True Grit Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 8, 2008
John Wayne won his one and only Oscar for Best Actor in this exciting and riveting action-packed Western from Director Henry Hathaway that became one of the biggest boxoffice hits of 1969 in a year that was dominated with the return of the Hollywood Westerns that featured "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid",and "The Wild Bunch". "True Grit" casts the legendary John Wayne,in the prime of his career playing Rooster Cogburn,an aging,hard-drinking,foul-mouthed United States Marshal who was once one of the West's best lawman in his prime.

A teenage girl(played by Kim Darby)enlists his help in finding and tracking down the men responsible for brutally murdering her father. Along for the ride and adventure is country music superstar Glen Campbell,who not only sings the movie's theme song,but also makes his theatrical debut in this picture as a devoted and dedicated Texas Ranger who joins the odd couple in finding the killers responsible for her father's death,and bringing them to justice which will be a a task to deal with going against some dangerous desperados,among them Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper,and Bruce Dern. This movie was also Oscar nominated for Best Original Song sung by Glen Campbell. This movie was so successful in 1969 that producer Hal B. Wallis brought John Wayne back in 1975 for the sequel to "True Grit" in the title role of Rooster Cogburn,but this time around screen icon Katherine Hepburn join him for the second installment. In 2010,directors Joel and Ethan Coen did the remake with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role that was also Oscar nominated for Best Original Adaptation Screenplay.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2012
A fourteen-year-old girl hires and accompanies a grizzled U.S. Marshal on a mission to avenge the death her father.
It's rare that a re-make is better than the original, but the Coen Brothers accomplished more with this story and the characters than its progenitors. As I watched it, I couldn't help comparing the two. Jeff Bridges's Rooster Cogburn had more character, a chatty, damaged drunkard, but John Wayne is all of these things but muted; Bridges is an actor who takes more risks, unafraid to be seen vulnerable. What we don't get with Wayne's performance is any clue about why Rooster is the way he is; he's just the force that John Wayne has always represented.
I did like this iteration of True Grit because it's a fine story and the characters are inherently interesting despite how much more fleshed out they are in the Coen Brothers' version. Of all the westerns I've seen, this is one of the least racist (the portrayal of Asians leaves something to be desired), and the tale is full of class tropes of revenge and heroes. It's nothing to think too deeply about, but it's a solid three-star film.
Overall, despite the strengths of the original True Grit, if you're only going to see one version of this story, you should see the latest one.
Overall, despi
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2011
True Grit is a masterpiece and is one of the greatest westerns in film history. John Wayne is a amazing actor, and in this he is probably the best person in the world who could play Rooster Cogburn. Kim Darby was my one problem with this film, she was annoying and boring and a terrible actor to play Mattie Ross. The plot was fun and and a well made adaption from the book. Overall, a classic movie, and the funny thing is, this film is my fathers #1 favorite film ever made, he made me watch this, haha.
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2011
Having read the novel by Charles Portis and seeing the Coen Brothers version, and finally seeing this film, I thought that the original True Grit was a terrific and well acted Western film. This is actually the first film that I've seen with John Wayne in it. I have to say he is terrific in his role of Rooster Cogburn. The Duke pulls off a flawless performance of Portis' ruthless U.S Marshall. He definitely deserved that Oscar. The film at times feels a tad silly and uneven, but fortunately, the actors and well written script keep this film afloat and in the process create a fun, entertaining film that is a well done adaptation and as far as the remake is concerned, both films had a different twist on Charles Portis classic novel, and both succeeded in having the essence of the novel. This film is a more cheerful version of True Grit, while the recent version is a darker, colder and meaner version. But both films are wonderful. John Wayne and Kim Darby have great chemistry on screen, although it has to be pointed out that Kim Darby in this film is supposed to play a 14 year old girl, but the actress is in her early 20's. I thought that was slightlky odd, I mean they should've gotten a 14 year to play a 14 year, right? If you've enjoyed the book and want to see the first version of True Grit, then this is a good film to watch. The film is like I said a tad more cheerful than the recent version. This version is a well adapted version nonetheless and is a must see for John Wayne fans and fans of the book.
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2011
Altho the Duke's Oscar was actually one for lifetime achievement, that doesn't alter the fact that his gift was making those around him (and us) feel good and thereby look good. Herein a chase for a killer feels more like a summer day's picnic outing and is that a bad thing, to enjoy watching a movie? The overly correct speech of the original literary work sounds stilted but yet adds to the fun (just like in the Coens Bros. version!)
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
John Wayne's Academy Award winning performance is reason alone to watch True Grit. The award not only commemorates the Duke's great career as one of cinema's timeless icons, but it bids farewell to the traditional Western. In 1969, films were being reinvented by several directors, and the Western genre was undergoing one of the biggest changes, some examples including Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, and the spaghetti westerns pioneered by Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone. A film like True Grit was the last of its kind.
Unfortunately, I don't the film is particularly a masterpiece. Kim Darby's performance is way too cheerful for the audience to get a real sense of determination and ambition that she is supposed to have. Glen Campbell ruins the movie with his god-awful performance as LaBoeuf - he makes Keanu Reeves look like Marlon Brando. And many of the scenes are too slow and not particularly eventful.
Not to mention the 2011 Coen Brothers remake is just so much better in every way, that it almost renders the film a forgotten swan song to the classic Western.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2011
Rough, fun and shows revenge in the old west. I loved it. It's my first John Wayne movie.. the first real western movie I've ever liked to be exact. Rooster Cogburn (john wayne) is rugged and sweet all at the same time. I can't wait to see the new one with Jeff Bridges, I don't know if I'll like it as much.. but who knows, I may like it more. I do love me some Jeff Bridges.
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2009
You see, there are two La Boeufs. theres the La Boeuf who stars in transformers and uh... transformers 2. and then theres this guy who makes John Wayne look like a pussy. niiiiice.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2010
Classic western film! See this film for John Wayne's memorable role in which he won the Academy Award. Really good film! Can't wait to see the new one.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2006
A prim young woman enlists the aid of a crotchety old US marshal to track down the outlaw who killed her father. This characterful western from the old school has had a lot of plaudits, but to me it's not much different from many other of Wayne's outings. John Wayne plays John Wayne yet again, and if you don't cotton to him this sure as spit ain't gonna change yer mind. The story is simple but the amusing bickering between Wayne and the hard-headed Kim Darby makes for some fun scenes, as does some great cameos from Strother Martin, Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall. It seems a little overlong for what it is, Glen Campbell's character being a little irrelevant and everything after the great showdown seems rather superfluous but it's a good, solid old fashioned western that won't disappoint fans of The Duke. Besides, this is one of the few opportunities I have to actually look forward to a remake...
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2007
This will sound or read like blasphemy to some, but the truth is is that this film is merely just good instead of being great or a classic. It is very entertaining, but it's mostly just fun and decently made fluff. I realize that Wayne got his one and onlyOscar for this film, and, even though he is really good as Rooster Cogburn, the award was more of a sympathy Oscar or consolation prize for his getting snubbed in the past (for his much better roles), or it was given to him in recognition of his career as a whole.

This is not a bad film, but it hasn't aged well, is quite cheesy, and is a tad overlong. The characters and the screenplay could have been fleshed out a lot more, but the other players besides Wayne aren't terrible, even though they don't match him. Campbell should have just stuck tosinging, and, even though Darby is kind of cute in an odd way, she's too old to convinclngly play a 14 year-old (she was 22 at the time of filming). Also, even though the scenery looks great, it does the film a disservice by obviously showing that it wasn't film where the story was supposed to be set.

For all of my complaining, I do like the film, but I think it's just a bit overrated. It does look nbice and have some good humor and action though. Plus, "Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!" is one of the best and coolest lines ever spoken. Give this one a shot, but come to it with lowered expectations.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2010
With all the tales of actors colliding, it's no surprise that this is an awkwardly acted and uncomfortable film. Wayne won an Oscar, certainly quantity over quality, for his role as Rooster Cogburn. A man never as gruff or hardass as his reputation denotes. Singer Glen Campbell is an awkward Texas Ranger with a stilted performance, which only lends itself to the creepy, wanting to kiss little girls and spank them side of his character. Kim Darby is precocious and irritating,completely sidelining the strength her character tries to convey. There are also awkward parts of dialogue. This is a town where you're always standing next to someone who can explain each character and their motivations. Despite all this, there is a good story at its core, and the journey is certainly worth the experience. A Coen brothers remake is just around the corner, and this is a film that could certainly use one.
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2008
although the telling of the story in the first hour was too shifty to be reasonable, the second half of the film comes together perfectly and really picks up the film nicely. although i try to convince myself that im not a huge fan of wayne as an actor, i find myself enjoying so many of his films. the story works well and the journey of the characters is far more tolerable than a film like the searchers. in all, an excellent western with true grit.
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2010
While True Grit may not be the straight up out-and-out western type of movie you'd expect from hearing its title and who the lead actor is in it, I found it to be one of John Wayne's more interesting films. A character study right down to the core, the film is less about Wayne and more about everybody else - which is nice. Kim Darby steals the show of course and the film follows through her character's eyes, but it's less a western and more of a road movie than anything.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2010
The character of Rooster Cogburn is worth watching alone, but there's something really genuine and human about the movie. John Wayne plays a slightly more crooked, drunk and funny character than he ever did before and it's really enjoyable to watch. The story is easy to get into and quite strong. Kim Darby's Mattie is so cute and dorky that you really begin to feel for her and see why Rooster takes a liking to her. While I don't think this has the same quality film-making as some of John Wayne's other collaborators, it's just fine. This isn't a visionary, it's just a good western story.
Super Reviewer
½ May 6, 2007
Admittedly, I was never a huge John Wayne fan. I always disliked him for the same reasons I liked Humphrey Bogart (that being they both usually always played the same part) but after seeing True Grit, the man's warming up to me a bit. His performance as Rooster Cogburn was hysterically entertaining even if Kim Darby's annoying precociousness and Glen Campbell's... presence(?) didn't exactly pull their respective weight. Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper's scenes were great even if they weren't enough. But I think its the scene where Darby gets a shot off on Chaney was hysterical. That and I kind of want a cat named General Sterling Price. Admittedly, I spent a big part of this movie anticipating how its going to play out in the Coen Brothers remake but this version was pretty damn entertaining as well. For as good as Henry Hathaway's direction was, I would've liked to see John Ford in the director's chair.
Super Reviewer
December 22, 2009
"The strangest trio ever to track a killer."

A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.

A young Kim Darby enlists the help of one-eyed drunk U.S. marshal (John Wayne in his Oscar-winning role) and a Texas Ranger (Glen Campbell) to help her track down her father's killer in this uneven and sometimes dry-as-dirt western. The film is little more than a showcase for Wayne who finally found a part that everyone loved him in. He rounded up enough support and sympathy votes in 1969 to steal the Oscar away from more deserving competition (most notably Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight who effectively canceled each other out for their performances in "Midnight Cowboy"). A sophomoric screenplay is saved by above-average direction from the usually dependable Henry Hathaway. This was the last old-time western Hollywood produced as a new breed was born with "The Wild Bunch" during the same year "True Grit" was released. Basically a showcase for John Wayne, "True Grit" is remembered as the film that finally got him his Oscar. Watch for Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper in prevalent roles here as well. John Wayne's die-hard fans will love this, others may leave disappointed.
Super Reviewer
½ June 19, 2008
John Wayne finally got an Oscar for his performance as Rooster Cogburn in this film and he deserved it.
True Grit is about a young girl who seeks revenge on the man that killed and robbed her father. She bribes Federal Marshall Cogburn to go after the man with Glen "Bad Mugshot" Campbell in tow as a Texas Ranger hunting the same man.
Wayne seems to be playing a crustier version of himself at this point in his life. Rooster's demeanor appears to be that life had ridden him hard and put him away wet. Overused seems to come to mind and Wayne gives probably one of the best performances of his life.
Featuring a young Dennis Hopper and a young Robert Duvall True Grit was Wayne' swan song, mainly because most of his output after this film (excluding the Shootist) just wasn't up to snuff. It also rang the last call bell on the great American western (as opposed to the Italian influenced westerns) mainly with the deaths of Howard Hawks, John Ford, and eventually John Wayne himself.
This film was going to be a four start affair, but I had to bump up a half a star because of the appearance of screen legend and personal guru Strother Martin.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2006
John Wayne made an excellent performance in this great western film.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2011
True Grit is a masterpiece and is one of the greatest westerns in film history. John Wayne is a amazing actor, and in this he is probably the best person in the world who could play Rooster Cogburn. Kim Darby was my one problem with this film, she was annoying and boring and a terrible actor to play Mattie Ross. The plot was fun and and a well made adaption from the book. Overall, a classic movie, and is my ironically my fathers favorite movie ever made, so he gave me a great influence to watch this.
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