Wild Bill - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wild Bill Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 14, 2013
Jeff Bridges as both the advertised legend and as the very tired soul behind the advertising, sick of whole production even as he keeps the fires stoked. Ellen Barkin and John Hurt ably fill in as seconds, all of us simply waiting for the drama to draw to its infamous closing moments, which flaws a generally interesting take on living with fame.
Super Reviewer
November 6, 2007
The story of 19th century gunslinger Wild Bill, convincingly played by Jeff Bridges, starts with a few episodes of his most curious shootouts, then focuses on his last weeks in the city of Deadwood, surrounded by friends and enemies. While the details differ from the first Season of the HBO show ?Deadwood?, which dealt with the same situation (ironically with Keith Carradine as Wild Bill, who is playing a small role as Buffalo Bill in this film), the scene of a dirty town full of scoundrels remains the same. Dazed by opium pipes and thinking of the past Wild Bill seems to be indifferent to possible threats, despite of his friends' warnings. The movie combines a cast of great names down to rather small roles, gritty shootouts and a realistic scenery, like most Walter Hill Westerns. Which one of the two features, movie or TV show, painted a more accurate image of the late hero remains uncertain, but both are worth seeing for their actor performances.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2013
Unfortunately a dull effort from Bridges who seems to be willing to play a caricature in order to get an easy paycheque. The supporting cast which has a bunch of talented actors seems to fall into line with Bridges. Get in, have some fun dressing up like coyboys and then get out.
Super Reviewer
January 29, 2011
1995 Western film about the last days of legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickok. Wild Bill, portrayed by Jeff Bridges is serving as sheriff of Deadwood, South Dakota. Jack McCall, played by David Arquette is a young man whose mother and family has been slighted by Bill in the past, and is out for revenge. Troubled by his on again off again relationship with fellow outlaw Calamity Jane (Ellen Barkin) and haunted by the ghosts of his past, Wild Bill and his failing eyesight faces a grave concern with the arrival of this dangerous newcomer to town.Poor performances and a ridiculous finale made this a great deception.
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2007
Jeff Bridges stars as Wild Bill, a quick drawing sheriff that can take out more than one person at a time without even breaking a sweat. But his past catches up with him when a young man played by David Arquette looks to kill Bill since he thinks Bill ruined his mother's life.

The movie has it's moments, but mostly due to the fine performances. In the beginning the movie just jumps back and forth from one moment of Bill's life to the next. The film just has supporting characters talking about Bill through most the movie, basically saying;"I remember when Bill did this, I remember when Bill did that". The movie just could have been better considering the fact that it has Jeff Bridges in it. I also have seen much better westerns.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2008
Good performances are hampered by a stagy feel.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2008
Another great Walter Hill western. Stylish, engaging and filled with great performances.
½ April 25, 2015
Bridges can sure eat up some film when he wants too and add in Walter Hill and you have a home......well let's call it a sharp single.
October 21, 2014
I remember this film as a kid and not liking it very much. Jeff Bridges plays Wild Bill Hancock and while I remember him bring good in the movie, I didn't find any other enjoyment in the film. It just didn't have a good feel to it.
August 17, 2011
The main character was wonderfully acted by Jeff Bridges, unfortunately the film's story was too scattered out trying to cover too much of a timeline. The overall cast is well performed, I just didn't care all that much for the direction of the film, it seemed low grade. The story could have been more entertaining than what got delivered. Still not an overall bad attempt.
½ December 29, 2010
Crazy Bill Hickock (Jeff Bridges) shoots more people in this film than any Western needs. He is made to look invincible. Narrated by legend actor John Hurt (Elephant Man), the movie briefly shows the life long exploits in several wild west towns through the years as a marshall, preferring to shoot two pistols at the same time and not bothering to ask questions later. Made to appear bigger than life, he is made to be one real bad ass, head case.

Obviously Wild Bill is a great title as it portrays James Bill Hickock as some sort of wild animal, getting in more fights per minute of film than most Westerns. He is losing his sight too as he drinks, gambles and shoots a man (Bruce Dern) in his wheelchair. The legend of Hickock however has seldom been explored in any real depth for us, so we are asked in this to believe he was a longhair, mangy, crude and as some sort of vicious, killer tough guy.

Jeff Bridges hasn't much of a script. He shoots, blasts, kicks and punches his way through much of the film. Eventually the film settles down when he reaches the town of Deadwood, a lawless, chaotic boomtown where he is nominated sherrif. He meets Calamity Jane, a similarly wild woman herself. He experiments with Chinese opium and has dreams shown in black and white.

I am going to pronounce this mid-nineties film as a fast paced, well directed and filmed movie. However, it relies on a lot of killing and desperate characters almost every scene. A youngster keeps annoying and threatening him for some bad treatment of his mother.

Essentially, the film is a flashback until Hickock arrives in Deadwood, some sort of hell on earth boom town with mud and rain. We know we are watching something pretty good here, but the emphasis is on non-stop violence for its action.

As a matter of fact, this one is virtually all action in the form of shoot outs and a very grumpy, mean Wild Bill. The legend of Wild Bill Hickock is in no danger of being debunked by this film. He is made to appear as some sort of RoboCop.

Jeff Bridges as Wild Bill Hickcock
David Arquette
Ellen Barkin
Christina Applegate
Bruce Dern (killed early in a shootout with Wild Bill)
Keith Carradine
John Hurt (of Elephant Man fame)
James Gammon
Marjoe Gortner
Diane Lane
James Remar

Cinematographer: Lloyd Ahern

Co-Producer : Gary Daigler
Editor: Freeman Davies
Composer: Van Dyke Parks
Director: Walter Hill
Screenplay: Walter Hill
Costume Designer: Dan Moore
Production Designer: Joseph Nemac III
Producer: Lili Fini Zanuck
Producer: Richard D. Zanuck
½ November 7, 2010
He didn't make the moment easy on any of his friends

Wild Bill has problems with gambling, money, women, keeping friends, and his eyes. Bill drifts through life doing what makes him feel good and being told how great he is. One of his former pleasures has a son that does not believe in the way Bill lives his life and may strike revenge for some former misdeeds.

"He said you were a horse molester."
"Did he say what horse?"

Walter Hill, director of Last Man Standing, Trespass, Supernova, 48 hrs, Another 48 hrs, Red Heat, Brewster's Millions, Johnny Handsome, and Streets of Fire, delivers Wild Bill. The storyline for this movie is interesting and well delivered. The primary character's unruly manner was well portrayed and presented and this is an interesting modern western. The acting is solid and the cast includes Jeff Bridges, Ellen Barkin, Christina Applegate, David Arquette, Diane Lane, Keith Carradine, James Remar, and John Hurt.

"It is bad luck to kill an Indian in a religious state of mind."

Wild Bill was a film I remembered seeing when it was first rleased and hoped it would be similar to Tombstone; while it is not as good as Tombstone, it is an interesting presentation of Wild Bill. Bridges delivers a solid performance but the end is a little melodramatic. I do recommend seeing this picture.

"I don't apologize."

Grade: B
August 19, 2010
When these actors talk about being in Deadwood, well, they really mean it.

Director Walter Hill, without apology, rips off the opium-den flashback motif from Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America" to spin off Wild Bill Hickock's memories of his past, just as he's stepping up to the fateful day he's dealt his Aces & Eights.

Hill crams all the shoot-em-ups into a 30-minute Act 1, setting the hook deep in the viewer's lip. And with very good reason since, after that point, there's little more than scene after scene where cowfolk point a lot of shaky gun barrels at each other (but never pull any triggers) while they carry on with tons of endless uninteresting and supposedly threatening dialogue, that mostly delivered in overly-hammy nearly unintelligible cornpone accents.

Then Bill gets shot, a woman screams, go to black, run end credits over a burial scene. Fin.

Hill's post-production resuscitation attempt was to apply bleached-stock, sepia-toning and angled-camera treatments to the flashback scenes. I guess they still teach that in film school.

Ellen Barkin's eternally hot, but she's still not anywhere near enough pony to pull this wagon. The best delivery here is actually John Hurt, since his stature as an formally trained actor scored him a pass on the country-bumpkin talk imposed on everyone else, and so he gets to go with his usual formal British treatment.

RECOMMENDATION: Unless you crave seeing Jeff Bridges in a really long, greasy, stringy wig, take a pass.
March 21, 2010
Take a walk on the wild side. Men wanted to be just like him. Women wanted to love him. And outlaws everywhere wanted to be the ones to kill the legendary "Wild Bill" Hickok. As the former James Butler Hickok heads toward his final hand of poker in Deadwood, South Dakota, he flashes back to his younger days and the events that built his reputation, even as he copes with encroaching blindness caused by syphilis. By the end of his 39-year life a more burdening than blessing legend was born...

Based on both the Deadwood novel by Pete Dexter and the Thomas Babe play Fathers And Sons, the Walter Hill-directed Wild Bill features good acting performances from the following cast:
1.) Jeff Bridges (Wild Bill Hickok)
2.) Ellen Barkin (Calamity Jane)
3.) John Hurt (Charley Prince)
4.) Diane Lane (Susannah Moore)
5.) David Arquette (Jack McCall)
6.) Christina Applegate (Lurlene)
7.) Keith Carradine (Buffalo Bill)

Although it was one of the better westerns ever to be released in the 1990s, audiences had overlooked this film. I, too, myself also overlooked it sometimes: Having seen Wild Bill twice I felt that the story here was too slow - at least until the ending scenes - and wished for better action, but I think it was done that way as to be faithful to the original tall tale and live up to the Wild West look to the big screen. If a series of black-and-white flashbacks seen by Wild Bill's point of view couldn't stop me from ever returning to where the real action is, I must say I do like this movie due to my search for good gunfights in town and a fine performance from the award-winning Jeff Bridges, whose facial appearance matched those of Hickok (and I mean Hickok as in the cowboy Wild Bill, not Hitchcock as in the movie director Alfred). It is a rather sad story, too, for both the sad beginnings and endings of it. The wild side is taken for a good movie about a Wild West legend, which is definitely worth a watch.
September 16, 2006
It was alright, but all the trippy flashbacks really take you out of the movie because of the horrible camera effects. It just seems a little too disjointed.
September 7, 2007
March 26, 2008
Pat Neiweem basically said it not mention that if u used the pistols bill did in the movie ure weapon would hav jammed u'd be dead
August 8, 2007
One of my all-time favorite westerns. Bridges' turn as Hickock was even better than his portrayal on Deadwood.
May 6, 2007
Like many of Walter Hill's films, this one is flawed but fascinating. Bridges is suitably gruff and haunted as the doomed title character, and Ellen Barkin is a memorably tough-as-nails Calamity Jane. It's overlong and a tad overblown, but Hill proves once again that he's one of the few directors alive today who really understands the genre.
January 4, 2007
theyre trying to be different and thats good. but you have to make him interesting. theyre trying to make him more realistic but they just makeh im ugly and not interesting. the plainsman is a better movie.
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