Destry Rides Again (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

Destry Rides Again1939

Destry Rides Again (1939)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Tom Destry (James Stewart), son of a legendary frontier peacekeeper, doesn't believe in gunplay. Thus he becomes the object of widespread ridicule when he rides into the wide-open town of Bottleneck, the personal fiefdom of the crooked Kent (Brian Donlevy). His detractors laugh even louder when Destry signs on as deputy to drunken sheriff Wash Dimsdale (Charles Winninger). But the laughter subsides when Destry casually proves himself a crack shot, despite his abhorrence of firearms. Later, when saloon chanteuse Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich), Kent's gal, takes umbrage at Destry's indifferent reaction to her charms, she vows to make a fool of the new deputy. A huge moneymaker, Destry Rides Again served as a spectacular comeback for Marlene Dietrich, who two years earlier had been written off as "box office poison."

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James Stewart
as Tom Destry
Charles Winninger
as `Wash' Dimsdale
Allen Jenkins
as Bugs Watson
Warren Hymer
as Gyp Watson
Irene Hervey
as Janice Tyndall
Una Merkel
as Lily Belle Callahan
Tom Fadden
as Lem Claggett
Mischa Auer
as Boris Callahan
Jack Carson
as Jack Tyndall
Samuel S. Hinds
as Judge Slade
Billy Gilbert
as Loupqerou, the Bartender
Virginia Brissac
as Sophie Claggett
Ann Todd
as Claggett Girl
Dick Jones
as Eli Whitney Claggett
Joe King
as Sheriff Keogh
Ann E. Todd
as Claggett Girl
Minerva Urecal
as Mrs. DeWitt
Lloyd Ingraham
as Turner, the Express Agent
Bill Cody Jr.
as Small Boy
Harry Tenbrook
as Stage Driver
Bud McClure
as Stage Driver
Alex Voloshin
as Assistant Bartender
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Critic Reviews for Destry Rides Again

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (3)

Primed with action and laughs and human sentiment.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

It combines humour, romance, suspense and action so seamlessly.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Good fun every minute of it.

May 20, 2003 | Full Review…

Starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich, both in top form, this comedic-erotic Western was one of the most commercially popular films of 1939.

January 9, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

A close-to-brilliant comedy-Western ... until the end.

September 30, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

The movie might not be anywhere near as good as its reputation suggests, but as a straight-up cowboy flick with moments of light comic relief, it's a fairly fun picture.

July 7, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Destry Rides Again


This is a fun movie! Frenchy (a strange character name) played by Marlene Dietrich is the inspiration for Madeline Kahn's Lili Von Shtupp. Destry is another great creation by Jimmy Stewart. There are plenty of slapstick bits from the barroom brawls and the supporting characters and heaps of wisecracks from Destry, who would rather reason his way out of a fight than shoot his way out.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

When the sheriff of a corrupt frontier town is murdered and replaced with the town drunk, the man calls on the services of the son of a legendary law man only to find that he is a pacifist. James Stewart is at his very best for this, one of his defining roles. His easy going charm and integrity are a perfect foil for Marlene Dietrich's feisty music hall girl (so brilliantly parodied by Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles) and they have fantastic chemistry together; the cat-fight scene is pure comedy gold. Essentially a story about standing by your principles no matter what the provocation, all the characters are impossible to dislike with some great comic relief provided by a quality supporting cast. Consistently funny with a timeless story of a hero who refuses to resort to violence in the face of adversity, this is one of my all time favourites and a true classic from the golden age.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Until recently, I assumed this was just the usual old-fashioned Western. Didn't realize it was funnier than the norm nor, more importantly, just how much "Blazing Saddles" owes to this story (the new sheriff who thwarts the enemy in non-violent ways, the vampy German saloon singer, the drunken sidekick with past glories...). That said, "Destry" wasn't quite as much of a comedy as I hoped, though the recurrent "I knew a guy" gag is wonderfully droll. And Marlene Dietrich is lots of fun to watch -- she's obviously having a ball with her role.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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