Hondo - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hondo Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2012
A different kind of John Wayne Western, one where the lines between good and evil aren't as simplistic or cartoony. Based on a Louis L'Amour novel and directed by John Farrow (Mia's dad), this is aided by the early 3-D filming process, making for gorgeous viewing, and Geraldine Page's film debut, who brings an earthy charm to the proceedings, and out of the Duke himself.
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2010
I haven't seen many of John Wayne's movies, but I would imagine that most of his are like this. John is the good guy, but the movie can't decide if the natives are the bad guys or the soldiers are. What is different about this movie to many other westerns is that a lot of emphasis is on how significant a father's influence is in raising a son. If you like Westerns, or you like John Wayne, watch this movie.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2010
A fun movie showcasing John Wayne as an incredibly cool human being. The plot's straight-forward and the characters make sense. Even if it lacks visual magnificence, it's still extremely good and undeniably entertaining. It stands out as an early type of straight action movie, any fan of Shane should also see this to realize this movie accomplished the same thing years before.
Super Reviewer
½ May 20, 2008
On a remote ranch in the heart of Apache territory, a U.S. cavalry dispatch rider (John Wayne) befriends a mother (Geraldine Page) and her young son, falling in love with the former and becoming idolised by the latter. However, he harbours a guilty secret, having killed the pair's absent, good-for-nothing paterfamilias in an act of self-defence. Meanwhile, treacherous palefaces have rescinded a treaty with the Apaches, setting them on the warpath. In certain respects, "Hondo" feels like Wayne's answer to "Shane", though it's sufficiently different and well enough crafted to be enjoyed as a lovely little western, in its own right. The sight of John Wayne sharing substitute parenting duties with an Apache chief was novel enough to make me overlook any 'join-the-dots' plotting. Originally shot in 3-D, the film contains a few awkward relics of that process, most noticeably the blocky opening titles, an unintentionally funny knife-fight and the occasional arrow or spear aimed squarely between the viewer's eyes. Page and Wayne give excellent performances, and director John Farrow handles the romantic aspect of the plot with aplomb, but the Apache uprising and most of the action scenes are very flat and pedestrian. The main problem I had with "Hondo", however, was that it wanted to have its cake and eat it, too. For most of its running time the film is surprisingly generous toward the Apaches, but the greedily inserted wagon train attack - which conveniently turns the young lad off being an honorary Apache, reasserting Wayne as his male role model - undoes much of the good that has gone before.
deano
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2007
This John Wayne's western is fascinating and performances, overcomes the gimmicky process with excellent performances, plenty of action, and an uncommonly strong screenplay from frequently Wayne collaborator Jams Edward Grant. Geraldine Page does a wonderful supporting performance as a widowed frontierswoman in her film debut.
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2007
Wayne and Geraldine Page are an odd duo but she makes him better and that makes this one of his better films.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2011
An excellent earlier Wayne western that embraces moral ambiguity, and does so within the context of a confined yet authentic and moving story. Wayne was a fantastic actor, and that is in full display here, where he owns every scene he's in, though that's typical of the Duke. Beautifully shot and well written, check it out.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2011
Hondo was directed by John Farrow but certainly reminds one of John Ford's films and stars his usual A-list actor John Wayne in a Western film, albeit a little offbeat one. The tone is unique and one that differs and the story is unique and has a lot going for it however. John Wayne gives another solid performance and the film is brisk, running under an hour and a half and is well-paced and has enough action in the latter part of the film to make it entertaining enough. Not the best of Westerns, but one that is unique and solid overall.
Super Reviewer
December 14, 2009
Disappointing Wayne western, with a lacklustre and inconsequent script and a weak supporting cast. Maybe they made this movie to cash in on the bestseller or to cash in on the already declining 3D hype, as this had been a 3D release. For whatever reason they made it, there is hardly a reason to watch it nowadays. HX
½ December 17, 2014
One of his best. John Wayne performs with a natural instinct, the likes of which the world rarely encounters, that taught humans how to be better people.
½ June 27, 2014
Can't beat the lines...
"That dog don't take to pettin, son." "A man oughta do what he thinks is right."
February 21, 2014
They also place great value in dying.

Hondo comes walking out of the desert with his dog and into the lives of a woman and her son. Hondo is half Native American and feels compelled to protect the family when their lives are on the line and under the attack of a local Apache tribe. Can one man stop the Indian tribe or will his efforts fall short and lead to the dramatic fall of the family?

"I can't swim."
"Everyone can swim. Just reach out and grab a handful of water."

John Farrow, director of The Hitler Gang, Reno, Sorority House, China, California, The Unholy Wife, A Bullet is Waiting, and Copper Canyon, delivers Hondo. The storyline for this picture is entertaining to watch unfold but isn't a classic western and wasn't as compelling as it could have been. The acting is okay and the cast includes John Wayne, Geraldine Page, James Arness, Paul Fix, Michael Pate, and Ward Bond.

"Everybody gets dead. It was his turn."

I watched this randomly off Netflix primarily because this month was its last month it was going to be available online. It was very average and fairly disappointing. This is a slightly above average picture but far from a classic western.

"You let mommy do the talking."

Grade: C+
March 21, 2013
'John Wayne plays a hard-bitten cavalry scout who is humanized by frontierswoman Geraldine Page.'

That's the problem with these old westerns - the actresses play one part, the part of the woman, who serves on purpose - to humanize... I can't help but think how much better these movies would be, if the female took a bullet to the face 5 minutes in.
½ November 16, 2012
Damn good movie. liked it very much. Action packed john wayne movie. has most things men want to see when watching a good western, fighting,horse back riding, women, soilders, nice country views well maybe not so much in this one lol.
all in all a good movie.
½ November 11, 2012
Even though this isn't the typical John Wayne flick I still thought it was very intriguing and visually stunning.
½ January 27, 2012
A stranger from the desert wanders into the lives of a single mom and a young boy. Over time he teaches the boy to swim. The mother never comes around to his teaching methods and they are attacked by Indians.
½ February 12, 2012
A good Western film, but not as good as I expected. Stagecoach and Shane were better in terms of plot line and acting. Not only that, the circumstances seemed impossible. First of all, what single woman would risk living on a ranch in the heart of Apache territory? Either she is dumb, stupid, or this must be a Western. The plot was weak, especially how John Farrow tries to sell the relationship between John Wayne and Geraldine Page. It could have been done much better because the chemistry between the two was not very good. John Wayne is still the man though even while he pretty much plays the same character in every film. If you are a big John Wayne fan, then this is a must see.
½ January 11, 2012
74/100. Took more than it's fair share from Shane, but Hondo still manages to stand out on its own as being one of the best John Wayne westerns not directed by the big three of Ford, Hawks, and Hathaway. Film isn't spectacular in any way, but aside from some sloppy editing is well made and features great characters all around. Although, the ending is a disappointment including having the main antagonist's death occur off screen before the final showdown against the Apaches. Geraldine Page was an interesting casting choice to play opposite of Duke, and although both actors did fine the chemistry between the two just wasn't there.
December 30, 2011
HONDO (1953, John Farrow) is a simple little Western wherein a rancher (John Wayne) comes upon a single mother (Geraldine Page) living alone with her young son (Lee Aaker) out on the prairie near Native American territories. She swears that she has a husband (Leo Gordon) who will be returning soon, but Hondo (the rancher) doesn't fully believe her, and stays to protect her for as long as he can, taking the boy under his wing somewhat. After leaving, Hondo encounters her husband and kills him when the coward tries to rob him, then clashes with a Native American tribe approaching the widow's land, so he pretends to be her husband to protect her. Tensions, it seems, are rising between the U.S. Government, who are trying to move the Natives, and the tribes who do not trust them, leaving the family caught in the middle. Will the family survive? Will Hondo reveal what he's done? That's the film.

And I think it's a good one, in spite of it being so basic and somewhat lightweight. It's a very simple story, but one that's reasonably well told and not milked for melodrama, as it could have been. There are scenes that go there, but for the most part, the story is about these characters, with some battles and drama interspersed to make it interesting. Once again, I'm reminded of Gene Siskel's statement that it's really not that hard to make a good movie, and this one is interesting because it shows the American inner conflict about how they treated the Native Americans. Hondo himself lived with the Natives, and had a Native wife, so he doesn't hate them, but knows that ultimately America is his "team", as they put it in South Park's episode about terrorism. The Oedipus-like twist of Hondo killing the husband is a nice touch that gives this story a little more power, the cinematography is very good, and his romance with Page's character and his father figure role with little boy are quite moving. A nice, little film, underscoring why John Wayne was a master of all aspects of the Western hero. B+
August 30, 2011
Follows the book quite well especially in themes and the feel of the story. Wayne gives one of his best performances as the quiet, yet internal character of Hondo. Page is great as well. Fantastic.
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