Sergeant Rutledge - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sergeant Rutledge Reviews

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September 7, 2015
now i know where Mel Brooks got idea 4 colored sheriff in 'blazing saddles' this is 1st major western to feature a black lead character
½ April 30, 2014
Good Ford western, with his typical lively word play between characters. Woody Strode is so good as the title character in this one.
February 24, 2014
Watched several times
December 14, 2013
John Ford is my favorite American director, but this one, although good, is a mixed bag. Woody Strode is a US Cavalry soldier accused of murder. The story unfolds in flashbacks at his court martial, with Jeffrey Hunter as his defense lawyer. Ford pushed Hollywood boundaries by tackling racism towards African Americans in the midst of the civil rights movement, but the film ironically continues the racist Hollywood tradition of portraying Native Americans as inhuman savages. Ford actually took care to portray Native Americans in a better light than most filmmakers of the time, but it's a portrayal that would hardly be considered progressive by today's standards and feels especially out of place in this film considering the subject matter. The other aspect of the film that doesn't quite work is the out of place comedy that is sprinkled throughout the film. Still, it's an engaging story and I really did not know how the film was going to end. Woody Strode is great and probably would have been a much bigger star if he'd been making film 40 years later. It's very cool to see an African American in the lead of a Hollywood film, which is something that rarely happened in this era. It's also always great to see Ford filming in Monument Valley. Constance Towers and Hank Worden also appear in the film.
November 9, 2013
Overacting. Lots of it.
May 12, 2013
Best of the Buffalo Soldier's movies.
April 16, 2013
I beieve that it is one of Ford's great movie because it shows history as to why the black soldiers where called Buffalo Soldiers. Every young person should see integrity of a soldier who was put in a situation.
January 1, 2013
It holds up better than most of the anti-racist message movies of the 50s and 60s. Of course, as with all late Ford, it's nearly perfect in its visual rhythms.
July 28, 2012
Woody strode has almost no billing even though he plays the title character. His acting is amazing and inspiring. One of my favorites!
½ May 31, 2012
john ford's "sergerant rutledge" is highly entertaining, has some fine performances, and very welcomed oddly placed humor. the film's ending feels a bit rushed and forced, but it doesn't really take much away from the rest of the movie.
March 28, 2012
Props for an examination of race relations using a medium notorious for mild yet pervasive bigotry. Reflective of the political atmosphere of the time and almost certainly source material for A Few Good Men
½ January 23, 2012

"Why, you cheap, contemptible, tin plated, book soldier!"-Mary Beecher (Contance Towers)

Western courtroom drama, with the defendent being...a black man.
January 5, 2012
Great courtroom drama with the action unfolding in a manner most fitting. Woody Strode excels here as the title character with lots of social commentary on the Civil Rights movement of the time this film was made. I got chills when the soldiers sing about Captain Buffalo during one scene.
July 3, 2011
Well done film, and well worth your time.
July 3, 2011
Well done film, and well worth your time.
May 15, 2011
Although it is a film with a very serious issues on racism and sexism set during the post-civil war west, Woody Strode commands as Sergeant Rutledge, a man on trial in a small town for rape and murder. Ford's film has obvious cultural importance and with his classic Monument Valley vistas as beautiful backdrops, but he keeps us entertained in the usual boring courtroom scenes with some actually hilarious comical bits. Others would've destroyed it, but Ford always knows how to balance serious and funny to the point where the seriousness is never diminished. And Woody Strode, although not top billed is commanding as Rutledge. No other black actor of that era had the caliber he had.
January 8, 2011
I just got around to seeing this 1960 movie by John Ford. It is an amazing, for 1960, story of a Buffalo soldier on trial in a court-marital for the suspected rape and murder of a young white woman. Even though it is the West, and not the deep South, he is sure there is no way he will get a fair trial. I'll leave it to you to see the movie for the outcome. I thought the film was outstanding and quite moving (if you will excuse the pun.)
December 23, 2010
One of Ford's most interesting Westerns blends the courtroom procedural with a frontier story that manages to make a statement on race relations. Woody Strode is excellent as the titular Sgt. Rutledge, apparently chosen over the likes of Sidney Potier and Harry Belefonte. Strode with his considerable Western credits brings allot of creditability to this role; surely one of his best. Likewise Jeffery Hunter is ramrod perfect as his superior officer trying to defend him and get to the truth. The production design is top notch and Ford uses some clever transitions with lighting on set. The location filming is excellent of course, to be expected from the master Ford.
August 9, 2010
John Ford was famous for his westerns as well as his dramas, and here he blends them both together and even has social commentary relevant to an ever changing political atmosphere of the sixties. The main character is Woody Strode, playing a sergeant in a rank of Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Calvary who is accused of rape and murder. Jeffrey Hunter is his fellow soldier and his defending lawyer. Billie Burke, in her last movie, plays the socialite wife of the judge. It is a story about prejudice and Woody Strode leads the way and shows his dramatic chops. John Ford holds nothing back, and it is worth it.
½ August 6, 2010
John Ford's take on race relations in the early 60's is a surprise path taken by the conservative director. It stars Woody Strode as Sergeant Rutledge, a man accused of rape and double murder in the old west. This film came out 2 years before the more well known "To Kill a Mockingbird" and even though it's not as gripping it's a fair film with some intense scenes that are letdown by some shady acting and eye rolling contrivances and red herrings.

But that shouldn't be blamed on the lead performances. All of them more serviceable, but Ford simply tries to hard to get a reaction out of people. I admit the ending kind of caught me off guard, but overall the film doesn't stand out to Ford's top films.
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