Unforgiven - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Unforgiven Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2010
Eastwood deconstructs the Western myths with this dark, realistic film devoid of any of that romanticism of the Wild West - a glorious farewell for the genre with a melancholic score, an epic cinematography and a lot of tension that builds towards a brutal, fantastic ending.
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2007
A very good Western. Eastwood is grand.
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2006
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.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2006
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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2006
A triumph from Director, Clint Eastwood. A great and incredible film. A masterful piece of work. It's brilliant, epic, terrific, powerful, gripping, excellent and sometimes effective. An astonishing and breathtaking work of art. I don't think I've seen a picture of this rare caliber before. Gene Hackman gives a raw, powerful and brutally charming performance. Clint Eastwood is extraordinary, some of his finest work as a director and as an actor. Morgan Freeman is terrific. One of the best westerns ever made. An unforgettable instant classic in the genre. It shows the beauty of the west and the darkness that roams in the hearts of men of which violence has corrupted their souls. A riveting, dramatic, compelling and mesmerizing movie. It separates from the original formula of the gun singer western into a quest of redemption. A dark, rich-in-character and absorbing western.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2012
One of the best westerns of all time. Hands down.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2012
Loved the cast, loved the subtle intensity, loved the characters, loved everything. Easily the best of all Westerns.
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2011
Not that great. There was some good scenes...but overall it wasn't so good. The final scene was pretty fun (I think I've seen it before). Not Clint at his best. Didn't deserve the best picture oscar.
Super Reviewer
½ July 22, 2007
Eastwood's rousing and resounding humble human answer to every other Western ever made: there are real consequences to violence of every kind. It"s not cool, not glorious. It's ... inhumane, violence. Inhuman. The debunking of longheld myth, movie myth, and even Eastwood's own mythology, is a work of poetry.
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2010
A classic Western! I really haven't seen too many Westerns, but this is the best one that I have ever seen. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, Unforgiven is a true example of a film that proved the Western could be legit again.

The writing and cinematography are excellent here, both recieving Oscar nominations, but the thing that really sets Unforgiven apart from other Westerns I have seen is the acting. The cast is excellent here. Star and Director Clint Eastwood, again, gives a phenomenal performance as Bill Munny. Alongside Eastwood is Morgan Freeman; their chemistry was really nice, and Freeman also gives a great performance. The supporting cast was good too...Richard Harris, Jaimz Woolvett, and Frances Fisher give extremely solid performances.

The best performance of the entire film though is Gene Hackman as the Sheriff. I think the Sheriff is one of the best villains in cinema history, and Hackman completely owned the character perfectly. He won Best Supporting Actor for his performance and it was completely deserved!

Another thing that I really liked was the pacing. A lot of westerns are boring, usually with an exciting shoot out or two, but this one was different. The story was full of excitement and executed to perfection!

I completely recommend this classic!
Super Reviewer
½ February 28, 2011
Classic Western
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2007
It's spooky how good Unforgiven is, how masterful and subtle a director Eastwood can be with the right tools and right script. There is so much history and geography shimmering beneath its surface, of both nostalgia, memory, loss, redemption, authenticity. A fragile, perfectly rendered coda to the death of the Western as we knew it.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2011
You have to respect Eastwood's style, but this western doesn't change the formula too much. Great performance by Hackman (obviously (Oscar win)), and some good cinematography. A brilliant Western, but is it unique? In my opinion, no. That's okay. That doesn't always mean it's a bad movie, especially in this case. A good watch.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2011
One of Clint Eastwood's best, if not his best, and that's saying a lot. Fans of the western genre must watch this, and if you like your stories with moral ambiguity, than look no further. One of the last great western films and easily worth your time.
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2010
The quintessential badass, Clint Eastwood makes another western, this time modern and lacking in the spaghetti variety. Besides the amazing cast, those scenes of the tumbleweed West, untamed and unruly, and the scenes of blood shed, so thorough and convincing, you must give creed to the obvious research and follow through. Gene Hackman stays on that line between the corrupt lawman and the thoughtful prophet, engaging English Bob and the whores of the town in provoking discussions that blew me away. One of the best films of the 90's.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2010
Unforgiven is a thrilling unforgettable Western film, directed by Clint Eastwood, this is by far the best Western film since the golden years of the Western film of the 1960's. A personal favorite of mine, Unforgiven is one bad assed film starring one great cast of actors. Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman and Richard Harris act in this stunning work of brutality. With a cast like that it's a film connoisseur's wet dream. This film has so much talent on screen, and Eastwood knows just how to use it. He also stars here, in one of his best film roles since Dirty Harry. It's obvious that Clint Eastwood used every trick he knew to make this Western, his work with Sergio Leone payed off as he decided to make this film. This is one of Clint Eastwood greatest films, a superbly crafted and well acted film. Unforgiven is a masterful film, and is the best Western since Sergio Leone's Materful epic, Once Upon A Time In The West. Eastwood's Unforgiven may not be in the same league as Leone's classic, but his film definitely has the balls to be a close second. Unforgiven is just as brutal as Leone's Westerns and Eastwood's film has that Leone trademark. It's only natural because Clint Eastwood was a protogee of Sergio Leone. Unforgiven is a rich film that brings back elements of the classic Westerns, and it's simply a well crafted film. Bill Bunny, for me, at least is one of the darkest characters of Western since Henry Fonda in Once Upon A Time In The West. I won't give away spoilers to as to why, but Munny is a cold hearted bastard, but unlike Frank; he's got a good reason to be. Unforgiven is masterwork of Western cinema, and remains one of the best films of the genre. I strongly believe that if Leone would have seen this film, he would've given his approval. Unforgiven is a film which echoes the Westerns of the past not to mention that this is one of the last great Western films.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2007
The greatest Western movie ever made. This is Eastwood at his brilliant, gritty best, with breathtaking scenery combined with flat out awesome acting. Clint hadn't established himself as a masterful director yet, but this film proved that his acting chops were also equivalent to his directorial scope. In addition to the fine acting, this movie contains steady plotting, fleshed-out characters, as well as a heavy dose of darkness. This is just a phenomenal classic.
Super Reviewer
January 8, 2009
"You just shot an unarmed man!" "Well, he should have armed himself..."

Plenty of films have tried to examine the human side of violence. This is especially appropriate for westerns, where very often rows of men are gunned down without a thought. 'Unforgiven' does better than most, but where this differs from other films is that at the end this whole theme is flipped around as the outlaw William Munny (Clint Eastwood) pulls of a truly legendary piece of shooting. This scene though only emphasises a great sense of failure for the characters, which for me is the most prominent theme of the film. For most characters, their failures are obvious, but I won't give too many examples for fear of spoiling it.

Look at the way the trio of Munny, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) are slowly whittled down to just Munny, as the others realise that they just don't have what it takes to kill people anymore. Munny, although carrying out his task to the full, has equally failed in his attempt to reform himself as he proves to himself that he is not a pig farmer after all, but still the legendarily cold blooded killer from years ago.

Westerns have had different ways of looking at violence. Leone looked at the build up. Peckinpah looked at the violence itself. Eastwood here looks at the moment after the violence and shows the heartbreaking consequences. Given this it is all the more shocking to see just how merciless and devastating Munny's furious assault on the saloon really is, with him shooting unarmed and wounded men just for the sake of completeness. There is a question of motivations though-before he was in it for the money, but when a personal element is added to the mix the results are volcanic. But this is no blaze of glory for Munny, but something that has to be done, and although treated in a callous way there is a sense that this will have consequences as far reaching as before. Munny has failed in his attempt to reform himself, and the purpose of his life is defeated. There is a suggestion that Munny is damned-there is a moment in the carnage where Munny stops for a drink. The scene is shot so that Eastwood appears to have no reflection the large mirror placed above the bar. More obvious is the following exchange between Munny and Sheriff Dagget (Gene Hackman):

"See you in Hell, William Munny" "Yeah."

The way the climax is presented would be perhaps more appropriate for a more lurid western, with most shots going wild-far more shots are fired than are strictly necessary, in true action film tradition. This is just the point though, as the end is supposed to be at odds with the grittily realistic nature of the rest of the film. The end result is a powerful message powerfully put across.

That is not to say that other westerns that do not necessarily share this sentiment (at least to this level) are less powerful-the theme of 'Once Upon A Time In The West' is equally strong and affecting, but the message is different and presented in a different way. 'Unforgiven' proves though, both to the writer W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) and to the audience, that there is a flip side to every story and a dark side to every man.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2010
This was the best possible way for Clint Eastwood to retire from westerns. He gave his first really unique directing job and one of his better performances. Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman also gave strong performances. In many ways it is also the death of the American Western, taking all the glory out of gunslingers. However, it honors the genre in every way possible. It's shot beautifully and uses all the great tension filled techniques. The scene with English Bob in the jail is amazing still.
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