Hombre - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hombre Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 10, 2015
Joe Campbell inferred that cultural and societal change was usually delivered by the outsider, the lonely soul (part of the job description) who sacrificed himself to bring "fire" to the clueless group. In an interesting take on that tale, Newman plays a white guy raised by Indians who endeavors, despite his better judgment, to raise the bar so to speak. But this is an ensemble piece and zowie, what a work it is, quiet and brooding, an understandable emotional reply to the "that inhumanity is just how it is" worldview. The director, Martin Ritt, was blacklisted and so knows a thing or two about being an outsider and that mojo translates here onto the screen.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2009
Paul Newman is very Eastwood-esque in this classic '60's western that features Fredric March, Martin Balsam and Richard Boone.
Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2010
Paul Newman plays a horse trader raised by the Apache who finds himself the protector of a group of travelers when they are ambushed by outlaws. Obviously another variation on the Stagecoach theme, Hombre instead casts the "Indian" as the anti-hero and the white men as the villains. This switch-around forms the basis of the story as the main topic is that of racism; the steely-eyed Newman is initially shunned and vilified because of his native American heritage but finds himself emotionally blackmailed into becoming their saviour as soon as they need his help. Newman is extremely charismatic as the enigmatic frontiersman, the irony being that the actions the whites see as "savage" are in fact born of the cold logic of a lifetime struggling for survival. The white characters are shown as either hypocritical or naive and soon forget their moral outrage when they find their lives on the line. The plot may be a little predictable but it's also a very interesting character study and social commentary with a superb central performance from Newman. Well worth a look for those who like westerns with a brain.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2008
Talky western with Newman miscast but doing what he can, Richard Boone as a hissable villian and Frederic March offering a more subtle form of villianry. However the real standout is Diane Cilento as a real tower of strength, an excellent performance. A side note Barbara Rush's fright wig has to be seen to be believed!
Super Reviewer
½ May 18, 2013
The western genre embodies many different sorts of films, from typical shoot 'em up adventures, to more nuanced films that seek to convey commentary within the western framework. Hombre is a fantastic example of the later, representing a late 60s western that features Paul Newman as a Native American. The film is an intelligent western, concerned with characters, dialogue, themes, and thus is uniquely situated within the genre, having an amount of ambiguity that is very uncommon for that time, and puts most modern movies to shame.

Hombre features excellent performances from all around. The notable one is of course Newman. Though the blue-eyed Newman lacks the physical characteristics for an Indian, his performance more than makes up for that. The way he embodies his character harkens back to early Eastwood westerns, with a strong presence, conveying a lot even in silence. There is really not a weak link to be had in the supporting cast, with Diane Cilento having some terrific work as an outspoken and headstrong frontier woman.

What I appreciated most about the film was the script. The dialogue was simply tremendous, with exchanges that were intelligent and felt real. The characterizations were strong and multi-dimensional, far surpassing many of the clichéd characters we are often treated to.

Though the film's methodical pace and concern with characters, as opposed to action, may turn some off it's really a grade A western, and a must see for any fan of the genre.

4.5/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2010
John 'Hombre' Russel (Paul Newman) is a man raised by the Apaches. When his heritage is discovered by a handful of stage travelers, none of the white folks want to sit next to him he's relegated to sitting out the journey atop the coach next to driver Mendez. During the journey, they are ambushed by outlaw Richard Boone who knew that one of the passengers Dr. Favor had been carrying money that he stole from the very Apaches Newman grew up with. Hombre is forced to help the scared travelers out despite their bigotry towards him. He puts his cunning and survival skills to good use escaping with little water, the money that the bandits want and having them hot on their tail.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2008
Enjoyable western, Paul Newman plays a white man raised by Injuns, and kicks some ass. Martin Balsam plays a very convincing Mexican, but the standout performance is Richard Boone, who plays a complete asshole cowboy to end all complete asshole cowboys.
½ June 13, 2015
A solid enough western, but not one that distinguishes itself from the pack. I've already forgotten most of it.
October 6, 2013
Wonderfully fitting stoic acting by Paul Newman, a very good job by the other players, and a well-worn but classic western story made this the best western I've seen in ages. Richard Boone was pure evil and seemed to be loving every minute of it. It is well-paced and has great cinematography. Definitely a winner.
½ September 29, 2013
white people suck. Depressing western which is not completely nihilistic probably because of Paul Newman's big baby blues.
April 13, 2012
A very good '60's western film. Paul Newman just kicks a** in this film. His acting was just spot on, it reminded me of Clint Eastwood at some points.
½ July 29, 2010
While not terribly boring, it did seem to lack enough excitement to fully capture my attention. Yeah, of course Newman is the best, but he should have more dialogue.
½ August 30, 2009
For the sake of innocent strangers
the heroic drama of life & death/good overcomes evil though not as one would have intended because of the greatest cost imaginable.
March 10, 2008
I've never been a huge fan of westerns of any kind, but I did quite enjoy this one. During the beginning when they were capturing the horses, I almost didn't even notice Paul Newman with the long hair, but it didn't take me long to recognize those big blue eyes of his. :)
½ January 6, 2007
Pure classic based on an Elmore Leonard novel. Paul Newman Play a white man raised by the Indians. This is A western which comments on the racism towards the american indian
½ May 8, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

(1967) Hombre

Based on a book written by Elmore Leonard centering on a Caucasian, John Russell(Paul Newman) raised by Apache Indians who decides to let go his inheritance of a shabby inn left by his biological father after finding about his father's passing, and then agrees to tag along a cross country coax ride with other passengers on a stagecoach. And it is when things start to get interesting but have to go through a very long set up. Paul Newman is the Hombre since he grew up with the Indians, also including Fredric March as the deceitful doctor and Richard Boone continues his bad guy role. All I can say is that although I mildly enjoyed this film the second time around the ending is kind of a downer considering it's a movie of fiction.

2 out of 4
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2015
Joe Campbell inferred that cultural and societal change was usually delivered by the outsider, the lonely soul (part of the job description) who sacrificed himself to bring "fire" to the clueless group. In an interesting take on that tale, Newman plays a white guy raised by Indians who endeavors, despite his better judgment, to raise the bar so to speak. But this is an ensemble piece and zowie, what a work it is, quiet and brooding, an understandable emotional reply to the "that inhumanity is just how it is" worldview. The director, Martin Ritt, was blacklisted and so knows a thing or two about being an outsider and that mojo translates here onto the screen.
½ August 21, 2015
many may like the film for its political points, but I found the film boring
December 13, 2012
One of at least six movies for which Paul Newman should have won the oscar, and did not, this is about a white man who lived with the "Indians", who is on a stagecoach that is hijacked by robbers led by the great Richard Boone. One of the great scripts, with a supporting cast of Barbara Rush, Fredric March, Martin Balsam and Diane Cilento.
½ July 27, 2015
Since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid remains one of my all time favourite westerns, any chance to see Paul Newman up on the screen in the genre again was essential viewing for me.

As a vast lover of western films, I always enjoy seeing alternative forms of storytelling within the context of the genre. As a revisionist western, Hombre defies many conventions. Instead of casting a caucasian actor in a Native American role, Homebre features a story about an Apache-raised white man who has to deal with the racial conflict of returning to a prejudiced civilization. The way the film approaches the subject matter is not to pin Cowboys and Native Americans on opposing sides of the spectrum but rather find a middle ground in protagonist John Russell who is interesting enough on paper before Paul Newman brings the role to life. Rather than telling its story through a spectacle of shootouts and horse chases, Hombre focuses on characters and dialogue. While some viewers may find the lack of action to slow down the feature which already comes from a stereotypically slow moving genre, I found that this revisionist approach is thoroughly innovative as an exploration of the Western genre. Hombre is a film that is all about charactes, and it has some interesting ones. This is because the screenplay rests at the heart of Hombre with a lot of insightful dialogue, discussing the difference between Cowboy and Native American cultures with raw honesty. The film is not bias in doing so, and it is one of the first major Westerns to depict Native American culture in a positive light after decades of simplistic depictions of the people as savages that need to be defeated by John Wayne. This makes it one of the more touching films to come from the era and a great sign of the postmodern period of change that the genre went through.
Considering that the story itself is very simplistic, the fact that the screenplay is full of vastly important subject matter and interesting characters which compensates for this. The slow burning nature of Hombre means that it is not always the most interesting, particularly when the dialogue is not being spoken. Yet director Martin Ritt still manages to find a way to make the silence in the film interesting, predominantly through the use of atmosphere.
While the film is built more upon screenplay than spectacle, there is no denying that it is a powerfully stylish experience. As a western, Hombre manages to keep itself as a low budget film by limiting its quantity of characters, locations and action. At times, the film relies on nothing more than the visual experience to tell the story. And with scenery, production design and costumes all being so extensively detailed, the entire experience feels nothing short of convincing. The bleak silence of the film may slow the experience down, but it also captures the grim and empty nature of the west while the visual experience works to keep things alive during the silence. Hombre tells its story largely through depicting the western landscape as it naturally is since there are so many underlying concepts of the American West which do not need to be explored through action. The scenery is all captured with strong wide-angled cinematography and gentle techniques, long shots which allow the atmosphere to develop naturally with minimal editing while emphasizing the beautiful nature of the landscape.
When it comes to the action, what few shootouts there are in Hombre prove very competently structured. The editing speeds up momentarily to intensify the experience, and because the rest of the film made use of such minimal editing it is all the more powerful by contrast. It just makes the style of the film all the more clear, and the intense progressive development of the story ensures that the intensity in the action sequences are fully dramatic.
But what keeps the story actively progressing and developing is the performance of Paul Newman.
Paul Newman's leading performance in Hombre is brilliant. In contrast to his role as Butch Cassidy two years later, Paul Newman's performance as John Russell in Hombre is far more restrained. He is very gentle and in tune with the world around him, conveying a sense of nihilism about the world that comes with being seen as a savage. He has such an interesting character, and he easily breathes life into the part which succesfully plays a sympathetic spirit. Paul Newman's beautiful eyes light up the screen and draw the focus straight to him, and this makes what little dialogue he has all the more effective. Paul Newman speaks with such a gentle passion as John Russell, and yet at the same time he grasps his weaponry without flinching. This captures the kind of Cowboy who is a relunctant soldier, a gentle soul drafted into a world of violence and reluctant but willing to fight for his existence as the world would force him to. Paul Newman's extensive level of character dedication in Hombre ensures that the film is not a mere star vehicle, but rather a truly touching film and a new challenge for the screen legend. His performance is just beautiful, inside and out.
The entire supporting cast make strong supporting efforts, but I found that Martin Balsam firm yet gentle effort as Henry Mendez stood out the most. He is easily convincing as a Mexican, and his normal level of sophistication is buried beneath the costume to the point that he is almost unrecognizable and yet still admirable.

So Hombre works powerfully as a postmodern revisionist western, and while its focus on characters and lack of action may slow it down, they also ensure that the experience is a thoroughly touching and insightful western thanks to Martin Ritt's strong eye for imagery and determination to ensure the powerful dialogue is captured in his vision alongside the magnificent leading performance from Paul Newman.
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