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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Rio Bravo (1959)

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

Plot Summary: When gunslinger Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) kills a man in a saloon, Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) arrests him with the aid of the town drunk, Dude (Dean Martin). Before long, Burdette's brother, Nathan (John Russell), comes around, indicating that he's prepared to bust his brother out of jail if necessary. Chance decides to make a stand until reinforcements arrive, enlisting Dude, an old cripple named Stumpy (Walter Brennan) and baby-faced cowboy Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson) to help.

*Recognition: 2014 National Film Registry

What is this movie is about?: A Sheriff, with little institutional support, stands against the interests of the big rancher in town, but only with the help of his friends.

Best Performance: Angie Dickinson/Dean Martin

Best Minor Performance: Dean Martin/Dimitri Tiomkin (Composer)

Most Charismatic Award: Walter Brennan/Dean Martin

Best Scene: The Deguello

Favorite Scene: Warehouse Shootout

Most Indelible Moment: Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson singing

Best Line:

Pat Wheeler: A bum-legged old man and a drunk. That's all you got?

John T. Chance: That's WHAT I got.

Feathers: How does a... how does a man get to be a sheriff?

John T. Chance: Gets lazy. Gets tired of selling his gun all over. Decides to sell it in one place.

Feathers: I'd say you made a poor sale.

John T. Chance: A lot of people around here'll agree with you.

Feathers: But... it's still a sale and it's too late to back out.

Honorable Mention:

John T. Chance: You want that gun, pick it up. I wish you would.

Feathers: I thought you were never going to say it.

John T. Chance: Say what?

Feathers: That you love me.

John T. Chance: I said I'd arrest you.

Feathers: It means the same thing, you know that.

Funniest Line:

Feathers: Hey, sheriff, you forgot your pants.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 7

Impact/Significance: 6.25

Novelty: 6

Classic-ness: 8.5

Rewatchability: 9.25

Audience Score: 9.1

Total: 46.1

Remaining Questions:

  • Why didn't the Burdette men just escape out of the back instead of giving themselves up?

  • When you could have Dean Martin or Ricky Nelson, why would Angie Dickinson go after John Wayne?

  • How can John Wayne be a witness to the murder if he was unconscious when it happened?

  • How did we get the title Rio Bravo?

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