Wyatt Earp - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wyatt Earp Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 3, 2007
Good film hampered by over length.
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2006
After Kevin Costner's surprise hit "Dances with wolves" Hollywood considered him the king of Westerns. So it does not come as a surprise that him and director Kasdan tried to tackle the story of one of the great legends of that era. Some of the (beautifully filmed) shots seem to come right out of Costner's own movie. But this film starts out with Earp's youth and takes its time getting to Dodge City, a sheriff star and Doc Holliday. The cast is excellent and full of great names, but Dennis Quaid (who hungered himself down for the Doc role) steals every scene he is in. Sadly, the film is overly long, it would have been a great 2.5 hours movie. As it is, there is still an interesting characterization of a man who became a legend without being a shiny, perfect hero. He is flawed and sometimes even unlikable, much like most of the other characters. But that gives the film a much more realistic feel than most others from the genre. It also helps that James Newton Howard wrote one of the best Western scores ever. If only the film was a tdad shorter.
Super Reviewer
August 18, 2012
Kasdan and Costner's version is indeed less B movie than Tombstone, made a year earlier, and is long but still effective once you get past the self-importance. What stands out particularly is how nobility is reached for by less than noble characters, which is as good a way to recall the West as any.
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2007
Pretty good Western, even if it seems to go on forever and bears some great flaws in the script. But first, let me start with what I liked about the film. For as far as the scenery, cinematography and music score goes, this was like delving into a really lush and beautiful painting. I love the atmosphere of the film, whether it's the prairies roamed by great Buffalo herds, or the smokey and vibrant air of the anything-can-happen saloons. But where the eyes are treated royally, the brain regrettably, is not. An example of that is the inconsistencies found in the presentation of our main character, Wyatt Earp. I wanted to sympathize with him, I really did, but when he goes from a goody-two-shoes gentleman to a raging alcoholic who takes out his anger on helpful strangers, I couldn't care less if he bettered himself along the way. It's one of those rare and unfortunate cases when a single scene nearly ruins the entire film. I wasn't very fond of the way Doc Holiday was written either. Tombstone did a much better job with these legends of the West, and made me care about them in way shorter of a running time. All in all though, I quite enjoyed it for what it was. It won't get a place among my all-time favourite Western films, but it was worth the 3 hours I spent within its world. In great need of some editing and a little overly bombastic, though I still thought it was a tad better than the ratings had me expect.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2010
It's not an epic, but it sure wanted to be. Just because you can shoot over three hours of footage doesn't mean you should. I love westerns, but this isn't anything that the genre represents. There's really nothing interesting about the characters, the story or setting. It also has a cast that doesn't deliver performances up to par with their usual work and a director who isn't exactly known for his consistency. It's forgettable and completely unimportant.
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2007
An epic western charting the life of Wyatt Earp. Very long at over 3 hours and the first hour is a bit slow. It has a good cast and production and finally the action towards the end is pretty good. However if you have seen Tombstone the ending is very similar but I felt that was a slightly better movie. If you're not keen on westerns go for Tombstone instead.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2007
Fantastic western from Costner, Kasdan and Co.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2006
An astonishing masterwork by Director, Lawereance Kasdan. A beautiful film in atmosphere and scope. We have returned to the freedom westerns were meant to have. A romantic, thrilling and action-packed epic. Dazzeling and outstanding. Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid are absolutely magnificent. Costner is riveting. Quaid is wickedly funny, deeply effectionate and wonderfully brilliant, one of the best performances of his career. A remarkable, dark, tremendous and outstanding western achivement.
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2008
First off, this is a huge cast of folks that brought this movie together. There were so many "name" actors I had trouble keeping track of them all.
I thought the pacing of the flick was well done considering the amount of story they had to cover. There were so many important characters that needed to be integrated into the main story that it took some doing to involve them all on a level where you cared if they lived or died.
Costner did a good job with the character given that after his life falls apart he becomes an unlikeable guy.
All in all I thought it was a good weekend movie to watch when you really had nothing else to do which is why I viewed this movie.
Now I have to go rent Tombstone and see that for comparison.
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2007
Kevin Costner once again projects his own self-image of the all-American hero, this time portraying legendary frontier marshal Wyatt Earp. And as usual, it's too self-important and FAR too bloody long. The first hour is especially tiresome, as the young Wyatt's life is a dreary combination of sentimentality and melodrama but things do pick up once his father bails him out of jail. Even then however, the underused supporting cast seem far more interesting than the stone faced and characterless Costner; even the plum role of Doc Holliday (played by Dennis Quaid who is clearly enjoying himself) feels little more weighty than a cameo. The aspect of male bonding does work well though, making it all the more obvious that the relationships between the Earps and their other halves rarely exceeds the level of soap opera; Costner's relationship with his second wife is marked by some particularly cornball dialogue. The main drawback for this project is the fact that this story has been told so often that it would take something truly spectacular to make it worth it, and not only is this not the best version, it's not even in the top 3; it lacks the elegance of My Darling Clementine, the grittiness of Tombstone and the good natured humour of Gunfight At The OK Corral, making it a decent but unremarkable addition to the genre.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2008
For a decade or so, from the late-'80s to late-'90s, cardboard Kev Costner was Hollywood's everyman of choice, before a series of increasingly elephantine projects associated him in the public consciousness with an aching backside and a struggle to stay awake, allowing Tom Hanks to usurp his throne. "Wyatt Earp" is a marvellous film with a majestic sweep, but it marked the beginning of the end of Costner's popularity and, before long, "Waterworld" and "The Postman" would topple him off the A-list for good. What separates this film from the legion of other retellings of Earp's story is, not so much its greater claim to historical accuracy as its portrayal of the typically goody-goody Earp, as a deeply flawed individual whom it was almost impossible to like. There's genuine darkness here but, unfortunately, Costner hasn't quite got the acting ability to nail it. The rest of the cast is great but a skeletal Dennis Quaid walks away with the movie as Doc Holiday, his performance infinitely preferable to Val Kilmer's self-consciously showy turn in "Tombstone", which was an enthusiastic B-movie but nothing more. Excepting some bluish day-for-night that I don't much care for, the film looks terrific, too.
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2007
Lengthy and rich historical telling of the Wyatte Earp legend with Kevin Costner. It's more drama than action. There's not much fun or excitement. The gunfights are grizzly, and so are some of the characters. Solid effort by Kevin Costner; better than that Tombstone-thing.
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2007
really great portrayal of earp
Super Reviewer
½ November 13, 2006
Masterpiece of a true heroic and famous lawman in the Wild West. Kevin Costner is the best choice as Wyatt Earp than Kurt Russell and Burt Lancaster in the classic Wyatt Earp movies.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2006
Tombstone is much Better. Foget Costner.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2011
Well, it's back to the west for Kevin Costner, and let me tell you, his epic character pieces of the '90s may have gradually gotten shorter, - if you're looking at the runtime of the director's cut of "Dances with Wolves" that is (Almost four hours; that better be the length I most remember) - but they're hardly getting any better. Granted, I still think that this film is really good, and think that "The Postman" is actually kind of decent, but the point is that none of these films are as good as "Dances with Wolves", even though most of them aren't as slow as the superior "Dances with Wolves", regardless of what the critics say. I don't know about y'all, but I think that this film is pretty entertaining, and don't really find "The Postman" necessarily boring, so maybe critics were spending the '90s giving Costner so much heat because they came to feel guilty for giving all of those best picture rewards to "Dances with Wolves", when it should have gone to "Goodfellas"... which I find much inferior to "Dances with Wolves". Wow, I must really be bugging the critical industry's anti-Costners right now, unless, of course, I'm giving myself too much credit, because in order to take offense about my opinion on this film, other people would have to, well, be jerks who are overly sensitive about other's opinions (*cough*like*cough*me*cough*), and would also have to have actually seen it. Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman (Gene Hackman in a Western? No Kidding!), Michael Madsen, Catherine O'Hara, Tom Sizemore, Adam Baldwin and all sorts of other people spread throughout this $63 million epic, and people still didn't see it, so you can pretty much take it to the bank that this was the beginning of Costner's lapses in success, certainly more so than Costner could take something to the bank at the time. Hey, maybe this film was just undermarketed because the filmmakers didn't want you to know that Costner was in it, but either way, the point is that this film just couldn't catch a break, just because it's a little bit way too long. No, people, this film doesn't meander that much, or at least not as much as this opening paragraph, but as underrated as the final product is, Costner is the least of its worries, regardless of what the marketers, audience, Razzies and, I don't know, all of Costner's friends and relatives (He can't catch a break, in case you didn't get that) will tell you.

The story concept certainly doesn't hold a whole lot of potential for genuine uniqueness, but believe it or not, this film has the opportunity to make relatively refreshing turns as a western epic, and is kind of refreshing is some ways, yet on the whole, the final product succumbs to too many areas of formula, taking on conventions, perhaps even genericisms that plague plenty of aspects from story structure to score work, which is decent, but still kind of disappointing, considering that this is the talented James Newton Howard turning in a formulaic score, and one whose overwhelming heart exacerbates a certain other considerable issue: sentimentality. The film is never cheesy, but it slips into relatively sentimental spells more than I expected, and more than it should, corrupting dramatic resonance with subtlety issues that never come close to washing away effectiveness completely, but nonetheless cheese things up slightly. Kevin Costner may only have a starring and co-producing role in this film, but the final product feels kind of like an effort by Costner, as a filmmaker, in that it gets to be too ambitious to pay attention to obscuring conventionalism, as well as too ambitious to keep dramatic kick consistently comfortable, and while such overambition cannot shake the film's being ultimately rewarding, it messes with momentum that is messy enough because of something that isn't as bad as the critics say, but still stands. Pacing is generally pretty tight with this epic, but on too many occasions, that tightness slips up, not simply into slowness, but unevenness, which renders several periods to drag along rather reptitiously with excess material, and other, perhaps even more periods to feel tight to a fault, to where layers are not as fleshed out as they should be, thus resulting in such things as undercooked characterization and even major plot sections' coming off as rather expendable, due to their being kind of slapdashed into this heavily branched story. Unevenness settles a bit after a while, but the often inconsistent pacing hazes the focus of this layered, three-hour epic, until, after a while, focus issues devolve into aimlessness that sends the final product limping along on a repetitious formula that convolutes the flow of this promising dramatic study. It all comes down to an ending that isn't necessarily a cop-out, but is still kind of underwhelming, summarizing the focal issues that, like conventionalism and sentimentality, corrupt too many areas in the telling of this worthy tale, which may be executed into an ultimately rewarding film, but falls short of its full potential. Still, when the film picks up, as it often does, it perseveres, being undeniably quite flawed, but not as faulty as they say, and with enough strengths to compel, with plenty of engagement value and, of course, production value.

Like I said, the film pays only so much attention to fighting back the conventionalism that comes as little surprise, seeing as how we're dealing with something as formulaic as the western genre, so it's easy to expect there to be little effort behind the production and costume designs, and yet, when you get down to it, where production designer Ida Random and costume designer Colleen Atwood could have lazed out and restored the Old West in a minimal fashion, they go about as far out as they can in reviving the look of Wyatt Earp's time and various places of residence with tasteful and convincing intricacies that transport you to the time, and with a fair degree of handsomeness. Even more handsome than the look of this film's world is, of course, the look of the film itself, for although Owen Roizman tends to coast with simply average-looking cinematography, this is generally a mighty good-looking film for 1994, and still strikes to this day with its crisply well-defined lighting that makes the brightest images stunning, the darkest images ruggedly gritty and, well, just about every other type of image pretty attractive. Costing $63 million that it didn't come close to making back, this film had plenty of money to spend, and it put it to good use on fine production value and shooting equipment, so if nothing else is underappreciated about this film, it's its looking very good, but at the end of the day, the department that does the most in making the final product as engaging as it is is the very department that everyone is complaining about, and, to a moderate degree, justly so. Everyone's been going on and on about conventionalism, and sentimentality, and uneven pacing, and sure, those problems are her, not simply at times, but throughout the film, yet they're not as severe as they say, or at least not so severe that you forget the intrigue and possibilities behind the story of the late, great Wyatt Earp, who has been seen on film throughout the years, but never given the proper, factual epic of an extensive character piece that he deserves, so this film has plenty of potential to squander, yet it still fulfills the depths of its subject matter enough to compel, even when it comes to the script by Lawrence Kasdan and Dan Gordon that may be somewhat uneven, but offers colorful wit and enough well-rounded flesh-out to earn your investment in the final product as a rich, if a bit sentimentally overambitious drama. Needless to say, the heart of this epic is further sold by what is, in fact, done right in Kasdan's directorial storytelling, which may not be able to fully obscure the pacing issues in his and Gordon's written plotting structure, but holds an atmospheric pace that is generally genuinely rather tight, leaving the final product to feel as though it's flowing along at a reasonably comfortable click, anchored by lively entertainment value, broken up by dramatic moments that may be generally diluted by sentimentality, but reinforce compellingness more often than not. The film may limp along on paper, but what Kasdan does as director to color up what shortcomings there in the script's aimless structure entertain and compel time and again as compliments to the effectiveness of this character study, further sold by, of course, inspired portrayals of this film's driving characters by many a talented component to this star-heavy cast, for although the show-stealing Dennis Quaid is bound to almost take too much of your attention away from everyone else with the cool charm, transformative presence and subtly engrossing dramatic range that bypass acting material limitations to craft a truly excellent portrayal of Doc Holliday that is about as good as anyone's has ever been, there's no ignoring that most everyone has his or her has a time to shine, with Kevin Costner particularly standing out, maybe no nearly on the level of Quaid, but just enough to use charisma and subtle heart to give you a feel of gradual change and human depth within a character as layered as Wyatt Earp. Costner is a more worthy leading man than they say, and such a strong lead performance does a lot to get the film by, yet you cannot take the offscreen inspiration away from this effort, for although overambition behind the crafting of this film emphasize shortcomings, of which there are too many, considering the potential of this film, what is done right is done well enough for this film, in all of its three-hour aimlessness, to compel and reward the patient.

Overall, conventional areas slow momentum down a bit, and sentimentality cheeses certain dramatic notes up a bit, while uneven pacing sees bloated spots, hurried spots and the tainting of a layered structure with focus issues that lead to aimlessness too considerable for the film to come close to achieving its full potential, which is still realized just enough to create a rather underrated and rewarding final product, with fine production designs and cinematography, and an intriguing story that is powered enough by inspired writing, direction and acting for Lawrence Kasdan's "Wyatt Earp" to stand as a flawed, but generally compelling epic study on the richly layered life of a true legend of the Old West.

3/5 - Good
Super Reviewer
½ May 15, 2010
This is the story about the infamous Wyatt Earp (Kevin Costner) and his early brush with the law after his wife dies and later his career as a lawman in Dodge City Kansas. He meets up and partners with Doc Holliday (a show-stealing Dennis Quaid) who is slowly dying of tuberculosis. (I think he had the best lines in the movie...too bad they were so few and far between.) The violence takes its toll, however, and when his deputy is murdered, Wyatt relocates to Tombstone, Arizona, where he plans to set up his own business and retire from law enforcement. With fine supporting performances among the huge cast - the aforementioned Quaid, horribly gaunt and convincingly tubercular, Gene Hackman, Bill Pullman, Michael Madsen, Tom Sizemore, Isabella Rosellini as Holiday's mistress Big Nose Kate and Catherine O'Hara - this is a pretty good epic western drama with some top-notch cinematography.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2010
Wyatt Earp is a 1994 American semi-biographical Western film, written by Dan Gordon and Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Kasdan. It stars Kevin Costner in the title role as the legendary and historical american lawman Wyatt Earp, and features an ensemble cast that includes Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, Mark Harmon, Michael Madsen, Joanna Going, Tom Sizemore, Bill Pullman, JoBeth Williams, Linden Ashby, and Mare Winningham.A little too long, but well made western with great performances, including the best performance of Dennis Quaid, as Doc Holliday, absolute stunning music and cinematography.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2007
Wyatt Earp was released a year after the well made Tombstone, that already told the story of Wyatt Earp with better acting and without being as long. Tombstone didn't cover everything, but it at least covered the exciting parts. Wyatt Earp would have been better if it wasn't so long. It covers so much, that I'm surprised there's no scenes with Wyatt Earp using the outhouse lol.

The performances are ok, but they don't make you forget Tombstone. Dennis Quaid tries hard to be a good Doc Holiday, but he's just not right for the part. He has nothing on Val Kilmer or Kirk Douglas who were better in the role. The under-rated Kevin Costner fairs better as Wyatt Earp. He's believable from the younger days of Wyatt Earp right up until his older days.
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2007
not as great as tombstone but i did like dennis quaid as holliday
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