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Unforgiven (1992)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 80
Fresh: 76 | Rotten: 4

As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.

84

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 3

As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 119,396

My Rating

Movie Info

Dedicated to his mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar-winner examines the mythic violence of the Western, taking on the ghosts of his own star past. Disgusted by Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett's decree that several ponies make up for a cowhand's slashing a whore's face, Big Whiskey prostitutes, led by fierce Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher), take justice into their own hands and put a $1000 bounty on the lives of the perpetrators. Notorious outlaw-turned-hog farmer

R,

Western, Drama

David Webb Peoples

Mar 26, 1997

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (80) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (76) | Rotten (4) | DVD (34)

It shouldn't be missed by anyone with a taste for Eastwood's typically slanted morality. It's the actor/director's best movie -- and the best Western by anybody -- in over 20 years.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unforgiven ain't nuthin' new, y'unnerstan', but it's a good, old-fashioned western-type pitcher with plenty o' rootin' tootin' action 'n' big ol' horses 'n' 10-gallon hats 'n' sech.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eastwood deliberately upends the conventions of the western, subverting his own image in the process.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Western is back. With a vengeance. Saddle up or get out of the way.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is the finest set of performances ever to grace a Clint Eastwood movie, and this time Eastwood even does a good job directing Eastwood. Every bullet in this movie matters.

February 20, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This dark, melancholic film is a reminder-never more necessary than now-of what the American cinema is capable of, in the way of expressing a mature, morally complex and challenging view of the world.

February 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eastwoods' best, most personal work as both an actor and director can be found in this dark and sombre western classic.

April 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

casts an unforgiving eye, from both insider and outsider perspectives, on the brutalities and hypocrisies of an 'enlightened' nation's Restoration period.

February 28, 2014 Full Review Source: Grolsch Film Works
Grolsch Film Works

Realistic and thoughtful, Unforgiven has the pictorial sweep we've come to expect from the genre and the intelligence too long missing from it.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

This isn't just a great Western. It's a great movie, no matter what the genre.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

[Unforgiven] belongs to a tradition that includes such giants of the genre as Mann, Boetticher, Peckinpah and Hawks.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

There is unlikely to be a better movie from the States or anywhere else this year.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

High Noon it isn't; it's more like the darkest midnight of the American soul.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

While Eastwood dedicates the film to Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, his early directors, he doesn't seem to have learned all that much from them.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

That's always been Eastwood's appeal -- the imperial authority that he projects on the screen. In Unforgiven, he uses that authority to deliver an anti-violence message that is truly powerful, never shrill and preachy.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Unforgiven plays out its drama with enough old-fashioned sobriety to lend the proceedings a classical air... It also incorporates enough latter-day cynicism, though, to comply with contemporary Hollywood fashion.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

This is, quite simply, one of the finest films ever made in the genre.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Unforgiven exposes the true price behind the way the West was won.

February 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Clint Eastwood's westerns are distinctive, and that Unforgiven, as the most fully realized, is the most distinctive of all.

February 12, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

It's a somber feature, but one of extraordinary character development, bundled into a compelling story of men facing their sins in a most brutal, pitiless manner.

August 6, 2012 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

Audience Reviews for Unforgiven

A very good Western. Eastwood is grand.
December 25, 2013
Raajay

Super Reviewer

I'm a little undecided on the specific rating, being torn betweeen a 4 and a 4 1/2, so let's just call it around a B+ to an A-.

When this film can out, it was fairly obvious that it was intended to be the western to end all westerns, the one to bring the genre to a close. That obviously didn't happen, but it did do a fantastic job at demythologizing things, and showing the consequences of violence, guilt, closure.

It's a great film, but not without flaws. It's a bit too long, and drags in places, some of the material is a bit unnecessary, and the stuff with English Bob could have been trimmed and reworked. Also, the prologue and epilogue, I think, could have been tweaked a little as well.

All that aside, this is a wonderful character study. The cast are really good, and they give some tremendous performances. Pretty much everyone shines. I really liked Frances Fisher, though. Eastwood and Hackman have a great confrontation, and Freeman just finds the right notes with his character.

The film is violent, but not in a ridiculous, WIld Bunch kind of way. The cinematic way the violence and showdowns are handled subvert expectations, and are handled in a startingly (yet artful) way. There's a chilling aspect to the matter of fact callousness of things which really lend strength and credibility to the film's themes and thesis.

This is some really great stuff, but not perfect. It's a little overrated, and seems dated now, but it's nevertheless a fantastic and entertaining work of art.
June 27, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Clint Eastwood's modern Western classic is a slow yet oddly engaging deconstruction of the traditional Western roles, expectations and stereotypes. The first time we see our hero he is running behind some pigs and falls into the mud, never gets tired of mentioning the terrible things he's done in the past and yet you feel for the character and follow him on his hunt for a bounty. The film refuses to make easy dark or light moral distinctions, but shows characters and a world of grey. That may not be very easy to stomach for some viewers but is probably one of the more realistic takes on this era of American history. The acting and cinematography are outstanding, even through a couple of slower parts. And in the end, when the villains have driven a man who wanted to leave his demons behind, back to being a monster everyone gets what they deserve.
April 15, 2013
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

An ex-gunslinger comes out of retirement to collect the bounty on a pair of cowpokes who disfigured a young prostitute. Clint Eastwood directs and stars in a deconstruction of the myth of the old west that examines the kind of man who would exist in a society which provides mean drunks and arrogant, prideful boys with lethal weapons. Saul Rubinek's author of the romanticized versions of the stories provides the eyes through which the myths are dispelled as Gene Hackman reveals the truth behind them. But even Little Bill, himself little more than a brutal thug with delusions of grandeur, revels in his own exploits and it is only Eastwood's reformed killer who shows any shame or wish for redemption for his past actions. In the hostile environment of the American west it is not the most noble or even brave who thrive, but the most cold-blooded and the abilities of a gunslinger could be measured by something as arbitrary as the standard of his eyesight. Also containing comments on the gleeful pleasure the media glean from the violence of others and the consequences of murder, the intelligent, insightful script combines with masterful performances by some of the best actors of their generation to form one of the best westerns ever made. One of the high points of Eastwood's long and illustrious career.
January 15, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett: I'll see you in hell Bill Munny.
    – Submitted by Brendan C (20 months ago)
    1. Will Munny: I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you done to Ned.
    – Submitted by Mike B (24 months ago)
    1. Will Munny: What I said the other day, you looking like me, that ain't true. You ain't ugly like me, it's just that we both have got scars.
    – Submitted by Sarfaraz A (2 years ago)
    1. Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett: This guy here is the Duck of Death...
    2. W.W. Beauchamp: Duke
    3. Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett: Duck I say
    – Submitted by Carrie K (2 years ago)
    1. Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett: I don't deserve this... to die like this. I was building a house.
    2. Bill Munny: Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.
    – Submitted by Taylor P (2 years ago)
    1. Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett: Well sir, you are a cowardly son of a bitch. You just shot an unarmed man.
    2. Bill Munny: He should have armed himself....... if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend.
    – Submitted by Alex M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (15)

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