A sheriff and his unorthodox deputies must protect the jail from a crime
boss who seeks to break out his criminal brother who's awaiting trial.
Rio Bravo (1959)
Directed by Howard Hawks
Written by Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett
Starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, John Russell
Based on the short story by B.H. McCampbell
Rio Bravo is one of John Wayne's best westerns, mostly because it has a wholly original story that would later inspire some other epic classic (Assault on Precinct 13 comes to mind) and utilizes a great supporting cast. The film, despite being a harsh 2 hours and 21 minutes, doesn't really drag, and you get a sense of urgency and danger that a lot of Wayne's films just didn't have. I particularly enjoyed Dean Martin's performance as the local drunk, Dude, who betters himself and helps Wayne stop the bad guys. Overall, a decent, enjoyable western romp.
Wayne plays Sheriff John T. Chance, a John Wayne-type who has to protect a local bad guy from being sprung by his crime boss brother. Aiding him are Dude (Martin), young Colorado (Ricky Nelson) and old, wiry Stumpy (Walter Brennan). Most of the film is watching these characters talk about their struggles with their lives and waiting to be ambushed, and frankly, it makes for some damn engaging cinema. After watching so many Wayne films that tend to bleed together, it was refreshing to watch one that stood out.
The film also features a great performance from Angie Dickinson as Wayne's romantic foil, and she actually has substance and is interesting to watch. Rio Bravo exceeded my expectations and stands as a 20th century classic with a story about coming together for the right reasons. Definitely worth a watch.