Rio Bravo | Chicago Reader

Rio Bravo

Howard Hawks's finest western (1959), and perhaps his finest film—but who wants to quibble on this level? John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan hole up in a sheriff's office, there to protect a prisoner from a band of hired guns outside. But the subtly stylized setting soon becomes an arena for a moral battle, as the characters discover and test their resources of trust, skill, and courage, values poised against encroaching chaos. It's American filmmaking at its finest—clean, clear, and direct—and it's also the most optimistic masterpiece on film, valiantly shoring fragments against human ruin. Superb in every respect, from Wayne's performance to Russell Harlan's brilliant night photography. With Angie Dickinson.



  • Howard Hawks


  • John Wayne
  • Dean Martin
  • Ricky Nelson
  • Angie Dickinson
  • Walter Brennan
  • Ward Bond
  • John Russell
  • Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez
  • Estelita Rodriguez
  • Claude Akins
  • Harry Carey Jr.
  • Malcolm Atterbury
  • Bob Steele
  • Bing Russell
  • Myron Healey
  • Eugene Iglesias
  • Fred Graham
  • Tom Monroe
  • Riley Hill


  • B.H. McCampbell
  • Jules Furthman
  • Leigh Brackett


  • Howard Hawks

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