Unforgiven

1992

Unforgiven

Critics Consensus

As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 98

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 122,495
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Movie Info

Dedicated to his mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar-winner examines the mythic violence of the Western, taking on the ghosts of his own star past. Disgusted by Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett's decree that several ponies make up for a cowhand's slashing a whore's face, Big Whiskey prostitutes, led by fierce Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher), take justice into their own hands and put a $1000 bounty on the lives of the perpetrators. Notorious outlaw-turned-hog farmer William Munny (Eastwood) is sought out by neophyte gunslinger the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) to go with him to Big Whiskey and collect the bounty. While Munny insists, "I ain't like that no more," he needs the bounty money for his children, and the two men convince Munny's clean-living comrade Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to join them in righting a wrong done to a woman. Little Bill (Oscar-winner Gene Hackman), however, has no intention of letting any bounty hunters impinge on his iron-clad authority. When pompous gunman English Bob (Richard Harris) arrives in Big Whiskey with pulp biographer W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) in tow, Little Bill beats Bob senseless and promises to tell Beauchamp the real story about violent frontier life and justice. But when Munny, the true unwritten legend, comes to town, everyone soon learns a harsh lesson about the price of vindictive bloodshed and the malleability of ideas like "justice." "I don't deserve this," pleads Little Bill. "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it," growls Munny, simultaneously summing up the insanity of western violence and the legacy of Eastwood's Man With No Name. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

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Cast

Clint Eastwood
as William Munny
Gene Hackman
as Little Bill Daggett
Morgan Freeman
as Ned Logan
Richard Harris
as English Bob
Saul Rubinek
as W W. Beauchamp
Frances Fisher
as Strawberry Alice
Anna Levine
as Delilah Fitzgerald
David Mucci
as Quick Mike
Rob Campbell
as Davey Bunting
Anthony James
as Skinny Dubois
Jaimz Woolvett
as The Schofield Kid
Josie Smith
as Crow Creek Kate
Shane Meier
as Will Munny
Aline Levasseur
as Penny Munny
Jefferson Mappin
as Fatty Rossiter
Henry Kope
as German Joe Schultz
Robert Koons
as Crocker
Ben Cardinal
as Johnny Foley
Philip Maurice Hayes
as Lippy MacGregor
Jeremy Ratchford
as Deputy Andy Russell
John Pyper-Ferguson
as Charley Hecker
Ron White
as Clyde Ledbetter
Lochlyn Munro
as Texas Slim
Michael Maurer
as Train Person #3
George Orrison
as The Shadow
Mina E. Mina
as Muddy Chandler
Greg Goossen
as Fighter
Chad Dowdell
as Curious Townsperson (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Unforgiven

All Critics (98) | Top Critics (25)

Audience Reviews for Unforgiven

  • Jun 05, 2016
    "It's a hell of a thing, killing a man." From Clint Eastwood comes the gritty Academy Award winning western Unforgiven. After a group of prostitutes put out a bounty on a pair of cowboys who cut-up one of them, an eager young gunslinger seeks out a notorious outlaw named William Munny to team up with in order to kill the cowboys and collect on the reward. In addition to directing, Eastwood leads the cast and gives and excellent performance. And, co-stars Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman are incredibly good as well. The set designs and costumes are especially well-done, and give an authentic feel to the film. The violence also feels remarkably realistic, particularly the extraordinarily thrilling climatic shootout. A well-crafted and compelling revenge film, Unforgiven delivers a daring and provocative vision of the Old West.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 22, 2016
    It didn't feel as long as other western films. It was also realistically violent and gory. The performances are great and memorable. However it felt slow paced and that's what made it boring half of the time. When the movie wasn't boring it was probably depressing.
    Tarin P Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2014
    Whenever the word "Western" pops up the first person that comes to my mind is Clint Eastwood. As an actor he's center stage in several of my favorite Westerns and as a director understands the genre like no other director. Ever since his first directed western, Eastwood showed an interest in the duality of the hero, taking a special interest in the archetype of hero portrayed in the classic 1953 Western, "Shane". Eastwood has explored this theme in many ways in the past: first as a true antihero ("High Plains Drifter"), then as a man becoming legend ("The Outlaw Josey Wales") and later as a true mythic hero ("Pale Rider"); all this culminates in "Unforgiven" as the ultimate demythologization of the concept, and his final ode to the Western genre. Unforgiven follows retired old west gunslinger William Munny reluctantly taking on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man. It's a film about the manipulating influence of legends as much it is a dissection on the western genre position on violence. Built on a hollow facade of the western genre it removal of any heroes and villains slowly envelops the film. Broadening the depiction of the wild west eliminating the charming hero, the righteous sheriff, the violent outlaws, elaborate shootouts, climatic stands off, and the helpless everyday person caught in the middle in life in the old west. Becoming more thoughtful in showing every step of a character motivation by an outside force to an internal decision. Internalizing the classic Western theme in which violent men are "civilized" by schoolmarms, preachers and judges. It is in the use of violence as the main theme of the story that such varied views are made possible. Munny is escaping from his past's violence while the Kid is eagerly awaiting the next chance to prove his masculinity by the use of violence. The duality between man and myth is explored not only via the relationship between the Kid and Munny, but also in the shape of a character who writes novels about the wild west, and sees the figure of the gunslinger as an idolized modern hero. Reality constantly collides with legend with many characters and their relationships exhaustively explored, resulting in a character driven revisionism of the western. Clint Eastwood as a director reflects a passing era in its genre even in its visual style. The set design and cinematography provide viewers with visual cues they will be conversant with a genre whose conventions are deeply rooted in American cinema. The dusty, barren streets and ramshackle buildings are necessary to impart a sense of familiarity that the storyline takes pains to deconstruct. Our first views of Big Whiskey establish a set of expectations, reinforced by the way the town has been erected and the way the early scenes are shot, that are necessary for "Unforgiven" approach to have its full impact. Many of the film's exteriors are widescreen compositions showing the vastness of the land. The daytime interiors, on the other hand, are always strongly backlit, the bright sun pouring in through windows so that the figures inside are dark and sometimes hard to see. Living indoors in a civilized style has made these people distinct. As William Munny, Clint Eastwood is simply perfect in what at first sight looks like an extension of his earlier "Man with no name" persona. William Munny has a name, and a past he wants to escape from, and Eastwood captures the image of guilt and regret to the letter. But his voice lacks conviction, and we sense unfinished business in the air displaying the uncertainty of Eastwood to stick by his guns. Eastwood personifies the weariness of a man of violence who's trying to fight against his nature. A lot of the conflict is internal, but we catch enough glimpses of it to know it's going on. We also see the point at which the surrender of the new man to the old one occurs. In other words Eastwood has visually and through his portrayal created one of the most sophisticated westerns. Morgan Freeman plays the wise old friend role which he perfected. Gene Hackman does an excellent job bringing out the good and the bad in Little Bill, refusing to allow the character to become a one-dimensional antagonist. His standout scene is the one in which he instructs Beauchamp about the real Old West. Unforgiven is another classic western by one of the master of genre himself Clint Eastwood. Deconstructing the western with shades of grey and thoughtful statement on its genre violence. Bolstered by strong performances from an great assemble cast create individuals that aren't simply black and white. Showing far more depths in the characters in their delivery. It's in the same vein as "Seven Samurai" tackling it's respective genre with a depiction that challenges characters, it's environments, morals, and realistically deconstruct many norms of it genre. It's not just great filmmaking, but an essential work of art.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2012
    A good western that has achieved legendary status mainly due to the return of Eastwood to the genre not only as an actor but also in the director's chair. He never quite achieves the magic of his early efforts however.
    John B Super Reviewer

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