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Bend Of The River Reviews

Page 1 of 5
Bob S

Super Reviewer

April 2, 2007
Furious! One great western. Apparently, the road to redemption involves kicking all kinds of ass.

Super Reviewer

April 3, 2009
one of the greatest of the stewart/mann westerns. arthur kennedy is really great here as a slippery outlaw with a twinkle in his eye
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2009
The second and most visually breathtaking of the Anthony Mann/James Stewart westerns. In this one, Jimmy plays a former Missouri border raider guiding a wagon train of intrepid farmers up to Oregon, where he hopes to bury his past and start a new life as a rancher. Depicting the settlers' journey as the kind of long, hard slog usually reserved for a Werner Herzog movie, it is astonishing how much action and adventure Mann manages to cram into these 90 minutes. The core of the movie, however, is the uneasy but mutually respectful friendship between Stewart and Arthur Kennedy, a fellow border raider Jimmy rescues from a lynch mob.

The script cleverly uses Kennedy, who is much less eager to reform than Stewart, to illustrate the kind of a man Jimmy must once have been, and the crueller side of his nature he is desperately fighting to suppress. The only real weakness here is Rock Hudson's character, a callow professional gambler standing at a crossroads between a virtuous or a wicked path in life (Stewart's or Kennedy's). I can see why he's in the picture but he's not really given anything to do, and you'll notice that Hudson is always conveniently out of the way whenever Stewart and Kennedy butt heads, presumably to defer his taking of a side for as long as possible.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

October 27, 2006
Another great Jimmy Stewart/Anthony Mann western. Not their best work together, but definitely not worth passing up. Stewart plays the All-American Nice Guy/Bad Ass trying to get some supplies to settlers. Along the way he fights the elements, greed and those overcome by it. Bend of the River also showcases Stewart's dark side and the war path he goes on at the end is great stuff. And a great performance by a young Rock Hudson.

Super Reviewer

March 3, 2007
Another solid western from James Stewart and Anthony Mann that'll seem more than a little familiar to anyone who has seen Red River, but deals nicely with the usual themes of revenge and redemption.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2012
One of James Stewart's best westerns, and another great teaming between him and director Anthony Mann. It's fast moving, with excellent cinematography, good performances all around, and a solid script. James Stewart was completely believable as the bad ass trying to leave his past, and is matched well against men of similar backgrounds but dubious character. The plot is a simple one, but is kept interesting through twists and double crosses that work because of a script that succeeds in its characterizations.

4/5 Stars
December 7, 2012
Now this is what I'm talking about! What a terrific adventure! Lots of action and every character has something we want to discover about them. Also, steamboat fights... awesome!
July 25, 2008
This movie makes me excited for my copy of The Furies coming in the mail.

Okay, I'm a sucker for James Stewart films. Now, normally I like him best out of the Western genre. (Although I dug him in all of the Westerns I've seen him in except for Firecreek and The Cheyenne Social Club, both of which I'll mark off as "pretty okay.") But this is a very different part than I'm used to seeing. Sure, he's still the pillar of morality, but there's a bit of fierceness to his character. He doesn't mind throwing a punch and takes advantage of any situation to do so. But there's a bit of conflict to his morality. Normally, he's the character that does no wrong. Look at his character in It's a Wonderful Life. He almost kills himself when something goes wrong and it really isn't his fault. Now he is this character fighting against a past that is very contrary to his new way of life. He is this very redemptive character who hides who he is and is afraid of anyone who may know anything about who he used to be. I love that because I do think that Stewart is this very complex actor who can handle things far deeper than what he normally gets.

Maybe I'm a guy who just hates betrayal in real life because I certainly dig betrayal stories in films. I just reviewed Ride the High Country a few minutes ago and that movie deals with betrayal as well. I have to say that this movie does it better. Maybe not better, but differently. Really, I love seeing the character who makes a different choice. Stewart and the antagonist are really the same person. Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Batman and Hush. That kind of story is really interesting. I love it when it hurts the protagonist to fight the antogonist. It's that mirror darkly effect and that is far better than any kind of well-choreographed fight sequence (which this movie also sports.) There's almost a fear to James Stewart's justice. He needs to redeem the situation to save his own soul.

Again, this movie is another morality play saying that gold and fortune destroys all men. Mann begins this movie with an extremely pleasant, God-fearing Portland and turns them all into money-grubbing maniacs the second gold is discovered up in them-thar hills. What I took for simple character development when it came to minor characters was far more planned than I could have ever imagined. While we see James Stewart's double change later in the movie into someone who was always somewhat corrupt, we see a good man steal money from Stewart and chase him down to get more money out of him. That's some creepy stuff. The entire town has gone to hell and a good man has led them there. What's even more bizarre is that as cruel and evil as that decision was for the owner of the bar, you can kind of understand his reasoning behind it. Even the betrayal kind of makes sense. These are reasons why people make poor decision and although you should disagree with their decisions, you can see them as somewhat sympathetic characters. Really, why are some people more deserving of food than others? The reason that the farmers get the food over the miners is that they had the good fortune to get there before the gold. Sure, the miners are selfish and greedy, but there's a desperation to survive that these people have. Yes, they will pay more and that almost makes it a bit worse for their cause, but they pay that money because they need those supplies oh-so-desperately.

The end is what really sells the movie for me. The titular scene is at the end and it is a heck of a fight. I actually somewhat don't believe that it would really work out that way, but you see the desperation of a greedy mob. There is a bloodlust to their eyes. Maybe that's what makes them sloppy and over-anxious (I'm trying to lie to myself regarding why they do so poorly) and they are almost like watching zombies in the old West. It's a very cool scene. But the real bravado of the scene comes from the final confrontation between Stewart and the antagonist. Now, when I think Westerns, I don't think "river fight." But this scene is just abolutely perfect. At one point, I honestly thought that both characters would meet their end. I won't go into details, but it does work out for the best, but I would have also applauded the death of both characters.

There's the really obvious message that I wish wasn't so blantant at the end of the movie, but if we wanted to have the romantic connection work out the way it was leading up to, I guess the movie kind of needed that line. But the rest of the movie proves oppostite from this mentality and shows that Stewart may eventually become what he fears most. While he is tested to the extreme in this movie, I don't think that the character is out of the woods and will probably have to deal with his more violent nature in the future. Regardless, I think the movie ends in a fine place and in a fairly optimistic place, so it's amazing that I'm pretty happy with it.

After all, we know what kind of cynical bastard I am.
March 14, 2013
Jimmy Stewart wasn't afraid to ride along with actors who could possibly steal the show. Arthur Kennedy is the star here, and it's not often you find a character as likable as the one he plays, turn heel so late into the movie.
horse c.
November 11, 2011
This is a decent western but it's not great
July 18, 2011
A former outlaw leads a wagon train through Indian raids to the boom town of Portland. There he squares off with another famous outlaw and meets a fast shooting young gambler in a conflict between wealthy miners and farmers. Spectacular prarie settings and adult dramatic tones add depth to this entertaining western starring a great James Stewart in another collaboration with director Anthony Mann.
July 27, 2012
Yet another spectacular western collaboration between James Stewart and Anthony Mann. With its action-packed story, Bend of the River is as intense as it is visually breathtaking. It shows the wildest side of the old wild west, while depicting a rather simple, yet thrilling, story, which includes all kids of scams, crooked officials, gunfights, horse chases, burning romance, and a brave gunslinger, played by James Stewart, on top of it. While he remains a mystery until the very end (the director doesn't consciously take sides, in order to intensify the experience), his true nature is revealed in a most impressive finale a western could have.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2012
One of James Stewart's best westerns, and another great teaming between him and director Anthony Mann. It's fast moving, with excellent cinematography, good performances all around, and a solid script. James Stewart was completely believable as the bad ass trying to leave his past, and is matched well against men of similar backgrounds but dubious character. The plot is a simple one, but is kept interesting through twists and double crosses that work because of a script that succeeds in its characterizations.

4/5 Stars
July 27, 2011
Started of a bit slow, but got much better as the minutes rolled on.
March 17, 2011
Some narrative flaws but nonetheless a solid flick
March 5, 2010
Bend of the River is a good western by Anthony Mann. Jimmy Stewart gives an excellent performance and so does Arthur Kennedy. The script is also amazing and simple to follow. Bend of the River is a must see if you are a fan of westerns.
August 31, 2008
I don't think Jimmy Stewart has ever made a bad film, and I particularly like his westerns. This is a fine western, it has depth, good characters and strong production.
July 17, 2008
Bend of the River is truly a great movie. Anthony Mann and Jimmy Stewart create a masterful picture that keeps you watching until the exciting climax. I really love this movie and anyone that likes Jimmy Stewart would too!
January 11, 2005
Not much into Westerns but this is a very solid fast-paced film with quite a bit of action.
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