The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 4, 2010
Really entertaining film and it owes a lot to what I think is one of Paul Newman's best performances. I enjoyed the film and it's funny watching this and realizing what a pot head John Huston was. The film looks gorgeous and it's both hilarious and sad at the same time. I don't know why, but the ending got to me even though the whole idea is bat shit crazy. Great cast.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2007
If for the crazy Albino alone...this movie is fan-fuck'n-tastic
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2010
At the start of "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean," the title character(Paul Newman) is not yet a member of the legal profession. Quite the opposite, in fact, as he is an outlaw in the badlands west of the Pecos, intent on bragging, drinking and whoring but is instead savagely beaten and left for dead. However, Marie Elena(Victoria Principal) takes pity on him, nurses him back to health and gives him a gun. After Bean gets his revenge on all concerned, Reverend LaSalle(Anthony Perkins) comes along to give some advice and help bury the bodies. Bean decides to take up being the law of the land with help from some incompetent criminals who make betters marshals.

Written by John Milius, directed by John Huston and performed by an eclectic cast(wait until you see Stacy Keach), "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" is a mischievous and irreverent western. By going a different route, the movie gets quite a lot right in how the west was won, going from lawlessness to legal brutality to respectability, as Judge Roy Bean helps make Texas safe for normal people. At the same time, the movie gives a very good idea about the kind of people who moved west to make a new life for themselves, many of them outcasts.
broadwaymo
Super Reviewer
June 2, 2007
My parents took us kids with them to see this film when it was released. I have to assume that they thought this would be a western/comedy in the same vein as Cat Ballou, which unfortunately it wasn't. I can still remember the look on my father's face as we were leaving the theatre...it was a mixture of disgust and embarrassment. A truly horrid film...
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2007
A really bizarre Stacy Keach performance is one of the highlights in this excellent western.
October 15, 2008
Almost a tall tale brought to the silver screen. Excellent cast walks a tightrope between western drama and campfire story.
April 29, 2008
Truly excellent Western! Huston's direction...Newman's presence...Principal's adorable beauty...a masterpiece!
February 7, 2008
Great '70's-era Western, meaning a very fast and loose plot structure and colorful, morally ambiguous characters. Newman's portrayal of the Judge is one of my favorite performances of his thus far, ranking up there with Hud and Butch. Victoria Principal is beautiful (and nearly unrecognizeable) in her screen debut, a great cameo by John Huston, and a fine early performance by Ned Beatty. One of the reasons the cinema of the 1970's was so great.
May 4, 2007
Everyone is having fun in this film, and if you get into its mindset, the episodic adventures of the dryly humorous, ever-irritable Bean can be very entertaining. Director John Huston isn't aiming for art, here - more a sort of film version of a cheap, yellow paperback, complete with guest stars who show up for one scene and then disappear (each having managed to increasingly steal the show). When it's over, you won't get any real insight into the life of Judge Bean, but you'll be glad you met him.
April 10, 2007
Texas border story at it's best, in Langtry, TX. The man was not even a judge by law.lol-my kind of fellow.
January 30, 2015
This is a greatly underrated epic western, starring the great Paul Newman at his best. The movie is highly entertaining, humorous, and emotionally moving. With Victoria Principal, Ava Gardner, and Roddy McDowell.
½ January 12, 2015
Uneven but entertaining.

An interesting western, directed by the great John Huston. Starts off as a revenge movie, though it is soon obvious that Huston is making more of a comedy than a drama. Some of the scenes that follow are incredibly funny, often in a dark sort of way.

However, as the movie develops it starts to take the guise of a social drama, exploring how power corrupts. This, however, is a very short-lived theme.

After a point it takes on a sentimental tone and ends with a rush of action.

So pretty much every movie genre covered, in less than two hours...

This unevenness is quite disconcerting, and unfulfilling. Rather than get a complete moral, we have pieces of many.

However, the movie does not lack in entertainment. The first half is great and the ending is very emotional.

Not perfect, but it will do.
August 21, 2013
A wonderful revisionist western. A fable if you will with plenty of humour and a big dollop of sentiment for the old west. Loved it. Even down to the big cheesy ending. You might ask yourself , 'what the hell is going on here?' at the start. Thats ok. I did too and ended up very pleasantly surprised. Newman is , well, Newman. A one off from my golden era of cinema: The 1970's.
½ July 9, 2012
A hilarious, original film, unapologetic in its moral misguidedness and earnest in its quirkiness, this gem from the twisted sensibilities of John Huston and clever pen of John Milius is propelled by the perfectly cast Paul Newman, who is deeply fascinating in his quiet moments, riotously un-PC in the rest, and brings his innate roguishness to unadulterated life. A film that has to be seen to be believed, with a story that doesn't have to be believed to be loved. Hysterical lines and ludicrous antics mingle with a quiet poignancy to make this one of the most memorable Westerns of the 70s.
½ November 3, 2011
Newman is his good ole self, but the film lags in the middle and becomes fairly repetitive.
October 25, 2010
It almost hurts my feelings to rate a Paul Newman/John Huston collaboration this low, but I cannot in good conscience rate it any higher. It had some moments but Judge Bean was all nonsense and bluster and the series of events seemed random and mostly pointless. For fans of Newman or Huston or both give it a watch just because otherwise...meh.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2010
At the start of "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean," the title character(Paul Newman) is not yet a member of the legal profession. Quite the opposite, in fact, as he is an outlaw in the badlands west of the Pecos, intent on bragging, drinking and whoring but is instead savagely beaten and left for dead. However, Marie Elena(Victoria Principal) takes pity on him, nurses him back to health and gives him a gun. After Bean gets his revenge on all concerned, Reverend LaSalle(Anthony Perkins) comes along to give some advice and help bury the bodies. Bean decides to take up being the law of the land with help from some incompetent criminals who make betters marshals.

Written by John Milius, directed by John Huston and performed by an eclectic cast(wait until you see Stacy Keach), "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" is a mischievous and irreverent western. By going a different route, the movie gets quite a lot right in how the west was won, going from lawlessness to legal brutality to respectability, as Judge Roy Bean helps make Texas safe for normal people. At the same time, the movie gives a very good idea about the kind of people who moved west to make a new life for themselves, many of them outcasts.
September 22, 2009
*** (out of four)

Paul Newman plays the legendary Judge Roy Bean, the famous Old West judge who was known as the 'hanging judge". Part lawman, part outlaw. John Huston directed this with mostly good results.
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