Johnny Guitar - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Johnny Guitar Reviews

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½ October 15, 2017
Johnny Guitar is a great example of a movie where I can recognize it has a well-told and effective story, but I have a hard time enjoying it anyways. I'm willing to admit that the way these characters behaved felt authentic, but they kept driving me crazy. This is a movie about the dangers of jealousy and mob mentality. One character in particular is driving the crowd with obvious lies and manipulation, and I can?t stand that people go with the flow. The saving grace is Joan Crawford. Her performance and the way the character behaves in defiance to her opposition is spectacular. Despite the fact that Sterling Hayden plays the titular character, and he is a nice addition to the story, he still plays second fiddle to Crawford. I will praise Johnny Guitar for its impactful story-telling because it stuck with me. And at the same time, I will gladly avoid ever watching it again because of how that story makes me feel.
½ September 9, 2017
Too much melodrama and pompous acting for me. The story revolves around an uninspired romance when there's more interesting stuff to focus on. Vienna is a strong female character and yet for some reason the title is reserved for a man who wasn't even the protagonist. The irony is she does go on a justified gender-equality rage for a minute at a certain point but they then cut back to the silly romance again. But that's to be expected from a film that managed to make the climactic siege boring.
September 5, 2017
A perfect campy western movie. Joan Crawford is fabulous. #justiceforTurkey
July 24, 2017
What should have been a cheap B movie comes in as an above average action drama. I have the feeling that this picture was destined to be a forgettable effort with only contractual obligations at stake, but somehow a series of strong scenes were strung together to make this a highly underrated western.

A mediocre script with nondescript made-for-the-movie town, somehow the lighting, camera work, and direction seemed to bring out the instinctual abilities of each actor. This is a great film for students of the genre to deconstruct.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2017
Given the movie's low budget and the behind the scenes drama it's astounding that something this brilliant and unclassifiable (is it a Western? Romance? Psycho-sexual Thriller?) resulted. Then again that's probably how they got away with it. Something this strange must be treasured.
April 30, 2017
Tough guy Joan Crawford
½ March 1, 2017
This movie was vicious- both emotionally and violence-wise. I get that there's a lot of symbolism for McCarthy witch hunts etc but a couple of things really bothered me:

1) Why the fuck is this called Johnny Guitar? Dude is like a tertiary character and basically meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

2) I hated how much of an evil bitch Emma was. She was just a flat out evil bitch and there was nothing else to her. You get zero acknowledgement of her as a human other than her burning hatred for men who 'make her feel like a woman' and Vienna for somehow being more of a woman than she is, while also still being called a man within the first 15 minutes of the film. That sure makes for an interesting conversation on sexuality but it doesn't really mesh with the rest of the stereotypical characters in the movie.

I liked Vienna a ton a least, she's an amazingly interesting and fresh female lead, especially for the '50s. Her relationship with Johnny is heartbreaking and honestly if they had just focused on that it almost would have been just as good of a film. However, as it is, the film focuses on the witch hunt aspect which is also interesting if not more brutally cruel. This is one of those films where the message is great but its punishing to watch, especially if you already are empathetic to the cause.

All in all, a refreshing take on a western- the likes of which you really only start to see again towards the '70s as far as I can tell.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2016
The first 45 minutes are perfect, with impeccable performances (Crawford at her best) and an exceptional dialogue, but then the film starts to lose steam and drag in a few moments, while Vienna's peaceful (passive, that would be) motivations become a bit exasperating.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2016
Classic gender bending western, almost entirely set in one location, that balances thrills, camp and righteous anger brilliantly.
½ September 13, 2016
It's a gripping Western that is an allegory of police overreach and being guilty by association. Surprisingly smart commentary of the McCarthy era.
August 4, 2016
A fantastic classic featuring a terrific & electric performance by Joan Crawford playing Saloon Owner Vienna who doesn't take the rubbish from the local town.

Things really heat up when stranger Johnny Guitar rides into to town with a clear past with Vienna. Filled with great dialogue & genuine tension.

A western with a twist & this time the lady has something to settle. A unique take on the Western & really engaging film, with great characters.
July 3, 2016
131230: The acting in this movie is so bad it's laughable. Seriously, I laughed out loud a few times. Tell me it was done intentionally? It had to have been. It's like there was a competition among the cast to see who could be the most dramatic. It's comical. This movie is worth watching for this reason alone. Don't let my low rating stop you. You won't believe it until you see it. And man, was I shocked with what happens to the Dancin' Kid. Violence in film is not that new after all.
June 23, 2016
"theres nothing like a good smoke and a cup of coffee...you know some men got the craving for gold and silver, others need lots of land with herds and cattle...and theres those that got the weakness for whiskey and women...but when you boil it all down what does a man need...just a smoke and a cup of coffee"
one of the most adult coolest not hokey best kept secret Westerns ever...and the most fem!!!!
½ May 13, 2016
An interesting genre bending entry, Johnny Guitar has all the elements of a basic western. There's robbers, a lone drifter, and of course multiple love triangles. But what it also does is give an intense steely eyed glared performance from Joan Crawford, who commands the screen more than the title character. In fact, so does her opponent Emma Small, a shrieking harpy who tries to build a posse to take her down with a lynching. There's lots of back story and melodrama, but its an interesting experiment that works well, especially for its time period.
½ April 18, 2016
One of the most unique Westerns out there.

It was great to see more of the key elements which were replicated in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time In The West. The women were arguably tougher than the men in this film, and Joan Crawford's blue eyes stare through my soul.
August 17, 2015
A role-reversal western with over-the-top performances, esp from Joan Crawford, about mob mentality & the politics of sex.
½ July 14, 2015
A really good western movie made with a minimal budget minimal set but amazing story and acting.
½ July 5, 2015
An usual western with a strong woman protagonist.
June 18, 2015
This is a very strange film. It has what I feel to be undeserved classic status. I think it has something to do with Joan Crawford being a strong female lead. However, aside from this unique angle, it is fairly boring, with unlikeable characters.
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