A very misunderstood and under-appreciated film (by more_tones)
"Nothing counts more than blood... the rest are just strangers," speaks Wyatt's father at the beginning of the film--the most important line perhaps in the movie, with the exception of Wyatt's own at the end "Some say it didn't happen that way," commenting upon a flashback recounting his brand of law and justice in the wild cattle town of Dodge City.I wholeheartedly admit the film is long--but so are many other great films. I also admit that it is not the shoot 'em up Tombstone is, but this film is a far greater one, a character study of a man whose <more>
innocence is laid to rest by the harsh wilderness of both the American West and human nature. By the end of this movie, Wyatt is a used up and bitter man, and I would argue that this film was never meant to be a heroic portrayal of an individual, only a dark and complicated one. It reminds me thus of the greatest of character portrayals, Raging Bull--though I'm sure the parallel isn't obvious. I probably am more forgiving of this film since I like Westerns, dark dramatic stories, and admittedly uneven plots, because the characters usually are so great in them. This one is no different, and was likely made for a viewer like me, and not the mainstream audience.It's very ambitious, and successful, I believe, on its artistic merits. Whether it's "entertainment" for the masses, well that's another story altogether, and that story's name is probably "Tombstone."
Reassessing an underrated masterpiece. (by Rocking DH)
I have to thank Kevin Costner for taking me West. "Wyatt Earp" led me to pick up a copy of the early Earp bio by Stuart Lake while working in Canada, and I was surprised to find photos of the actual historical people tipped inside. The resemblance of the actors to those they portrayed impressed me. I continued to research. I went to Tombstone and stayed at a nearby ranch. The town itself declined Costner's office to rebuild it with accuracy, preferring the leave things as they are very touristy . The gunfight was actually held in the street, etc. My research matched at least <more>
striking physical/type casting for 17 characters, from major characters the Earps and their wives/women to the Cowboys, Beehan, Doc Holiday, his Kate, and Bat Masterson. Linden Ashby is the most striking doppelganger; indeed, he seems to be a physical reincarnation of Morgan Earp. Dennis Quaid lost some 40 pounds or so for the role of Doc Holiday and his resemblance to the TB-plagued gambler from Valdosta, Georgia is eerie as well. Costner caught a lot of flack for this film; in fact, few critics noted the historical sense that he achieved. Granted, some cuts are made in time frame/continuity to speed plot along i.e. timing of attacks on Morgan and Virgil , and the film is lengthy. I learned that the Cowboy/Earp feud was not mere ill-will, but that the strife represented political differences and clashing economic interests, as well as the "theft" of a lover. The old diaries and biographies are fascinating! I learned that Morgan Earp told Allie Earp something like, "I want to leave Tombstone and never come back" moments before he was shot to death.Of note, Johnny Beehan's partner in the Dexter Corral in Tombstone was a man named "John Dunbar". This was Costner's character's name in "Dances with Wolves". Go figure. Read more about it! Granted Lake embellished Earp's image, but the place, the times and the issues are fascinating.
Highly under-rated and worthwhile western epic (by stevetseitz)
As an owner of the Wyatt Earp extended Director's edition I can tell you that I thought the film was neither too long or too slow as some "attention-span-deficient" critics have labled it. Admittedly, I have seen shorter movies and movies with more wall to wall action, but I am patient enough to enjoy the slow enveloping experience of a Tarkovsky film. When this film came out, I couldn't convince anyone to see it with me, so I had to go alone. I was blown away by the cast, the performances, the writing and the movie. The cast was terrific. Even bit characters are well-known <more>
actors in this film. Gene Hackman was his superb self as Wyatt's stern but loving father. The film didn't skip over significant elements in Wyatt's life like most of the filmed versions do. His transformation from a young adventure-seeking farmer's son to a fearless and feared lawman is believable and compelling. The cinematography was fantastic and was deservedly written up in an issue of American Cinematographer magazine. On a side note, I think this film works well as an allegory to current events. The United States is represented by Wyatt and the "Wild West" is the world. Like the U.N., Ed Masterson tries to get Wyatt to become less strict and hard-nosed in the application of law. Ed gets killed because he is "too affable". Like France and Russia, the corrupt sheriff Johnny Behan Mark Harmon tries to get Wyatt to sell out, because there is "enough money for everybody" if he just looks the other way. Wyatt is too rigidly principled for either of these two men but retains his dignity and honor.
I'll Take This Version Over The Rest (by ccthemovieman-1)
This is one of the best, and underrated, westerns ever made. It was a very intense, interesting character study of a famous lawman, showing flaws and all. In fact, this is the only version, I believe, that really shows the sadistic side of Wyatt Earp, and what made him a bitter man. To be fair, it also shows his good traits. It also has a terrific, deep cast and features a good mix of drama, romance and action. Even the music grows on you after several viewings. There is no humor in here: this is a serious story. Unlike the more popular "Tombstone," this Earp story has a lot less <more>
profanity and almost no usage of the Lord's name in vain....but there is rough language and some crude sexual remarks, so don't watch it with the kiddies.At rate, the movie is a lot better than the critics would have you believe. All nationally-known critics but one panned this, as far as I know. Kevin Costner performed one of his better acting jobs. It was nice to see Michael Madsen and Tom Sizemore as good guys. That's not seen in too many films! They were low-key characters, too. Dennis Quaid did a nice job as the fascinating "Doc Holliday." It's generally conceded that Val Kilmer's "Doc" in "Tombstone" was the best-ever, but Quaid version is just fine, thank you, and gets better and better with each viewing. This is a long movie, but it's never dull and it never overdoes the action, either. The cast is deep so you see a lot of familiar actors. As mentioned, this film is extremely underrated. I know most people prefer "Tombstone" but I'll take this version of the Earp saga any time!
The best Wyat Earp flick........................quit being Val Kilmer's Bitch (by RabbitMayhem)
This is the "Real Man's" Wyatt Earp movie. Lawrence Kasdan out-did his other great western SILVERADO. Wyatt Earp is a well made factual depiction of the man himself. Wyatt Earp is the better quality drama for the Old West fanatics. TOMBSTONE was way, way, and I mean way too commercial. That is a fact! not an opinion. It's fake, the scenarios, dialogues, and personalities are made up to make it a cool, hip, action western. It was corny. By the way, for all you Kilmer groupies out there, "DOC Holliday" NEVER EVER ACTUALLY HAD A GUNFIGHT WITH "Johnny RINGO". <more>
Do the research yourself, meat-heads. It was a Dream Match conjured up by Hollywood. And you bought it. One can not, and must not, ever engage in a comparison of the two. It is literally impossible to compare them both. I'm talking two different religions here, buddy. It's like STAR WARS vs STAR TREK. TOMSTONE is an action movie with a great ensemble cast set in the Old West. Wyatt Earp is a biographical, western epic. yes, I'm afraid there is a big difference between them Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy TOMBSTONE very much. I like Val Kilmer THUNDRHEART , as well as Bill Paxton NEAR DARK . I am a big fan of Sam Elliot RUSH , and I love watching Kurt Russell BREAKDOWN in just about everything he does. Powers Booth SOUTHERN COMFORT lead a great cast portraying the Bad Guys. And I'm going to have to be the bigger man and, without shame, admit that I like Jason Priestly too COLDBLOODED . The main reason I keep watching TOMBSTONE, in the first place, is to see Micheal Bain's TERMINATOR portrayal of the ruthless killer "Johnny Ringo". I love that guy.The cast of Wyatt Earp is, in many ways more accurate, and better put together. Of course, there are flaws, as in many casts, but I loved all their performances. Dennis Quaid ENEMY MINE was, historically, a better Doc. Costner's PERFECT WORLD Wyatt Earp was outstanding. Gene Hackman FRENCH CONNECTION is always good to watch. Micheal Madsan THE GETAWAY , Dave Andrews GRAVEYARD SHIFT , and Mark Harmon THE PRESIDIO were great. Tom Sizemore SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BIll Pullman ZERO EFFECT as the Masterson Brothers was very very cool. I am a huge Jeff Fehay fan too BODY PARTS . Too bad the "Johnny Ringo" in this movie sucked. I love that guy.All in all, Wyatt Earp is the better film to watch, if you want to see the story of Wyatt Earp. You'll definitely like it, and appreciate it more than TOMBSTONE for the quality in acting they give the watcher. Then, you can watch TOMBSTONE as the 2nd feature.By the way, in actual reality, "Doc" was no match for "Ringo". He's lucky they never had a gunfight. "Doc" had gunslinging mastered, but "Ringo" had that art perfected. Aaaaugh, Don't cry.
Provocative Biopic On Legendary The Legendary Gunslinger (by eric262003)
In the old West one of the most heavily milked upon subject that every fan of Western history will always spring into mind was the event that happened on October 26, 1881, that was the infamous showdown at the O.K. Corral located in Tombstone, Arizona. For many years, filmmakers have been making adaptations and documentaries about this fearsome battle that if you've seen enough of these, it's very hard for you to forget about. In 1993 and 1994, two movies spawned upon this topic came out one after the other that were pretty high in terms of budget. Those two film were <more>
"Tombstone" from 1993 and "Wyatt Earp" from 1994. In a sheer twist of irony, both films were being made pretty much simultaneously and nearing butting heads around the same locations. And while George Cosmatos' "Tombstone" emphasized on the epic gunfight itself, Lawrence Kasdan's "Wyatt Earp" concentrated on the main character of "Wyatt Earp". From his humble beginnings to his deadly showdown and everything else in between Kasdan left nothing out. In 1993, "Tombstone" received a substantial amount of praise and well-deserved accolades and was opened more to big box office success. Warner Brothers had to stall "Wyatt Earp" from its release months later as to avoid from being on a competitive level with "Tombstone". When "Wyatt Earp" was released in June of 1994, it still had the warm reception it had like "Tombstone", but the box office had a lower impact. My guess was that it came out too soon and people were still buzzing about "Tombstone" and just weren't freshening up to this more character driven film. And though it remains the kid brother to "Tombstone", it still doesn't mean this movie was terrible. In fact for a biopic, it is a very engaging film that deserves the humble credit it had. For a movie that crawls over the three hour hurdle, this movie literally chronicles Wyatt Earp from his childhood era as he wanted to free himself from his family life to move onto bigger and better things. We watch as he was vital in the building of the famous transcontinental railway lines even down to his personal life from the loss of his first wife his alcoholic phase from becoming an outlaw to throwing his evil ways away to becoming a lawman which eventually led him and his brothers to the big shooting party at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. One of the idiosyncrasies that makes this film special was that Kasdan and co-writer Dan Gordon really put a lot of thought and a lot of care for the material and there's never a dull scene and the narrative remains at a steady pace throughout. The performances were really accurate in it portrayals. Kevin Costner who at the time seemed like an aficionado in the Western genre was the perfect casting choice for the role of the titular character. He just felt his comfort zone in this very complex role. Though Costner carries the heavy cargo in this role doesn't mean that the supporting characters were insignificant. Round out the cast Dennis Quaid was equally riveting as another will known lawman named Doc Holiday. He even molded himself to lose 30 lbs. to look like a sickly man who has tuberculosis. Other well known performers include Michael Madsen as Wyatt's brother Virgil, Gene Hackman as his father Nicholas, Mark Harmon as lawman Johnny Behan, Catherine O'Hara as Allie, Bill Pullman as deputy Ed Masterson, Tom Sizemore as his brother Bat and Isabella Rosselini as a hooker named Big Nose Kate. In spite of this electrifying cast Kasdan ensures that no one gets usurped and no one is left out. The cinematography by Oscar nominee Owen Roizman stands out very well too. Roizman manages to make the landscapes look and feel quite authentic. If I was to say there was a weakness, it would have to be the length of this film. I'm not going to whine about the length, but even for a patient man, this film can be quite long and not very comfortable on the buttocks either. My advice, bring a soft cushion to watch this film, it is that long. After all's said and done, "Wyatt Earp" succeeds in being epic and provocative and very rich in both action and character. It displays a crew that enjoyed their work and the heart put into it. The characters were rich and the acting was superb. Sure it was lengthy, but it will still tug at your heartstrings. It's not better than "Tombstone", but equally captivating.
Wyatt Earp if nothing else is the Western of all Westerns. It's epically enormous and tells a story of a man that could only be fiction and yet was a real person. There isn't anything that a lover of Westerns won't find in this film. It has absolutely everything. It is a very, very long film. It was originally meant to be a whopping six hours so thank goodness it was cut to only three. Without a doubt I think this is director Lawrence Kasdan's best work although he did work on another Kevin Costner vehicle that was very good, The Bodyguard.Costner plays the lead role of Wyatt <more>
Earp. Now one thing is for sure Kevin Costner is an acquired taste. No matter what he's a commanding presence on screen and his portrayal of tough as nails, take no prisoners Wyatt Earp is awesome!! Sure sometimes he is a little dry in his acting but he has a quiet intensity that makes his roles so watchable. He goes from loving husband to grieving, to drunk, to Marshall, to protector, to the executioner flawlessly and seamlessly. The supporting cast of this film is incredible and too numerous to mention everyone. They have such an incredible ensemble cast and everyone adds to it in different ways. Gene Hackman makes a cameo as Wyatt's father, Michael Madsen as his brother, Catherine O'Hara as his sister-in-law Madsen's wife , Bill Pullman as Ed Masterson, Isabella Rossellini as Doc Holliday's woman, Tom Sizemore as Bat Masterson, Adam Baldwin, Téa Leoni, Jeff Fahey...and I could go on. The film is a virtual who's who of Hollywood A and B movie actors who come together like I've never seen on screen. It's just fun picking out who you recognize as most of them are done up to an almost unrecognizable state with era costumes and set. However the two performances most noted were Costner and the amazing Dennis Quaid who plays the ill fated Doc Holliday. I did feel that they didn't really establish the friendship as much as they could have between Earp and Holliday but nonetheless Quaid's performance was the best in the film and Oscar worthy. A cold blooded killer, dying of consumption and dedicated to his friend. He's barely recognizable, even his voice is different and he's the perfect choice.Wyatt Earp's most brilliant part is the entire setting including costumes, locations, and capturing the entire era of any era it displays. The dusty, dark, gritty world of the old west to the plains of Arizona to the Alaskan coast in the end. It's a visual masterpiece. The costumes are spot on and brilliant. I think Costner has a real love for the western and you can see his passion in this film. As producer he likely had a big hand in it's creation and it shows. I think Costner is a worthy Hollywood star and I've always liked him and this is one of the great films he has done. Any fans of Westerns MUST see Wyatt Earp because although made in the nineties it's the essential western epic and brilliantly done just a little long, that's all. Can't beat the content or performances and familiar faces. 8/10
Not just about the OK Corrall (by waterlevel20032003)
A lengthy biopic about Wyatt Earp, this splendid film tackles the problem of telling the story of an actual man's life, and does it well.People do not live like Hollywood films in that our lives have no plot. Wyatt Earp does have a plot, but it is not the glamorous rocket ride of an action film. We get to see Wyatt Earp not so much as a hero, but as a man. He had virtues. But he had flaws and shortcomings, and they led to pain for himself and others.Earp's life was not limited to his time in Tombstone and the movie reflects that. He was around for quite some time before and after that <more>
famous gunfight at the OK Corrall. The makers of this movie appreciate that. And though today we associate him most strongly with that event, it did not define him. Rather, he helped to define it. And his life kept right on trucking after that.Good performances all around, although I did not believe anyone gave the performance of their career.Often this movie is compared to another film, Tombstone. But Wyatt Earp is aptly titled, because it is not only about Tombstone. It covers decades and brings a sweeping sense of time to the picture. It is also quite lovely. Shot with a sense of honesty, sometimes the characters appear quite unfashionable. They appear real, nonetheless, and don't look like they just stepped out of a Vidal Sasson commercial.Overall, a good biography about a man of the times.
A very good movie, the biggest letdown is the length! Good lord, I'm reading people saying there needed to be more detail, blah blah--you'd need to make a series on TV! It's already, what, three hours long? Some of the acting seemed a little stiff, what is it with Kostner that he always comes off like he's got his lines memorized, and he's trying to remember them? As for passing judgement on historical accuracy--folks, it's a movie, OK? Not a history course. Omission is not historical inaccuracy, it's expediency, as long as the continuity of the story is intact. I <more>
liked Tombstone too. Both entertaining movies, neither is Gone With the Wind. Isn't entertainment and performance what it's all about?