Lonely are the Brave


Lonely are the Brave

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 13


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,124
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Movie Info

David Miller helmed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo's mournful masterpiece, a hymn to rugged individualism and freedom slowly being strangled to death by voracious urban development. Kirk Douglas, a Korean War vet, is a footloose cowboy who lives most of his life under the stars, going from job to job, and not averse to cutting his way through barbed-wire fences when they get in his way. His uncompromising spirit is severely challenged when he breaks out of jail after a minor offense, and the entire county's police force tries to recapture him before he can leave the territory.


Kirk Douglas
as John W. "Jack" Burns
Gena Rowlands
as Jerry Bondi
Walter Matthau
as Sheriff Morey Johnson
Michael Kane
as Paul Bondi
Karl Swenson
as Rev. Hoskins
George Kennedy
as Guitierrez
Dan Sheridan
as Deputy Glynn
Bill Raisch
as `One Arm'
William Mims
as 1st Deputy in Bar
Lalo Rios
as Prisoner
Bill Bixby
as Airman in helicopter
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Critic Reviews for Lonely are the Brave

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (1)

  • Such a shocking beginning is the first of many attributes that place this film as the best - and most atypical - western in which Jerry Goldsmith was involved throughout his professional career. [Full Review in Spanish]

    Sep 11, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Afterwards, [Kirk Douglas] made no mystery of his love of the film, later declaring it his all-time favorite of his work. And why not?

    Dec 28, 2018 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
  • Lonely are the Brave, a film fairly stuffed with symbolism, shows how inevitably the heroic, human, in its real sense unsophisticated world of the West and its values are crushed by the synthetic, the mechanical, the wasteful and vicious in modern life.

    Jul 13, 2018 | Full Review…
  • David Miller builds sturdily on Philip Lathrop's widescreen cinematography, but Douglas and Dalton Trumbo's screenplay are the auteurs here

    Nov 1, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Kirk Douglas produced and starred in this elegiac Western, scripted by Dalton Trumbo, which laments the vanishing Old West, its heroes and their mores, replaced by a modern world dominated by progress and technology.

    Jul 13, 2009 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • Kirk Douglas remains the epitome of the rugged individual in the classic neo-western Lonely Are the Brave

    Jun 30, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lonely are the Brave

  • Apr 17, 2010
    Observant drama of a maverick cowboy whose way of life has almost entirely disappeared. What he perceives as a good deed for a friend turns out to ultimately be a life and death struggle for him. Excellent work by a cast of familiar faces with Walter Matthau very good as a world weary sheriff and especially outstanding Kirk Douglas, in his own favorite of his performances. The ending is heart rending.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Jul 21, 2009
    Lonely are the Brave is an underrated classic that never seemed to get is due. A mostly great story (I did nod off a couple times but to the film's credit, it was past 4AM), some great acting (this movie--along with Ace in the Hole--is a monument to my underappreciation of Kirk Douglas), some fine direction and some d a m n fine cinematography make for a memorable moviegoing experience. This is a sort of upbeat movie for a movie about such a doomed character and Douglas plays John (Jack for short) Burns with an almost naive optimism in a way that's hopeful but almost jarring at the same time. The supporting performances (particularly Walter Matthau) were great, but despite Lonely are the Brave (original title of The Last Cowboy is much more appropriate) being made at the right time in history, it was made kind of too early in cinematic history for its own good. File between Easy Rider precursors and High Sierra with a dash of Hud.
    Michael G Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2008
    I'm beginning to wonder if Kirk Douglas ever gave a bad performance. If you only know him from <i>Spartacus</i> then you don't know what you're missing. His lesser known films, like <i>Ace in the Hole</i>, <i>Champion</i>, <i>The Bad and the Beautiful</i>, <i>Paths of Glory</i>, and <i>Lonely are the Brave</i> are a testament to his talent and his enormous contributions to the art of movie making.
    Randy T Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2008
    Great Kirk Douglas performance,one of his best. He is a old school cowboy dealing with modern times. The Frontier has been taken over by fences, cars, and laws and Kirk was born in the wrong century. He is a good man with outdated ideals that are crushing him. Walter Matthau is fantastic as a cop who chases Kirk, but pity's him. Tragic story with great performances(including Kirk's horse Whiskey) and memorable ending. A must see.
    cody f Super Reviewer

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