The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Outlaw Josey Wales1976

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)



Critic Consensus: Recreating the essence of his iconic Man With No Name in a post-Civil War Western, director Clint Eastwood delivered the first of his great revisionist works of the genre.

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Movie Info

Clint Eastwood's fifth film as a director and eighth Western as a star (ninth if you count Paint Your Wagon), The Outlaw Josey Wales chronicles the hero's violent journey westward after the Civil War. With fresh memoris of his family's slaughter by Red Leg soldier Terrill (Bill McKinney), Confederate Josey Wales (Eastwood) refuses to join his captain Fletcher (John Vernon) and the rest of his comrades in surrender to a U.S. Army regiment. Deemed a dangerous outlaw after a bloody one-man battle with that regiment, Josey is pursued by U.S. cavalry soldiers led by the unwilling Fletcher and the murderous Terrill, as well as by bounty hunters who eventually learn how coolly lethal Wales can be. Despite his desire to remain a lone fugitive, Josey soon has a crew of travelling companions that includes Cherokee Lone Watie (Chief Dan George) and the pretty Laura Lee (Sondra Locke) and her vigorous Grandma Sarah (Paula Trueman), settlers on their way to a ranch near ghost town Santa Rio. The few Santa Rio residents welcome the group, but their peace and Josey's burgeoning romance with Laura Lee are soon interrupted by Terrill's arrival. A skillfully violent man of few, well-chosen words, Josey Wales resembles Eastwood's previous Western heroes in Sergio Leone's trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966). However, the emphasis on friends and family served notice that, in the words of one critic, "the Man With No Name doesn't live here anymore." Indeed, Josey Wales would be Eastwood's last western before 1985's Pale Rider. Although it did not garner similar critical praise when it was released, Eastwood considers The Outlaw Josey Wales to be the equal of the Oscar-winning Unforgiven (1992). ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

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Clint Eastwood
as Josey Wales
Chief Dan George
as Lone Watie
Sondra Locke
as Laura Lee
John Vernon
as Fletcher
Paula Trueman
as Grandma Sarah
Geraldine Keams
as Little Moonlight
Woodrow Parfrey
as Carpetbagger
Sheb Wooley
as Travis Cobb
Royal Dano
as Ten Spot
Will Sampson
as Ten Bears
William O'Connell
as Sim Carstairs
John Quade
as Comancho Leader
Buck Kartalian
as Shopkeeper
John Russell
as Bloody Bill Anderson
Charles Tyner
as Zukie Limmer
Cissy Wellman
as Josey's Wife
Clay Tanner
as First Texas Ranger
Bob Hoy
as Second Texas Ranger
Erik Holland
as Union Army Sergeant
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Critic Reviews for The Outlaw Josey Wales

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (6)

Wales also possesses a touching emotional vulnerability that marks another significant step away from Eastwood's often-overcriticized "macho" image.

August 8, 2011 | Full Review…

The screenplay is another one of those violence revues, with carnage production numbers slotted every so often.

July 6, 2010 | Full Review…

[Eastwood] gets to the heart of the matter briskly, orchestrates his confrontations intelligently and gets off without lingering unduly over the resultant ugliness.

October 26, 2008 | Full Review…

Demonstrated Eastwood's ability to recreate his first starring role, as the mythic Man with No Name of the Italian Westerns, and to subtly undercut it through comedy and mockery.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Eastwood is such a taciturn and action-oriented performer that it's easy to overlook the fact that he directs many of his movies - and many of the best, most intelligent ones.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A soggy attempt at a post-Civil War western epic.

May 21, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Outlaw Josey Wales


One of the best westerns of all time. Another Eastwood Classic. Clint Eastwood is excellent, he delivers a thrilling performance and even more thrilling directional feature. A stunning and well-crafted western that delivers plenty of sensational shoot-ours and great humor. A fun and exhilarating action-packed adventure. A great cast in some wonderful supporting roles just add more to love about this movie.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer


Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales is a near flawless Western with a great cast of actors. Directed by Clint Eastwood who also plays the lead role of Josey Wales, This is a classic Western that is packed with effective story telling, good action, memorable characters and above all, great directing. I very much enjoyed this film, and though it's not as legendary as Sergio Leone's Westerns, this is still a classic of the genre. Clint Eastwood delivers a great performance alongside Chief Dan George. The Outlaw Josey Wales is a great tale of revenge and payback. I think it's a subject that suits Clint Eastwood well, and he doesn't disappoint. This is a well crafted film with a great cast, great performances and an engaging story. If you're a Clint Eastwood fan, then you really should give this one a shot. This is a superb Western, and it will please fans of the genre. I really enjoyed John Vernon's performance as Fletcher, the man hunting down Josey Wales. Both Eastwood and Vernon light up the screen, and it's what makes this film so good. Combine that with a great story, and you have yet another Western classic. If you enjoy exciting Westerns, then this is the film for you. The cast is great, and the story is always exciting, and the performances are top notch. The Outlaw Josey Wales is a great film, and directed by Clint Eastwood, you can expect an excellent film for sure. If you love Eastwood's work, then don't miss out on this one. A must see for Eastwood fans.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

A typical horse opera with Eastwood as the stranger you better not mess with, only different, yea charged, with the blithe spirit of Chief Dan George as the unlikely second banana, who manages to lift the usual proceedings single-handedly into 4 star territory.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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