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Johnny Guitar

Johnny Guitar (1954)

tomatometer

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 3,323

My Rating

Movie Info

Strong-willed saloon-casino owner Vienna squares off against her nemesis, the shrieking Emma Small, who wrongly blames Vienna for her brother's death.

Sep 16, 2008

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All Critics (29) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (1) | DVD (5)

Ray's film is not a romantic comedy, but a Western. Or is it?

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Let's put it down as a fiasco. Miss Crawford went thataway.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of those classic westerns that has maintained its status by reinventing itself every decade since its release in 1954.

July 11, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all its violence, this is a surpassingly tender, sensitive film, Ray's gentlest statement of his outsider theme.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This Technicolor cowboy picture feels like it exists in some other dimension. "Johnny Guitar" satirizes macho posturing, even as it elevates the catfight to a whole new level.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

One of Nicholas Ray's best films, the garish, full-color Freudian Western is an amazing, weird movie that's not easy to get the first time around.

June 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Rich, creative Western with much to say about politics and gender.

January 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

...manages to be both a serious critique of McCarthyism and a camp classic...

September 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

A politically subversive Western, made during the McCarthy era, Nicholas Ray's cult movie offers two strong roles for women, Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge, who may be latently lesbian.

January 9, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

This 1954 Freudian Western is one of the all-time left-field wonders of the studio system, a film so subversive it's a wonder it ever got made.

May 5, 2010 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

A pop-culture madhouse dressed up in spurs and a cowboy hat

July 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Like the other great American films of the 50's, Johnny Guitar breaks through the mold.

July 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Bizarre, unforgettable Nicholas Ray western that ends in two women shootout!

March 19, 2009
Video-Reviewmaster.com

Quite possibly the weirdest Western ever made by a mainstream studio in the 1950s... I flat-out loved this movie.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

It's about time it was acclaimed for it what it really is: a genuine western film classic.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

For all its slightly tatty sets and off-the-mark decor, the film abounds in wonderful lines and acting that doesn't betray them.

January 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Compelling, confounding and at times verging on the downright camp, this picture takes a slow- burning but startlingly vivid look at humanity in the outlands.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Joan Crawford as a gunslinger. Some of the best unintentionally funny dialogue ever.

October 11, 2002
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

The film makes much to do about sexual role-reversals.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Johnny Guitar

Johnny Guitar is probably my favourite western I've seen so far. It looks so good thanks to brilliant director Nicholas Ray and the performances are second to none, Joan Crawford giving one of the most captivating performances ever and Mercedes McCambridge being one of the most overlooked cinematic villains of all time. The story is so much more than the usual Westerns of the time, a popular genres that was almost done to death until a brief come back in the 70's and again much more recently. Johnny Guitar still remains one of the more memorable and original and a bit of a cult classic.
March 18, 2013
SirPant

Super Reviewer

It's quite a weird western with Joan Crawford filling the John Wayne shoes, glossy romantic scenes which could be thrown into a Douglas Sirk film and all painted with dramatic red strokes - from the sunsets, to a dramatic fire to Crawford's iconic lips. And it all ends in a rootin' tootin' gun shooting between its two female leads - a sort of Western version of a women's catfight. Peppered with great dialogue and a performance by Mercedes McCambridge which leaves no doubt why she was chosen to play the demon in "The Exorcist", there's little not to love.
October 25, 2011
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer

I hate westerns, so I rated it lower because of that, but it is a different kind of western than normal. The story is sort of boring, but the characters aren't is another way of putting it. Anyway, it's interesting.
November 9, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Joan Crawford is Vienna, a frontier woman you don't want to mess with, but her arch nemesis, the maniacally evil Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge) is one terrifying broad. The movie may be titled "Johnny Guitar", but it's all about the women duking it out, in a sort of pseudo-feminist western (the men are all but dominated by the women). The film opens strongly, with a confrontation in Vienna's casino/bar. It seems the stage coach was robbed and Emma's brother was killed (they bring his body right into the casino and lay it down on the craps table). Emma blames Vienna's club and the men who frequent it, especially "the Dancin' Kid" (Scott Brady). In reality, Emma is in love with the Dancin' Kid and is jealous of his relationship with Vienna (who it's suggested, is sort of a fallen woman). She has another reason to hate Vienna; as the new railroad is being built, more and more outsiders will come to town, spreading their indecency and immorality. She thinks Vienna is the vanguard in an onslaught that will bring about her cherished town's destruction. She forms a posse and seeks to lynch Vienna, the Dancin' Kid and his cohorts. The Dancin' Kid claims he and his pardners are mining silver in a hidden mine, but they're being run out of town anyway. The Kid decides if they're going to be accused of being criminals, they may as well be criminals and they go and rob the bank. Vienna happens to be in the bank at the same time, closing her account. One thing leads to another, and it's Vienna who's accused of aiding the outlaws. In the midst of all this is Johnny Guitar, once Vienna's lover and now just a wandering minstrel. Vienna sends for Johnny to come and perform in her saloon, but really she wants to use him for protection, for you see Johnny is a former gunslinger, and one of the fastest and best gunmen in the west. The plot details don't mean a whole lot, as this is all just an excuse to see Crawford and McCambridge go at it, tooth and nail. All in all, it's good, 1950s, campy fun.
February 22, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Johnny Guitar - Wenn Frauen hassen (DE)
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