The Baron of Arizona (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Baron of Arizona (1950)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Samuel Fuller wrote and directed this lively drama based on the real-life adventures of James Addison Reavis, one of the most ambitious swindlers of the 19th Century. In 1871, Reavis (played by Vincent Price) began hatching an elaborate scheme to claim the Arizona territory (then three decades away from statehood) as his own. At the time, land grants established during Spanish rule of Arizona were still valid, and one rainy evening Reavis visited Pepito Peralta (Vladimir Sokoloff) and his daughter Sofia (Karen Kester) with some exciting news. While working as a real estate clerk, Reavis found documents which granted ownership of nearly the whole of the Arizona territory to one Miguel Peralta, who was named Baron of the new land by Spain's rulers, and as his heir Sofia will become Baroness when she reaches adulthood, giving her claim to the territory. After giving Pepito and Sofia money and hiring a governess (Beulah Bondi) to educate the girl in a manner befitting the Barony, Reavis sailed for Spain on business; unknown to the Peraltas, Reavis posed first as a monk and then as a gypsy in order to revise old land grant documents to conform with his story. Several years later, Reavis returned to Pepito and Sofia's home, and asked the young woman (now played by Ellen Drew) to marry him. Once wed, Reavis presented his carefully forged paperwork to the Arizona authorities which gave him and his bride royal claim to the land; however, not everyone believed Reavis's elaborate tale, and John Griff (Reed Hadley), an expert in falsified documents, was brought in to examine the evidence. The Baron of Arizona gave Vincent Price a rare leading role in a non-horror vehicle, and he cited it as one of his favorite performances on film.


Vincent Price
as James Addison Reavis
Ellen Drew
as Sofia de Peralta-Reavis
Beulah Bondi
as Loma Morales
Vladimir Sokoloff
as Pepito Alvarez
Robert H. Barrat
as Judge Adams
Robin Short
as Lansing
Barbara Woodell
as Carry Lansing
Margia Dean
as Marquesa
Edward Keane
as Surveyor Miller
Gene Roth
as Father Guardian
Karen Kester
as Sofia as a child
Joseph Green
as Gunther
I. Stanford Jolley
as Secretary of Interior
Terry Frost
as Morelle
Wheaton Chambers
as Brother Gregory
Stephen S. Harrison
as Surveyor's Assistant
Margo Woode
as Carry Lansing
View All

Critic Reviews for The Baron of Arizona

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

The Baron of Arizona (1950) is all thumbs, as much a forgery as the one perpetrated by its protagonist James Addison Reavis (Vincent Price).

August 17, 2007 | Full Review…

Not one of Fuller's best films, though the subject is fascinatingly offbeat, the cinematography is by James Wong Howe, and no personal Fuller project is devoid of interest.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

A Balzacian comedy recalled by a man who, like Fuller, can't help admiring a rogue who can wield ingenuity in a wolfish world

May 15, 2011 | Full Review…

This is a powerful and colorful film, the second to be directed by the gifted Fuller, which shows a large slice of pioneer life in early America.

January 12, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The craziest true story I've never heard of that turned out to be pretty damn true. Even with Fuller shouting his own melodramatic version of the truth at the top of his lungs

August 29, 2009 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Starring Vincent Price, Sam Fuller's second feature is a bizarre noirish Western, marred by preposterous plotting, but extremely well shot by ace lesner James Wong Howe.

July 5, 2009 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Baron of Arizona

Interesting because it's based on a true story. Sam Fuller delivers one his calmest pictures.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

It's a pretty far fetched story, but it is said to be based on a real story, which is really incredible. This movie is dramatic, romantic, exciting, and humorous. I loved Price in this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

somewhat exaggerated account of the notorious conman who used forged spanish land grants and even an orphaned girl to try to gain control of a large part of arizona territory. pretty interesting tale of the wild and woolly days of the old west

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

The Baron of Arizona Quotes

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