Rio Lobo (1971)



Critic Consensus: 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.

Rio Lobo Videos & Photos

Movie Info

In post-Civil War times, John Wayne plays a former Union colonel who joins two Reb soldiers looking for a gold thief. The trail leads to a western town where the citizens are under the thumb of a law-breaking sheriff. Wayne and company rally the folks to overcome the evil lawman .

Rating: G
Genre: Western, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Leigh Brackett, Burton Wohl
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 29, 2003
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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as Col. Cord McNally

as Capt. Pierre Cordona...

as Shasta Delaney

as Phillips

as Ketcham

as Maria Carmen

as Sheriff Tom Hendrick...

as Dr. Jones

as Sheriff Pat Cronin

as Lt. Harris

as Whiter Carter

as Riley

as Lt. Forsythe

as Whitey's henchman

as Whitey's henchman

as Whitey's henchman

as Deputy Sheriff

as Corporal/Guard

as Machinist

as Feeny - Bartender

as (uncredited)

as (uncredited)

as Rio Lobo Deputy

as Train engineer

as (uncredited)

as (uncredited)

as Blackthorne Prostitu...

as (uncredited)

as (uncredited)

as (uncredited)

as Sheriff Tom Hendrick...
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Critic Reviews for Rio Lobo

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

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?

Full Review… | May 23, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Hawks' direction is as listless as the plot.

Full Review… | May 13, 2008
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic appears both the Duke and Hawks sort of walked through this one.

Full Review… | July 11, 2011
Movie Metropolis

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.

Conner Rainwater

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.

Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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