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Wagons East! (1994)



Average Rating: 2.4/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 28

Wagons East! is a witless, toothless satire of Westerns that falls far below the standard set by Blazing Saddles, and is notable only for being John Candy's final screen performance.


Average Rating: 2.6/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 12

Wagons East! is a witless, toothless satire of Westerns that falls far below the standard set by Blazing Saddles, and is notable only for being John Candy's final screen performance.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 7,640

My Rating

Movie Info

Comedian John Candy, who died during the making of this poorly received comic western, plays James Harlow, a 19th century wagon master who is heading back east with a wagon train full of oddball characters who have had their fill of Western life. They include ex-doctor Phil Taylor (Richard Lewis), kind-hearted prostitute Belle (Ellen Greene), and a bookseller, Julian (John C. McGinley). Harlow is a drunken, washed-up leader who frequently gets lost. The travelers eventually discover that he was


Western, Drama, Comedy

Jun 18, 2002

Artisan Entertainment

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (0) | Rotten (28)

[An] anemic Blazing Saddles-wannabe.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A poorly focused and rhythmless collection of vignettes, Wagons East! does contain a few funny ideas and some decent performances that simply are not enough to rescue the movie.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stridently unfunny western comedy that is equally lame in its writing and direction.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With credits that include such garbage as Hot Dog... The Movie, director and former hockey player Peter Markle displays an utter lack of comic sensibility.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sunshiney hodgepodge of bad jokes, nice scenery and reverse stereotypes.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A typically rickety vehicle, just dumb enough that it actually submerges Candy's sweet, perky persona in what's basically a sullen, grizzled straight-man role.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Awful. A candidate for one of the year's worst movies.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

The jokes tend to be watered-down versions of the tasteless kind that enlivened the Naked Gun movies and the early films of Mel Brooks.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Although a comedy rife in lively characters, Wagons East! affords star John Candy one of the poorest, drabest, and thoroughly unfunniest roles of his career.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

There's little to praise in Peter Markle's handling of Matthew Carlson's heavy-handed screenplay.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

This forgettable comedy western is quite dreadful.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A wagon train of disgruntled pioneers returning to the East is the incidental setting for tired, adolescent humor in this ponderous and directionless comedy.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

In what purports to be a comedic spin on the wagon-train Western genre, John Candy is sadly almost unrecognisable with a scruffy beard and long hair.

August 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Much potential for comedy is lost, thanks to a weak script, desultory direction and indifferent performances.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

A sad farewell for John Candy.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Wagons East!

Wagons East is an entertaining and underrated film that was the last feature starring John Candy, who died on the set of the film. The film does boast some flaws, but is nonetheless fun, humorous and well acted. Although not as great as other Western comedies, this is a film that still manages to overcome its flaws due to Candy's usually memorable screen presence. Wagons East is not as great as Blazing Saddles, but it manages to be a whimsical comedy that doesn't deserve the flack it has received. Although not the best John Candy film, this is not a bad movie either. In terms of a comedy, this is a humorous picture that definitely should be seen. The cast here are good and aside from John Candy, John C. McGinley is one of the standout aspects of the film as homosexual bookseller Julian. I thought he was very funny in his performance, and I always enjoy McGinley's work no matter what he does. Watching Wagons East, I don't understand all the hatred that the film has garnered upon its release and it definitely is an underrated movie that brings on a few good laughs, an interesting story and a few standout performances. Although it had its fair share of flaws, I quite enjoyed this comedy yarn and it doesn't deserve all the negative reviews it has received. Wagons East is no Blazing Saddles, but it makes a pretty mindless hour and a half of comedic fun that isn't that bad. This is one of those films that are underrated for what it is, and though it is far from the best Western comedy, it's not the worst. If you enjoy John Candy, give this one a shot. Unfortunately this was his final film, but at least he managed to make me laugh one last time with this one.
January 20, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A fun western wagon trek with John Candy. I liked the funny gay cowboy character.
August 15, 2007

Super Reviewer

Meh, It's just so predictable and average. Very minimal laughs.
November 8, 2008

Super Reviewer

December 25, 2007
Leo L

Super Reviewer

    1. Clayton Ferguson: WOMEN!
    – Submitted by Caroline D (2 years ago)
    1. James Harlow: I hear it's warm in Canada all year long
    – Submitted by Jim W (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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