Cimarron 1931

Cimarron

Critics Consensus

Cimarron is supported by a strong performance from Irene Dunne, but uneven in basically every other regard, and riddled with potentially offensive stereotypes.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

25%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,515

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Movie Info

In 1889, adventurous lawyer and newspaper editor Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) convinces his genteel wife, Sabra (Irene Dunne), to join him in the rush to populate Osage, Oklahoma. After they begin to settle into the community, Yancey leaves to go further west. Alone, Sabra inherits his editorial duties and struggles to bring civilization to the rough frontier town. Over a tumultuous 40 years, the couple are repeatedly separated and reunited as Oklahoma makes its long journey to statehood.

Cast & Crew

Richard Dix
Yancey Cravat
Irene Dunne
Sabra Cravat
Nance O'Neil
Felice Venable
Roscoe Ates
Jesse Rickey
Robert McWade
Louis Hefner
Edna May Oliver
Mrs. Tracy Wyatt
Frank Darien
Mr. Bixby (uncredited)
Max Steiner
Original Music
Edward Cronjager
Cinematographer
Max Rée
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for Cimarron

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (12)

  • The conclusion of the story... is not in the least convincing.

    January 24, 2020 | Full Review…
  • "Cimarron" is magnificent in scope, powerful in treatment, admirable in acting. But it is even more than all this. It is one of few talking picture productions which inspires rather than awes.

    February 17, 2015 | Full Review…
  • It is a long, full-bodied picture, paced so deftly that although it covers more than half a century of crowded, changing events, it never drags and is rarely jerky.

    February 17, 2009 | Full Review…
  • This is a spectacular western away from all others. It holds action, sentiment, sympathy, thrills and comedy -- and 100% clean.

    January 28, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A graphic and engrossing screen conception.

    March 25, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Critically lauded at the time of its release, Cimarron was beloved by most who saw it. Eight decades later, it is frequently cited on lists of the most undeserving Academy Award winners.

    January 26, 1931 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cimarron

  • Oct 21, 2013
    A land rusher and his wife attempt to conquer the West. I think one's judgement of this film rests with one's judgement of its main character. Some may see Yancey Cravat as a just, forward-thinking tough paragon of masculinity. However, I see him as a braggart, demeaning, and ludicrous prick. His heavy-handed treatment of his wife, his version of vigilante "justice," his proselytizing sermons, and his posturing nonsense wear on me to the point where I find it impossible to spend one moment in his presence. He's the type of person who so full of himself that there's nothing left for anyone else. The plot of the film serves Yancey. Each turn of the story is meant to render him more fully masculine and more admirably heroic, but what is left when an audience finds themselves unconvinced of his "awesomeness?" Not a damn thing. Overall, this guy is an asshole, and that makes the film an asshole too.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2011
    Okay, so this film is historically significant since it's the first western to win an Oscar (in general), and also for (somehow) snagging Best Picture. I think this is definitely a case of tastes changing. This was seen as a marvelously lavish and epic film in its time. Now it's a horribly dated, irrelevant and racist mess. I will give it credit for being an interesting look at the values of the society that it was produced in. Aside from that, there's not really much of a reason to see this unless you're an Oscar completist of die hard fan of 30s cinema. The story (based on a historical novel) tells the sotry of a man and wife set against the backdrop of the early history and development of Oklahoma. It should be an adventurous story of progress and adventure but is instead a creaky, scattershot melodrama with racist overtones in its portrayal of ethnic minorities. At the time the film was considered progressive, and no one batted an eye over the content. Yeah...can't say the same for how it fares now. I've seen movies that were far more racist, but thpse also had other aspects that helped me forgive them or at least be more understanding. This film, aside from being lavishly staged, isn't really technically innovative or remarkable. The opening scenes are decent though. At least hte film contains one character who serves as a counterpoint to the dominant views and is sympathetic with or understanding of the minorities. That helps, but it's not enough. It's also boring and unengaging. Well, that pretty much sums this one up. It's not terrible, but there's really isn't a reason to see this beyond what I've previously mentioned.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2010
    Creaky antique that somewhat inexplicably won the second best picture Oscar ever awarded. Taking into account that films had just started to talk perhaps that is part of the reason for the prize going to this exercise in overacted storytelling. Although today the picture is quite racist in the context of the time it might of even been considered progressive. The print is in pretty rough shape and Dix in particular is over the top, to be far most actors of the time hadn't learned yet how to modulate down their performances from the silents. Read the much better book instead.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2009
    I really disliked this one. It was a poorly made western film. I disliked the character of Yancey quite a bit. at some points it was downright racist. there is a scene where a gunfight is going on (It's a western after all) and Yancey's black servant goes out to save his kids. the servant gets shot. Yancey then kills all of the "bad guy's" and brings his children home. in the street the camera focuses on Yancey's servant whom in his final moments moans "master Yancey" and is completely ignored and isn't even talked about for the rest of the movie. I did like Irene Dunne's performance though. She did very well. but on the whole this movie really sucked. I wouldn't have given Best Picture to this. I'm not sure yet what I would have given it to though. Final Verdict: it bored me, was racist, and it had a poor plot and only halfway decent acting. I would give it to something else. Not sure what yet though.
    Lord N Super Reviewer

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