Buffalo Bill (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

Buffalo Bill (1944)





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No slouch himself at rearranging the facts to make a good story, Colonel William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody would probably have enjoyed this Technicolor version of his life and times. Well played by Joel McCrea, Cody is first seen as an army Indian scout, pursuing peaceful coexistence despite the animosity of Chief Yellow Hand (Anthony Quinn) and the obstruction of anti-Indian politicians. He also takes time out to court the lovely Louisa (Maureen O'Hara), the well-bred Eastern girl who will become his wife despite her initial (and quite justified) distaste for the West. Under the tutelage of impresario Ned Buntline (Thomas Mitchell), Cody follows up his military career with a more spectacular one as a larger-than-life super-showman, touring throughout the world with his spectacular Wild West show. In later years, Buffalo Bill director William Wellman would wince at the liberties taken with Cody's life -- especially the film's now notorious closing line, "God bless you, Buffalo Bill!" But Wellman allowed that, in terms of sheer entertainment, it was smarter to emulate Cody by perpetuating the legend rather than debunking the Buffalo Bill image with cold, hard facts. Or, as John Ford put it in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."


Joel McCrea
as William Frederick 'Buffalo Bill' Cody
Linda Darnell
as Dawn Starlight
Maureen O'Hara
as Louisa Frederici Cody
Thomas Mitchell
as Ned Buntline
Edgar Buchanan
as Sgt. Chips McGraw
Anthony Quinn
as Yellow Hand
Moroni Olsen
as Sen. Frederici
Frank Fenton
as Murdo Carvell
Matt Briggs
as Gen. Blazier
George Lessey
as Mr. Vandevere
Frank Orth
as Sherman
George Chandler
as Trooper Clancy
Nick Thompson
as Medicine Man
Chief Thundercloud
as Crazy Horse
Sidney Blackmer
as Theodore Roosevelt
Evelyn Beresford
as Queen Victoria
John Dilson
as President Hayes
Vincent Graeff
as Crippled Boy
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Critic Reviews for Buffalo Bill

All Critics (1)

Joel McCrea makes for a convincing Buffalo Bill.

Full Review… | May 31, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Buffalo Bill


Move or be driven out. The story of Wild Bill has a lot of turning roads, which some include glory and some misfortunes. He falls in love with a girl after his long famed accomplishments against the Native Americans. He trusts and believes in Native Americans, and doesn't enjoy people putting them down. When he needs to make a living, he reluctantly creates his own western show with a new friend. He may not be proud of it, but it helps him make a living...and have the funds to marry his true love. "The red-man and whiskey don't mix." William A. Wellman, director of Public Enemy, A Star is Born, the Ox-Bow Incident, Battleground, Blood Alley, The Happy Years, Yellow Sky, and Story of G.I. Joe, delivers Buffalo Bill. The storyline for this is very interesting and I really enjoyed the numerous aspects of the character that was delivered. The settings and writing was very good and I enjoyed the performances by the cast. The cast includes Joal McCrea, Maureen O'Hara, Anthony Quinn, Edgar Buchanan, Thomas Mitchell, and Linda Darnell. "We need more men like you to exterminate these savages." This was recently recommended to me by Fios so I decided to give it a shot. This was entertaining and well done and worth a viewing for fans of the character and/or western genre. I recommend seeing this at least once. "Indians never do what you expect." Grade: B-

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Bill Cody(Joel McCrea), a scout, is minding his business before he comes to the rescue of Senator Frederici(Moroni Olsen) and his daughter Louisa(Maureen O'Hara) from a band of rogue Indians, drunk 'on the white man's whiskey,' which is all witnessed by New York Herald reporter Ned Buntline(Thomas Mitchell). That's not the only way Bill proves himself useful as he negotiates a peace between the white man's government and Chief Yellow Hand(Anthony Quinn), whose life Bill once saved and is now worried about the effect the coming railroad will have on his people. However, Bill needs help from Dawn Starlight(Linda Darnell), a schoolteacher, in responding to Louisa's invitation to dinner. While making great use of technicolor, "Buffalo Bill" is uneven at times with odd bursts of awkward comic relief. Overall, it pays repsect to the spirit, if not the person, of Buffalo Bill Cody. Along these same lines, the movie honors the people and traditions of the Indian tribes who acted in self-defense while raising questions about what truly constitutes civilized behavior, especially when it comes to the senseless slaughter of buffalo herds, sometimes more graphically depicted than I was expecting. Sadly, there are also signs that this movie is of the time period it was made, indicated by Linda Darnell being cast as an Indian woman.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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