Hombre - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hombre Reviews

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October 17, 2016
Started a little slow, but an interesting journey involving racism and morality.
½ October 12, 2016
another example of white boy playing an american indian-with blue eyes-right!
June 20, 2016
One of at least six movies for which Paul Newman should have won the oscar, and did not, this is about a white man who lived with the "Indians", who is on a stagecoach that is hijacked by robbers led by the great Richard Boone. One of the great scripts, with a supporting cast of Barbara Rush, Fredric March, Martin Balsam and Diane Cilento.
May 30, 2016
John Russell (Newman) is a white man who was raised by Apaches. He faces the racism of whites, and inherits a boarding house by his adopted father. After selling it and facing the ire of the renters, he journeys with them on a makeshift stagecoach until they are ambushed by harriers. Cat and mouse tactics aside, the movie is a tense parable of racism, cynicism, and all sort of other deep themes. Its not just a good western, its a good film.
½ April 6, 2016
Cool flick. Classic. Not very exciting but interesting and classic 4/5/16
January 2, 2016
Solid revisionists western with Paul Newman playing a white man who was raised by an Apache tribe and later by a white man. As an adult, he lives on the reservation and finds out he's inherited some property. Newman must take a stagecoach to sell the property and winds up helping the passengers when they are robbed by bandits. The story may seem old fashioned, but this is from a novel by Elmore Leonard and the elements of race and violence are brought more to the forefront than in most westerns. The cast also includes Fredric March, Richard Boone, Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Rush, Martin balsam and Frank Silvera. Overall, this is a terrific western, led by a strong performance by Newman.
November 25, 2015
Paul Newman was captivating and so in control with his character. Diane Cilento played off of him really well. Martin Balsum & Richard Boone all were good. This film had a haunting sort of flavor to it...probably because of the SW desert and the independence of Paul Newman's character John Russell. To me, one of Newman's best films right up there with Cool Hand Luke.
½ October 8, 2015
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

(1967) Hombre
WESTERN/ SOCIAL COMMENTARY

Based on a book written by Elmore Leonard centering on a Caucasian, John Russell(Paul Newman) raised by Apache Indians who decides to let go his inheritance of a shabby inn left by his biological father after finding about his father's passing, and then agrees to tag along a cross country coax ride with other passengers on a stagecoach. And it is when things start to get interesting but have to go through a very long set up. Paul Newman is the Hombre since he grew up with the Indians, also including Fredric March as the deceitful doctor and Richard Boone continues his bad guy role. All I can say is that although I mildly enjoyed this film the second time around the ending is kind of a downer considering it's a movie of fiction.

2 out of 4
September 13, 2015
Frustrating... If only they listened to Newman.
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2015
Joe Campbell inferred that cultural and societal change was usually delivered by the outsider, the lonely soul (part of the job description) who sacrificed himself to bring "fire" to the clueless group. In an interesting take on that tale, Newman plays a white guy raised by Indians who endeavors, despite his better judgment, to raise the bar so to speak. But this is an ensemble piece and zowie, what a work it is, quiet and brooding, an understandable emotional reply to the "that inhumanity is just how it is" worldview. The director, Martin Ritt, was blacklisted and so knows a thing or two about being an outsider and that mojo translates here onto the screen.
½ September 3, 2015
My kind of Western. So this is about a half white, half Apache man (Paul Newman) who inherits a property and moves back to civilization. He faces the scorn of some passengers on a stage coach due to his ethnicity, but the tables may be a turning when they find themselves needing him. I didn't know anything about this before I sat down to take the time, but I will always give a Western the benefit of the doubt, given the affection I have towards the genre. I was blown away with not only how good this is, but also how I've gone so long without ever hearing about this. Believe it or not, I'm really not all that familiar with Paul Newman's library; I've seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and I've seen the Hudsucker Proxy, but that's about it. I have to say, the man has an incredible screen presence about him, and it is the kind that makes you instantly gravitate towards him. He even manages to successfully pull off playing a half breed, which is nuts, because he is about as Aryan as they come. He plays one cool cucumber that has one-liners for days, and watching this movie really made me realize what helps the most to crafting the anti-hero: make him a man of few words. There are a few speeches Newman's character of John Russell doles out, but for the most part, he sticks to abbreviated responses of five words or less. It gives him an air of extreme confidence that makes you want to be that character. Apart from Newman, all of the other supporting characters are great, and you have a very memorable villain played by Richard Boone. You understand the dichotomy of the relationships of all of these passengers, and it helps to build this microcosm in this small little carriage. They actually have some pretty insightful commentary on race relations; I know here it is specifically Apache by name, but you could easily exchange any minority for the discrimination that these people are facing. This is a sleeper Western that not many people talk about; and I can only imagine that is because it's not 100% feel good (I don't want to get into spoilers). The print of this that is currently available in Netflix is in super-clean HD, and looks like it could've been shot yesterday. There's a brilliant scene smack dab in middle of this that just made me want to cheer, and this is a must-see for any Western lover.
½ August 21, 2015
many may like the film for its political points, but I found the film boring
August 19, 2015
Good, not great. Typical Newman performance, meaning it is beyond average or even good, but solid for Newman. Feels like a limited western, more of a boo hoo liberal take for Indians.
½ July 27, 2015
Since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid remains one of my all time favourite westerns, any chance to see Paul Newman up on the screen in the genre again was essential viewing for me.

As a vast lover of western films, I always enjoy seeing alternative forms of storytelling within the context of the genre. As a revisionist western, Hombre defies many conventions. Instead of casting a caucasian actor in a Native American role, Homebre features a story about an Apache-raised white man who has to deal with the racial conflict of returning to a prejudiced civilization. The way the film approaches the subject matter is not to pin Cowboys and Native Americans on opposing sides of the spectrum but rather find a middle ground in protagonist John Russell who is interesting enough on paper before Paul Newman brings the role to life. Rather than telling its story through a spectacle of shootouts and horse chases, Hombre focuses on characters and dialogue. While some viewers may find the lack of action to slow down the feature which already comes from a stereotypically slow moving genre, I found that this revisionist approach is thoroughly innovative as an exploration of the Western genre. Hombre is a film that is all about charactes, and it has some interesting ones. This is because the screenplay rests at the heart of Hombre with a lot of insightful dialogue, discussing the difference between Cowboy and Native American cultures with raw honesty. The film is not bias in doing so, and it is one of the first major Westerns to depict Native American culture in a positive light after decades of simplistic depictions of the people as savages that need to be defeated by John Wayne. This makes it one of the more touching films to come from the era and a great sign of the postmodern period of change that the genre went through.
Considering that the story itself is very simplistic, the fact that the screenplay is full of vastly important subject matter and interesting characters which compensates for this. The slow burning nature of Hombre means that it is not always the most interesting, particularly when the dialogue is not being spoken. Yet director Martin Ritt still manages to find a way to make the silence in the film interesting, predominantly through the use of atmosphere.
While the film is built more upon screenplay than spectacle, there is no denying that it is a powerfully stylish experience. As a western, Hombre manages to keep itself as a low budget film by limiting its quantity of characters, locations and action. At times, the film relies on nothing more than the visual experience to tell the story. And with scenery, production design and costumes all being so extensively detailed, the entire experience feels nothing short of convincing. The bleak silence of the film may slow the experience down, but it also captures the grim and empty nature of the west while the visual experience works to keep things alive during the silence. Hombre tells its story largely through depicting the western landscape as it naturally is since there are so many underlying concepts of the American West which do not need to be explored through action. The scenery is all captured with strong wide-angled cinematography and gentle techniques, long shots which allow the atmosphere to develop naturally with minimal editing while emphasizing the beautiful nature of the landscape.
When it comes to the action, what few shootouts there are in Hombre prove very competently structured. The editing speeds up momentarily to intensify the experience, and because the rest of the film made use of such minimal editing it is all the more powerful by contrast. It just makes the style of the film all the more clear, and the intense progressive development of the story ensures that the intensity in the action sequences are fully dramatic.
But what keeps the story actively progressing and developing is the performance of Paul Newman.
Paul Newman's leading performance in Hombre is brilliant. In contrast to his role as Butch Cassidy two years later, Paul Newman's performance as John Russell in Hombre is far more restrained. He is very gentle and in tune with the world around him, conveying a sense of nihilism about the world that comes with being seen as a savage. He has such an interesting character, and he easily breathes life into the part which succesfully plays a sympathetic spirit. Paul Newman's beautiful eyes light up the screen and draw the focus straight to him, and this makes what little dialogue he has all the more effective. Paul Newman speaks with such a gentle passion as John Russell, and yet at the same time he grasps his weaponry without flinching. This captures the kind of Cowboy who is a relunctant soldier, a gentle soul drafted into a world of violence and reluctant but willing to fight for his existence as the world would force him to. Paul Newman's extensive level of character dedication in Hombre ensures that the film is not a mere star vehicle, but rather a truly touching film and a new challenge for the screen legend. His performance is just beautiful, inside and out.
The entire supporting cast make strong supporting efforts, but I found that Martin Balsam firm yet gentle effort as Henry Mendez stood out the most. He is easily convincing as a Mexican, and his normal level of sophistication is buried beneath the costume to the point that he is almost unrecognizable and yet still admirable.

So Hombre works powerfully as a postmodern revisionist western, and while its focus on characters and lack of action may slow it down, they also ensure that the experience is a thoroughly touching and insightful western thanks to Martin Ritt's strong eye for imagery and determination to ensure the powerful dialogue is captured in his vision alongside the magnificent leading performance from Paul Newman.
½ June 13, 2015
A solid enough western, but not one that distinguishes itself from the pack. I've already forgotten most of it.
April 26, 2015
Pretty faithful to the Elmore Leonard book, and it was pretty brave for Newman not to play the prototypical Western hero, and for the movies stance on race relations at the time.
½ February 2, 2014
Unrated Western of a very good EL book.
November 2, 2013
My friend Hayden Williams said it was really cool. He gives it 100% certified fresh.
½ October 30, 2013
Very underrated western. Your always in for a treat when you get to watch Paul Newman in action. At first you might be thrown off hearing that Paul plays a blue-eyed Indian, but it works with the story that is being told. By this time the themes of westerns were starting to really be recycled and that certainly happens as Newman's Indian character is hated by the people around him... Just things that comeback from the Stagecoach days.The acting is so good though that you really forget about the recycled themes.

Newman is a good, but Richard Boone really steals the show as the villain. No doubt that he deserved Best Supporting Actor from 1967 over George Kennedy who won for Cool Hand Luke. But with a little more originality this could have been a great film instead of just a good one. Oh Well.
October 22, 2013
Correlations between this and the seminal Ford western Stagecoach are certainly warranted. Yet the noble antihero is more apparent in this subtle & excellent film. Paul Newman plays a white man raised by Apache who must save his fellow passengers after a stagecoach robbery. Although seemingly indifferent to the caucasian's plight, a frank but good-hearted woman recognizes the good that is in him all along. This is a superb character-driven film.
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