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Rio Lobo (1970)

tomatometer

71

Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 6

Howard Hawks and John Wayne reunite to riff on their own Rio Bravo, and while the results are less memorable the movie does offer a curiously cynical perspective.

60

Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

Howard Hawks and John Wayne reunite to riff on their own Rio Bravo, and while the results are less memorable the movie does offer a curiously cynical perspective.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 7,362

My Rating

Movie Info

John Wayne, in the last of his Civil War characterizations, portrays Cord McNally, a Union Army colonel who loses a gold shipment in a Confederate raid, during which a devoted young officer is also killed. After the end of the war, McNally bears no ill-will toward the leaders of the raid, Pierre Cordona (Jorge Rivero) and Tuscarora Phillips (Christopher Mitchum), who were acting as soldiers, but he still wants the two unknown men on the Union side who they say sold them the information about the

G,

Western, Action & Adventure, Classics

Burton Wohl, Leigh Brackett

Apr 29, 2003

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (6) | DVD (10)

The Duke knows by instinct what audiences accept without question: whatever he may be called in the script, he is always unmistakably John Wayne. And who would have it any other way?

May 23, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hawks' direction is as listless as the plot.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If it lacks the formal perfection of Rio Bravo and the moving elegy for men grown old of El Dorado, it's still a marvellous film.

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

In this case, the story itself doesn't matter much. We go to a classic John Wayne Western not to see anything new, but to see the old done again, done well.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The fact that its best action sequence, the first, was directed by the second unit is emblematic of Hawks's relative lack of engagement with the material.

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

...it appears both the Duke and Hawks sort of walked through this one.

July 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Delightful Western with unusually rich visual style.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

A film of mementos, of deliberately pale shadows

September 6, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

For such a refined director as Hawks to end his career on a note like this, having made some of the finest films in the history of American cinema, is an atrocity not worth the silver used in the negative.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Hawks last Western is his weakest collaboration with Wayne, but the film offers an occasion to see the aging Duke trying to rise above the routine plot and amateurish ensemble, including Sherry Lansing who would become a powerful Hollywood studio exec.

November 4, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

John Wayne is great to watch, and the train holdup sequence that leads the film is genuinely exciting.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A rambling Western.

October 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Wayne is always fun to watch, even in lesser form here.

October 16, 2004

A John Wayne western; what more could you want?

September 24, 2004
Tolucan Times

The Duke rules with his iron fists in Hawks's wily westerner.

June 26, 2004
Movie Eye

Disappointing.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for Rio Lobo

Kind've just a better version of True Grit, aside from the slightly better performance from The Duke. While this isn't Howard Hawks' greatest movie, it's certainly a great way to go out. This has some real differences from his other work, especially the opening. It's got all the charm and wit necessary for a Howard Hawks vehicle. He made some of the most lovable movies to ever exist and this is no exception.
September 6, 2010
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

While hardly the most auspicious of swan songs, Hawks? underrated final film sees a reprise of some of his favorite themes ? including the siege/hostage exchange situation from RIO BRAVO (1959), a Western he had already partially remade as EL DORADO (1966); incidentally, John Wayne starred in all three titles.

It opens with an elaborate gold shipment robbery from a moving train by Confederate soldiers; Wayne is a Unionist Colonel who goes after the culprits but, the war over, befriends ?enemies? Jorge Rivero and Chris Mitchum when they reveal the identity of a couple of Yankee traitors ? one is a deputy sheriff and the other an unscrupulous landowner (Victor French). The film shares its partnership-between-Union-and-Confederate-soldiers angle with Wayne?s earlier Western THE UNDEFEATED (1969) ? but, Hawks being Hawks, it?s presented here in a far more complex (and rewarding) manner.

As is usual for the director, a spirited female protagonist is thrown into the fray ? in this case, Jennifer O?Neill as a traveling-show performer who falls foul of French and his dastardly sheriff (Mike Henry); of course, she becomes romantically involved with Rivero ? a situation Wayne observes with bemusement. Jack Elam is a delight as Mitchum?s trigger-happy coot of a foster parent, making him an ideal replacement for the Walter Brennan of RIO BRAVO. The film also features an unusually wistful score for a genre effort courtesy of Jerry Goldsmith.

All things considered, however, RIO LOBO still emerges as the least of the loose Wayne/Hawks Western trilogy: this is chiefly due to severe undercasting when compared to the earlier efforts ? with, say, Rivero being no match for James Caan from EL DORADO. Though a lot of exposition is necessary for the various plot threads to fall into place, the film (co-scripted by Hawks regular Leigh Brackett) provides plenty of action throughout its almost 2-hour length. The climax is exciting and well-staged, and includes the revenge on Henry by a young girl he has viciously scarred for life (played by Sherry Lansing, future head of the Fox and Paramount studios and currently Mrs. William Friedkin) ? which, however, calls for O?Neill to be virtually absent from these final stages and the film to end abruptly (albeit on a running joke involving Wayne)! Unfortunately, too, the DivX copy I watched proved rather hazy and suffered from occasional compression artifacts.
January 10, 2009
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

Fast-moving, exciting and totally engrossing of John Wayne western film. And Jack Elam is terrific in a delightful supporting role.
April 14, 2007
deano
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Not in the same league as Howard Hawks' masterpiece Rio Bravo, or the excellent El Dorado, Rio Lobo is still an overall good western. The weakness of the overall cast is lifted, as happens often, by Wayne.
April 3, 2011
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

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