The Cowboys - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cowboys Reviews

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May 5, 2014
the best western. nuff said. a brilliant cast, an unforgetable performance, and the best coming of age story ever! the Duke will forever live on!
April 26, 2014
Great movie, but kind of sad.
April 26, 2014
Saw this on the AMC channel. And I'm glad I saw it. John Wayne gives a strong performance, as well as the other cast.
½ April 21, 2014
One of my (many) favourite later John Wayne films, it has an edge which director Mark Rydell brought to the genre. Having lost his two sons, rancher Wil Anderson has a second chance of shaping young children's lives. Forced in to a dangerous cattle drive with nothing but inexperienced 'cowboys' to help and a cantankerous cook. The boys grow up quickly facing up to the hardships of the trail, the death of one of their own even greater dangers which lie ahead.
½ April 1, 2014
Defiantly a film and western of superior quality with more balance, grounding throughout most of its running time than many of its ilk - aside perhaps, as is customary from the tacked on Hollywood ending
½ January 17, 2014
A coming-of-age film of the toughest sort. Far from Wayne's best, but nevertheless a movie whose ending ignites a heated discussion.
½ January 16, 2014
great movie one of only two westerns that Wayne died in
January 1, 2014
I couldn't sleep last night so I watched one of my favorite John Wayne movies. I remember watching it as a kid and wishing I could have been one of those boys. I also remember staring at the screen in disbelief that John Wayne had actually been shot and killed. Being that in over 250 movies he had only been killed 7 times up till that point. The 8th an final time would be his final movie The Shootist four years later in 1976. W
½ July 29, 2013
I've never been much of a John Wayne fan, always preferring the darker anti-hero take on westerns, most famously provided to us by Italians and Clint Eastwood. Still, there's a small amount of charm to this one.
July 20, 2013
I was nine-years-old when I saw this movie at the movie theater and loved it! Everyone did. This movie has a lot of nostalgia for many of us.
½ May 13, 2013
I recieved this as a gift on VHS a few years back and was just caught up in it from start to finish. John Wayne and all those boys as cowhands, wow!
May 8, 2013
One of the essential John Wayne movies that every young man needs to see in his early years. This is one of my favorite movies from my childhood. I could not imagine not seeing this movie at some point in my life.
February 24, 2013
John Wayne dies! Yes!! As you might gather I'm not a big fan of the Duke. I've always found him too patronizing and self-righteous for my tastes. So that premise alone was enough to sell me on this film.

I have to admit that I actually liked the Duke in this movie. He seems eminently more human and uncertain than I'm used to seeing. This is a man with actual character flaws. In other words he is playing a role instead of just trying to be what he thinks of as the ideal man. He also has a wife and his scenes with her seem actually comfortable and tender. Again, he seems human. This is a man aging, and he's not posturing about it like he was in the Shootist.

The real draw of this film is the fact that while John Wayne is the lead he's not what it's about. It's about the boys and their coming of age. The film is blessed with a string of good child actors and there isn't a single performance that feels out of place or unnatural. Usually kids trying to act tough come off as posturing so this is a pleasant surprise.

There were some complaints at the time about the film's implications of the necessity of violence for becoming a man but I don't see them. Sure, there's violence and danger in the film, and it is intimitely connected with the coming-of-age narrative, but it's never implying that such things are necessary. Wayne even tells 'em not to do it. There are plenty of films about coming of age in a war zone but nobody believes that you need a war to grow up. The confusion seems to come from the fact that it's a bit like a schoolboy's fantasy. Being a western hero was every American boy's dream for decades. It'd be like someone today claiming that superhero movies encourage the idea that you need your parents to die tragically in order to become a man. There is a certain amount of disregard for the cost of taking a life and I could have dealt with a bit more anguish over killing men, even evil ones, but at the same time it never takes the danger lightly.

The villain in this film is great. He's kind of a warm and friendly guy, who will threaten you to your face while still grinnin'. He's genuinely disturbing, which is fitting given his role. I'm told an entire generation of boys refused to give Bruce Dern a second chance as an actor because of this.

On a final note John Williams wrote the music for this (about five years before Star Wars) so even the score is wonderful. An excellent film!
½ February 7, 2013
This is one of John Wayne's later films which has him starring with Roscoe Lee Brown and trying to train young boys as cowboys. It is not Wayne's best films but as always Duke is entertaining
December 7, 2012
Worth finding and watching!
½ November 18, 2012
This is one of John Wayne's later films which has him starring with Roscoe Lee Brown and trying to train young boys as cowboys. It is not Wayne's best films but as always Duke is entertaining
October 11, 2012
would have been better if they didn't kill the hero.
½ September 3, 2012
I rate very few movies as high as this. Loved it. Loved John Wayne and Roscoe Lee Browne. And the boys.

Interesting that I watched this on Labor Day. Child labor. Eleven boys no older than thirteen, riding herd on a cattle drive with a promise of fifty silver dollars each at trail's end. Obvious capitalist exploitation of children, comrades.

If you've never seen this movie, go rent it.
September 2, 2012
well done,painful to watch at times,makes you hate bruce dern
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