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True Grit Reviews

Page 2 of 67
Ethan Perregaux
July 24, 2011
A very competent western, but having seen the remake prior to it, nothing was very surprising or new.
June 14, 2012
(First and only viewing - 6/14/2012)
July 18, 2014
One of the western legends.
July 13, 2014
may have been well-received in its time but it has aged into an insufferable bore, any payoffs are stymied by the hammy acting and a clearly dated script, only the scenery stands out which is merely standard for its genre
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

June 29, 2011
1969 saw an explosion of liberal hippies, what with all that Woodstockin' and what have you, so it's only that real men got quite the collection of nitty gritty westerns, with this one being the grittiest, as it tells you in the title. Seriously though, 1969 was a particularly important year for westerns, because "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" united Paul Newman and Robert Redford, while "The Wild Bunch" broke boundaries with western violence and anti-heroism, and John Wayne finally got his Oscar, you know, for his remarkable diversity on display here. Yeah, Wayne is good in here and all, because, come on, he's John Wayne, pilgrims, but he doesn't have much to do at all, let alone much to do that's different from usual, so maybe the real cowboy who deserved Best Actor was of the midnight persuasion. Yeah, nevermind about "The Wild Bunch" being the cowboy film which tested censorship boundaries in 1969, but it's still a little grittier than this film, which is so commercialized that Glen Campbell shows up, further convoluting the difference between southern country and the old south. Come to think of it, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper show up, too, so this film seemed to be great for the early stages of notorious performers' careers, with the exception of Kim Darby. Well, in all fairness, even though Darby is the real lead of this film, I mean, how could you possibly be remembered when you work with John Wayne delivering a mighty and totally distinct, Oscar-winning performance? Sarcasm aside, Wayne is good in this film, and the film itself isn't too shabby, even though, also like Wayne's performance, it tends to slip into formula.

I suppose familiarity is among the bigger issues of the film, but by no means the biggest, as the film seems to be making attempts at freshening things up in some places, it's just that it generally falls into trope, upon trope as a traditional, 1960s western, complete, unfortunately, with certain dated aspects. The usual '60s Hollywood stuff that has since failed to fair especially well against the tests of time, whether it be cheesy lines or sentimentality, if not melodramatic, all of which reflect the film's finding difficulty in gaining a great grip on weight, as surely as it finds difficulty in gaining a great grip on scale. A dramatic adventure affair, this film alternates between intimacy and sweep a little unevenly, and while that is hardly a huge issue, it does result in some heavy blows to a sense of urgency that, quite frankly, isn't exactly helped by the pacing of the film. Clocking in at a fair ways over two hours, the film tends to wander around more than it ought to, with near-monotonously overdrawn set-ups, followed by expendable filler during the body so plentiful in quantity that storytelling often devolves into aimlessness, exacerbated by some limp-feeling direction. The film is generally very entertaining, but honestly, there are some cold spells to Henry Hathaway's directorial atmosphere which aren't so much bland, or even all that problematic at all, yet still carry a disconcerting laziness to their feel. There's really not much to complain about here, and what criticisms you can make are rarely that big of an issue, but there are subtle missteps here and there throughout the course of the final product, and when they fall behind a certain sense of self-consciousness to Hathaway's direction, entertainment value, maybe even reward value is threatened. Of course, in the end, the entertainment value is firmly secured on the whole, anchored by generally inspired storytelling, and flavored up by some nice scoring.

As you can imagine, if there's barely anything new to this 1960s western's narrative formula, then there's just about nothing new to Elmer Bernstein's score, which still at least takes worthy notes from typical western film formulas, with a subtle sweep that compliments a sense of adventure almost as much as the film's production value. While not especially extensive, this film's art direction does a decent job of capturing the time portrayed in this portrait on post-Civil War south-central America's land, well enough to immerse, but not as much as that aforementioned sense of adventure that is further complimented by the art direction, and anchored by Henry Hathaway's direction. Like I said, there's a certain sense of laziness, or at least a sense of nervousness to Hathaway's directorial storytelling, but he doesn't slip so far that compelling momentum is lost, as he sustains it enough with subtle entertainment value, as well as with subtle dramatic highlights, to endear the patient towards the heart of this adventure drama's story. A potentially fun and tense study on the dynamics of three unique characters on an adventure to claim, if not exact vengeance on a murderer on the run, this story is conceptually dynamic with its structure and tone, and if no one else does justice to such potential, it's Marguerite Roberts, whose script is overdrawn and a little melodramatic, but highlighted by plenty clever dialogue, amusing lighter set pieces, and memorable characterization. Particularly as a coming-of-age drama, this film is thematically worthy, drawing parallels between adult adventure's genuine fun and dangerous realities, all on a path to coming into your own as an independent individual, with a certain intimacy that is done justice by Roberts and, to a lesser extent, Hathaway, but still not as much as it is done justice by some endearing performances. Glen Campbell is charismatic, with some sharp chemistry with his peers, and Kim Darby does a perfectly decent job of capturing both the formal attitude and emotional sensitivity of a young woman who is wise, but not strong beyond her years, while John Wayne steals the show, playing himself, make no mistake, but therefore coming well-versed with a high charisma that is controlled in a way which sells Rooster Cogburn's grimy charm and heroic stance. The film's strengths are subtle, and as the flaws gradually bear down on the drama as it progresses, momentum slips, almost into underwhelmingness, but through it all is a classic adventure opus that entertains and compels enough to reward the patient.

When the chase is done, the many conventions of this film include a fair deal of cheesily dated dramatic aspects, while an unevenness in a sense of scope, structural tightness and directorial pace shake momentum almost enough for the final product to collapse as underwhelming, but on the backs of lively scoring, immersive production value, some colorful direction, sharp scripting and charismatic performances by Glen Campbell, Kim Darby and, of course, John Wayne, Henry Hathaway's "True Grit" is secured as a rewardingly fun and often compelling classic western.

3/5 - Good
October 1, 2013
John Wayne at his best as an old, fat, one-eyed drunk...
May 28, 2014
John Wayne is such a badass! Great classic, fine story and great performance.
May 27, 2014
It's a culturally significant film; A. For putting a young lady - a tomboy no less - in as important if not a more important role as the masculine, heroic figure of John Wayne; and B. For it's iconic story being the basis of the 2010 remake with Jeff Bridges. While the film's story's iconography is deserved and the main three characters are interesting, the film is bogged down by painful dialogue, an insanely generic score and unnecessarily slow pacing, not to mention set design equivalent to finding someplace in the woods and shooting. While it's an enjoyable film that can be recommended, a far better and similar film released that same year would be "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Or you can go watch the remake, which in all honesty is better.
May 26, 2014
I finally got to see this original. While it was overall good, I prefer the 2010 remake with Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges. That later version has more "grit." This original is still worth watching if you enjoy old westerns.
John B

Super Reviewer

May 14, 2014
Far from irritating, the aging John Wayne pulls off his best performance by being not quite the solid cowboy that we always anticipate that he will be. Although remade well, the original remains superior.
Matt H.
April 23, 2014
True Grit is a classic John Wayne movie, and is almost as good as the Coen brothers remake. This will always be remembered as one of the best American westerns.
March 18, 2014
The movie stands strong, even with Jeff Bridges digitally removed to reveal John Wayne defining the role underneath. I'm surprised both versions of the movie aren't packaged together, or that there's not a fan-edit that switches between movies for every other scene. If the Western genre ever seems dusty, let Rooster wake it up.
March 10, 2014
As far as I remember, this is the only John Wayne movie I liked and besides High Noon, it's also the only pre-1970 westerns I liked.
FilmGrinder S.
January 21, 2014

And John Wayne is stocked full of that, my freind.
January 7, 2014
A U.S. Marshall, a Texas Ranger and a 14-year old girl whose father was killed get together to track down a criminal. As a western, it is rather formulaic and despite the clashes between the three leading characters, True Grit's story is nothing that hasn't been seen before. Nevertheless, John Wayne delivers what in many ways could be considered an essential performance in his filmography not only because by putting an eye patch he won his first Academy Award, but because the role of the cynical, rough and tough, firm but fair embittered western law man fits him perfectly.
December 29, 2013
Pretty entertaining movie. I thought the characters could be annoying occasionally, especially the lead girl. But, the action, acting, and entertainment is great.
December 20, 2013
I would've loved True Grit if Mattie wasn't such an impudent and self-centered kid.
Chris B

Super Reviewer

September 14, 2011
A solid and entertaining Western, suitable for any and everyone, that finally garnered John Wayne his only Oscar win. A simple and straight-forward adaptation of the original novel with a solid cast and easy to follow narrative. The two hours is well paced and fast without straying too much along the way. I think I still prefer the remake (2010) slightly over this original version, but there is still a lot to like here.
December 2, 2013
True John Wayne at his very best!!!
November 29, 2013
One of the best Westerns ever produced. Great Wayne, great Darby, great story well told.
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