainPan The ultimate anti-western. Glorious. 5 stars
3/07/01 master.node THE best western ever made. And one of the best films. 5 stars
2/16/01 Jake classic 5 stars
11/27/00 Cristopher Revilla the best western ever made, you don't like it, your probably a fucking idiot!!!! 5 stars
11/11/00 john linton roberson To the western what WATCHMEN is to comics 5 stars
8/30/00 Chris Drake Tiresome overblown Eastwood tripe. Enough, already! 1 stars
8/21/00 Matthew Bartley Mean, moody, thought provoking magnificence 5 stars
6/28/00 Terrie Smith Brooding western; last half hour unlike anything I've seen in films. Great cinematography. 5 stars
6/23/00 Naushad Khanji Slept all way.Jury who handed award should be sued 1 stars
5/19/00 tank A masterpiece and arguably the greatest western ever made.The Academy were finally right 5 stars
4/18/00 Avery Everything the western is supposed to be. 5 stars
2/09/00 Mic Booooring 2 stars
1/17/00 Corey Clint is the man, one of if not his best movie. 5 stars
11/16/99 DES Without doubt, the greatest western of all time 5 stars
10/28/99 Neil Harrington One of the greatest westerns of all time 5 stars
10/27/99 Vance Hi-Caliber Western! Deserving of it's Oscars! 5 stars
8/18/99 Jesse Oh baby it rules!!! 5 stars
8/10/99 Phil Mielke Eastwood's Best! Redefined westerns. 5 stars
5/26/99 GothamDK Thinking man's Western. Better than that Tombstone cartoon. 5 stars
4/05/99 Mikef This shit just didn't float my boat. 1 stars
1/02/99 tarkin666 Made me wanna get a six-shooter. 5 stars
12/15/98 Binky Eastwood's best. 5 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink Overrated, the shoot-out ending undermines everything that was told before. 3 stars
11/22/98 Peter Eastwood, different for once 5 stars
11/21/98 little jerry Like a western directed by Ingmar Bergman.Incredibly,Bergman couldn't improve on this. 5 stars
11/17/98 Jules Hey, you don't need good guys to have a good movie! 4 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob A Western that de-glamorizes the myths, and sets a mind to thinkin'. 5 stars
9/04/98 pooky the bald What a great fuckin' movie. 5 stars
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  07-Aug-1992 (R)



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