The Hi-Lo Country (1998)



Critic Consensus: The actors fail to live up to the archetypes they portray.

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Movie Info

Acclaimed director Stephen Frears helms the film version of the admired novel that for years Sam Peckinpah tried to get made. The film is an intimate story of the enduring bond of friendship between two hard-living men, set against a sweeping backdrop: the American West, post-World War II, in its twilight. Pete and Big Boy are masters of the prairie, but ultimately face trickier terrain: the human heart. Patricia Arquette co-stars as the woman who will eventually come between the two men.
R (for some sexuality, a scene of violence, and for brief language)
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Gramercy Pictures

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Woody Harrelson
as Big Boy Matson
Billy Crudup
as Pete Calder
Patricia Arquette
as Mona Birk
Cole Hauser
as Little Boy Matson
Penelope Cruz
as Josepha O'Neil
Darren E. Burrows
as Billy Harte
James Gammon
as Hoover Young
Sam Elliott
as Jim Ed Love
John Diehl
as Les Birk
Katy Jurado
as Meesa
Enrique J. Castillo
as Levi Gomez
Rosaleen Linehan
as Mrs. Matson
Sandy Baron
as Herdsman
Will Cascio
as Chickie Cobain
Buff Doutritt
as Rodeo Wrangler
H.P. Eveetts
as Rodeo Wrangler
Walter C. Hall
as Auctioneer
Robert Knott
as Jack Coffee
Ireland Rose Maddox
as Grandmother
Sarge McGraw
as Nick the Bartender
Jacob Vargas
as Delfino Mondragon
Craig Carter
as Art Logan
Richard Purdy
as Bartender
Keith Walters
as Man on Horse
Lane Smith
as Steve Shaw
Bob Tallman
as Rodeo Announcer
Kate Williamson
as Mrs. Young
Don Pope
as Sheriff Fitts
Leslie Cook
as Choreographer/Dancer
Monica Sundown
as Singer at Sano Dance
Amanda Cordova
as Singer at Sano Dance
Gaye Grant
as Singer at Rodeo Dance
Leon Rausch
as Singer at Rodeo Dance
Chris O'Connell
as Singer at Rodeo Dance
Marty Stuart
as Singer at Rodeo Dance
Donald R. Walser
as Singer at Rodeo Dance
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Critic Reviews for The Hi-Lo Country

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (15)

An outstanding performance by Woody Harrelson!

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Tepid and unconvincing!

December 31, 1999
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic

Big emotion, big country, medium payoff.

December 31, 1999
Top Critic

This movie gets thrown unceremoniously to the ground.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

A perfunctory, often dreary love-triangle melodrama.

December 31, 1999
Village Voice
Top Critic

Everything is in place for a mythic drama, except the players, who don't begin to fill the boots of the archetypes they're meant to be.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Hi-Lo Country

(** 1/2): [img][/img] I liked the cast, but I became less interested with film as it went along. A near-miss.


A miss from the usually stellar Frears. Slow moving and dull. The uninspired acting from everybody but Woody doesn't help.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


I am really surprised that film buffs don't rate this movie higher! This is a beautifully acted, directed and shot movie with a script that's a little slow in parts. It's a character study. It's an off-beat modern Western. It's got Patricia Arquette at her sluttiest best, before she ballooned up and Penelope Cruz as a sexy-cute Latina girlfriend. It's got Woody Harrelson and Billy Crudup doing a bang up job. I found it mesmerizing.

Kilgore T Rout
Kilgore T Rout

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