Hang 'em High - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hang 'em High Reviews

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November 4, 2016
I don't understand the praise for this one. It's a pretty generic Western, with the only thing different the music, but that gets really campy at a lot of points. It also mostly feels directionless and confused, with a very distracted plot. I get that they were riffing on history, but they took on too much while still folding in all the usual cliches. This is like a sad imitation of the Spaghetti Westerns with all the trappings of the mid century American Westerns... There's just not a lot of depth or complexity here at all.
September 2, 2016
Decent western. It seems confused between being an old fashioned moral tale and a gritty revisionist western. It also works a little too hard at its anti capital punishment message, and with its shoe-horned love story, it ends up feeling a little confused.
½ July 19, 2016
good western- Sergio Leone style
½ February 28, 2016
Obviously not as good as the Dollars trilogy, but still very enjoyable.
September 14, 2015
Wrongly accused of murder Eastwood is hung but survives. He then tracks down his would be murderers for his own brand of justice
½ August 15, 2015
"Hang 'Em High" seems to be a rather forgotten Clint Eastwood gem and I think it deserves more attention because while it's not as great as some of his other movies it is very good. The film's acting is very good all around. The score of the film is excellent. The cinematography is also very good. The costume design is really good as well and really makes you feel like you're in the old west. The characters are also well fleshed out. The film has a very consistent tone as well. One of my problems with the film though is that sometimes it does get a little unfocused in it's narrative. There are defiantly some slow scenes as well. There are some poor scene cuts. Another thing is that there are some plot points in the film that would have added some more depth but they were introduced so late into the film that it was hard to really care about them. Overall though "Hang 'Em High" is an overlooked Clint Eastwood film that has it's flaws but is worth checking out at least one time.

3.5/5
May 25, 2015
Hang 'Em High is a pretty good western film. Eastwood and the rest of the crew do a good job, and the story is pretty fun. The movie is a revenge film, but does have some nice moments of depth. Eastwood is the typical gun slinging do gooder who always manages to survive these shootouts. His quest and motives are simple yet effective. The story has a great opening and for the next 45 minutes or so it was very good. It suffers from feeling like the Man With No Name trilogy want a be, being Eastwood's first western since then and all. It doesn't do enough to be as memorable as you'd like it to be, virtually every aspect of it was done better in those original films. There is an added romantic subplot that goes absolutely nowhere and strays from the main focus of the story. There are too many subplots as well. This is a fine western with some good shootouts and a simple story, it is well made yet not entirely memorable. Hang 'Em High gets 3/5 stars (B-).
½ April 14, 2015
Clint Eastwood was and is one of the most iconic movie cowboys in the history of cinema. In "Hang 'Em High" he is Jed Cooper, an ex-lawman, whose cattle herding is put to an abrupt stop, when nine men come and accuse him (wrongfully) stealing the herd and they beat him and hang him. But he survives and is taken to a judge, who finds him not guilty and offers him his old job back, to hunt the nine men and bring them back alive, so they can judge them and hang them...
The story starts simple enough and for a while that seems to be the whole company line but luckily Clint have some "side missions" as well and they shape the story much and more and the whole is a nicely multi-layerd, very well written western.
February 9, 2015
It still has that Spaghetti Western feel that I love along with another good Eastwood plot where he's to get revenge on those who wrongfully tried to hang him!
February 6, 2015
It´s the Oklahoma Territory in 1889. Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) drives a small herd of cattle across a stream. Suddenly a posse containing of Captain Wilson (Ed Begley), Reno (Joseph Sirola), Miller (Bruce Dern), Jenkins (Bob Steele), Matt Stone (Alan Hale, Jr.), Charlie Blackfoot (Ned Romero), Maddow (Russell Thorson), Tommy (Jonathan Lippe) and Loomis (L. Q. Jones) surround him and accuse him of having stolen the herd. He shows them a receipt for the cattle, but the man he bought them from was a rustler who killed the herd's owners. Cooper explains that he knew nothing about the murder, but only Jenkins expresses doubts about his guilt. After Reno takes Cooper's saddle and Miller takes his wallet, the men hang him from a tree and ride away, leaving him for dead. Federal Marshal Dave Bliss (Ben Johnson) sees Cooper in the distance and cuts him down while he is still alive. Bliss puts him in irons and takes him to Fort Grant, where the territorial judge, Adam Fenton (Pat Hingle), determines that Cooper is innocent, sets him free and warns him not to become a vigilante. He then shows Cooper the man who is responsible for the crime he was accused of. The man, Mcloud, is immediately hung for the murders and rustling. As an alternative, Fenton offers Cooper, a former lawman, the badge of a Deputy U.S. Marshal. Cooper accepts, and Fenton warns him not to kill the men who lynched him. During his first assignment as a marshal, Cooper sees his saddle on a horse in front of a small-town saloon. He finds Reno inside and tries to arrest him, but Reno reaches for his gun, forcing Cooper to shoot him dead. When word of this becomes public, Jenkins turns himself in and provides the names of the rest of the hanging posse. Cooper is determined to hunt down his lynchers and bring them to justice in any which way...

"Hang 'Em High" is a 1968 American Revisionist Western film and the first film produced by Clint Eastwood's Malpaso Company. The Revisionist Western, Modern Western or Anti-Western traces to the mid 1960s and early 1970s as a subgenre of the Western movie. Some post-WWII Western films began to question the ideals and style of the traditional Western. Elements include a darker, more cynical tone, with focus on the lawlessness of the time period, favouring realism over romanticism. Anti-heroes are still common, but with stronger roles for women and more-sympathetic portrayal of Native Americans and Mexicans. Regarding power and authority, these depictions favour critical views of big business, the American government, masculine figures (including the military and their policies), and a turn to greater historical authenticity. The film became a major success after release in July 1968, and with an opening day revenue of $5,241 in Baltimore alone, it became the biggest United Artists opening in history, exceeding all of the James Bond films at that time. It debuted at number five on Variety?' s weekly survey of top films and had made its money back within two weeks of screening. It eventually grossed $6.8 million in the U.S. It was widely praised by critics, including Arthur Winsten of the New York Post, who described "Hang 'Em High" as "a Western of quality, courage, danger and excitement". Variety gave the film a negative review, calling it "a poor American-made imitation of a poor Italian-made imitation of an American-made western". "Hang 'Em High" is yet another revenge themed western amongst Clint Eastwood´s film catalogue, and in one way nothing new except maybe the cynical look on the law and justice. In general it´s an ok western with interesting point of views on justice and vigilantism, but yet there´s nothing that really stands out or that truly engage you. Not one of Clint Eastwood´s best in my opinion.
Robbanflix
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
Old classic western with Clint. Not his best but its quite good. A bit slow parts sometimes but have great action overall. He gets hanged and survive and will now revenge..
½ January 2, 2015
Ex-lawman turned rancher Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) is moving a small herd of cattle when a group of nine men on horseback, led by Captain Wilson (Ed Begley Sr.), ride up and accuse him of having stolen the cattle and killed their owner. Refusing to believe his account, they string him up by the neck and leave him for dead, but they don't do the job right. Time for Revenge
½ December 29, 2014
Great movie. Hang Em High is another successful western in Eastwood's career. It's a fun, well-written, smartly executed, nicely directed revenge adventure, with a great performance from Eastwood.
August 21, 2014
It's a Spaghetti western without being a Spaghetti western.
July 27, 2014
(First and only viewing - 7/24/2010)
½ July 16, 2014
Slightly more memorable than "Joe Kidd" or "Two Mules for Sister Sara".
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ June 18, 2014
No, I am not going to reference the song by My Chemical Romance... or Dropkick Murphys, or Hit the Lights... or even Van Halen, or any song by the band Hang 'Em High. Jeez, this film's title has really been adopted by some hard rockers and punks, which makes sense, because how else to you musically approach a film starring someone as hard rock as Clint Eastwood? Apparently, you approach it with Booker T. & the M.G.'s, because this film's theme song was composed by that funky jazz cat, and I don't know if that's more a reflection on how old Booker T. is, or old this film is... or how old Clint Eastwood is. He was old enough at this time for the whole "man with no name" role to start getting old, and by no means is he a man with no name here, just your regular, named marshal who didn't wander into any old town... but will still kill for it! Yeah, Eastwood doesn't need to be nameless to be hard rock, which makes me question the casting if this is supposed to depict, as Wikipedia puts it, "the dangers of serving as a U.S. Marshal or deputy during that period [1880s]", because, seriously just try to kill Clint Eastwood, criminals. Like I said, he was getting up there back in '68, so if the Grim Reaper hasn't done it yet, then you sure can't, as opposed to Ted Post's career. After this he had "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", followed by hopeless obscurity, which is a shame, because he at least made this one respected film, which I for one would be more respectful of if it wasn't for so many issues.

Something of an expository mess, this film opens right up with action and no immediate background development, while the shortcomings in gradual development throughout the body prove to be totally unjust in their distancing character depth on which the drama ought to thrive. Slowness ironically also thins down dramatic momentum which is shaken by the rushing, with directorial storytelling even doing a number on momentum through quiet spells that distance, maybe even bore, yet perhaps wouldn't so much if Ted Post wasn't handed limp material to draw upon with his directorial meditations. Of course, when aimless lapses in material don't slow down momentum, it's ironically an excess in material, which eventually leads to focal unevenness on the path to flesh out the telling of a story of only so much scale to begin with, despite an ambition to be harsher than the average, more colorful western. Perhaps the ambition would be more comfortably fulfilled if the storytellers didn't try too hard at times, overplaying overblown score work and some contrived writing to shake subtlety, often cheesily. The film is all too often overwrought with it dramatics, but I prefer that overambition, rather than the laziness to the efforts to edge up this western, which, upon falling into dated elements, falls hard, with cheesy filler set pieces, technical limitations and other awkward challenges to this drama's vision to be a western to take more seriously. In all honesty, there are times where the film is almost cheesy to the point of being embarrassing, and no matter how inspired the film is at times, moments such as those sort of tell you that this was never to be a truly rewarding drama, while little missteps throughout the final product secure the effort as very decidedly underwhelming. The film probably could have fallen into mediocrity, yet, as I said, there is inspiration here, and while it's not enough to reward, it endears pretty adequately.

Dominic Frontiere firmly breaks the dry spells of quietness with a fusion of traditional and, to a certain extent, spaghetti western sensibilities that is unique, musically impressive and tonally effective, if a little cloyingly overblown at times. It's a shame that histrionics and some contrivance come into play and corrupt the integrity of this early revisionist western, whose narrative isn't especially meaty, but holds a potential for grit that was uncommon for westerns at the times, and is milked for all its worth in highlights within a script by Leonard Freeman and Mel Goldberg that, on top of delivering on some memorable lines and set pieces, has the guts to compliment dramatic depths with an audacious attention to brutal detail, though not necessarily in development. That said, no matter how underdeveloped, this portrait on man's brutality has its share of well-rounded aspects to characterization which draw memorable characters, at least when backed up by some memorable performances. A lot of the performers could have fallen flat with material that was over the heads of many in the '60s western film industry, but most everyone here is effective in his or her respective role, and that particularly goes for Clint Eastwood, whose performance is formulaic, but no less buzzingly charismatic than it usually is, partly thanks to some intense dramatic layers which reinforce the lead's engagement value. Eastwood's compelling anti-heroic protagonist further reflects the audacity of this gritty revisionist western, much like the gutsy script, but what can make or break the guts of the overall final product is, of course, the guts of the direction. Ted Post's direction either gets to be unsubtle with its dramatic overplays, or subtle to the point of dull coldness, but when it's realized, it's biting, with audacious plays with anything from score to the performers, in addition to gripping action and, of course, disturbing visuals that reflected a big turn for the Hollywood western, and still haunts today. The film could have gone a long way, but at the same time, it could have fallen seriously flat, thus, for every considerable missteps is a considerable strength, which endears enough to make a decent drama with commendable highlights, limited though they may be.

When it's time for the snap, under the pressure of underdevelopment, slow and draggy spells, some cloying dramatics, and some cheesily dated aspects, this film which is already conceptually of limited consequence all but buckles, yet there is still enough reinforced to engagement value from solid scoring and acting, and often effectively gutsy writing and direction to make Ted Post's "Hang 'Em High" a fair and sometimes effective, if flimsy breakthrough for the revisionist western genre.

2.5/5 - Fair
May 25, 2014
Not too bad, but not good or ugly either. Mostly I just had a hard time believing situations and the actions taken. For example the hanging had a religious aspect to it that Was far fetched. But it does break down some moral aspects of law and order involving judges and lynch mobs. In that aspect it was kind of unique.
May 4, 2014
This is a decent classic western.
February 27, 2014
Its a good western a touch predictable but still good
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