Unforgiven

Some legends will never be forgotten. Some wrongs can never be forgiven.

Western
130 min     7.9     1992     USA

Overview

William Munny is a retired, once-ruthless killer turned gentle widower and hog farmer. To help support his two motherless children, he accepts one last bounty-hunter mission to find the men who brutalized a prostitute. Joined by his former partner and a cocky greenhorn, he takes on a corrupt sheriff.

Reviews

redTed wrote:
Quite easily the finest western ever made and very close to the greatest film ever made. It won loads of Oscars and other film awards in 1993, but it still should have won more. Talk about a man at his peak ? This has Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman and virtual rookie, Jaimz Woolvett as The Schofield Kid, all putting in magnificent, career defining performances. Not to mention the bit players who all add to this stunningly captivating film. Weak points ? There are none. Every frame is a gem. It has plenty of dark humour. A few touching moments where you would think it wasn't possible. Sadistic and brutal fight scenes and then it has Clint Eastwood riding into town for the final terrifying, yet totally satisfying, showdown. How Al Pacino (The Scent of a Woman) beat Clint to Best Actor in 1993 is a mystery of modern times. Right up there with how The Shawshank Redemption didn't win anything of note in '95 but is now regarded as possibly the greatest film of all time by many people.
John Chard wrote:
That's right. I'm just a fella now. I ain't no different than anyone else no more. William Munny (Clint Eastwood taking the lead and directing the piece) is an old and retired gunman whose past misdemeanours would make the devil himself seem tame. Widowed and struggling to raise his two children on a paltry farm, he's tempted out of retirement for one last pay dirt job, the consequence of which provides violence - both physically and of the soul. Clint Eastwood signed off from the Western genre with this magnificent 1992 picture, the appropriation and irony of which is in itself a majestic point of reference. After the script had been knocking around for nigh on twenty years (written by Blade Runner scribe David Webb Peoples), Eastwood seized the opportunity to play William Munney and lay bare the mythologies of the Wild West. What is most amazing about Unforgiven's screenplay is how we the audience are firmly on Munney's side, we are, incredibly, influenced by Eastwood's part in the history of the Western. In spite of Munney's obvious murky past (despicable crimes they be), we wait (and hope) for Munney to make a quip and way-lay the bad guys - actually, salivating at the prospect is probably closer to the truth. So it's with enormous credit that Eastwood, and his magnificent cast and crew, manage to fuddle all our respective perceptions of the West and the characters we ourselves have aged with. It's not for nothing that W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) is the critical character that nobody expected. Beauchamp is a writer of penny pulpy novels that tell of derring-do heroics, gunslingers with a glint in their eye and death dealt like an heroic encore, this gives Unforgiven an excellent sleight of hand, for this West is grim and a destroyer of all illusions. Eastwood is greatly served by the actors around him, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman (winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for a script he turned down many years before!), Rubinek, Frances Fisher, Anna Thomson, Jaimz Woolvett and an incredible cameo from Richard Harris. Along with Hackman's win for his brutally tough portrayal of Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett, Unforgiven also won Oscars for Eastwood for his clinically tight direction, Best Picture, Best Editing and it was nominated for in another five categories. One of those nominations was for Jack Green's cinematography, which now, in this age of High Definition enhanced cinema, can be seen in all its wonderful glory. The Alberta location is magically transformed into the Western frontier, with the orange and brown hues a real treat for the eyes. Ultimately, though, Unforgiven is a lesson in brilliant film making, across the board it works so well, why? Well because the man at the helm knows this genre so well, having been its sole flag bearer for practically 25 years, and learning from his peers, Eastwood has crafted a thematically complex piece that for all its violence, debunking and melancholy pulse beats, is a film that is as beautiful as it is most assuredly stark, an incredible and true highlight of modern day cinema. 10/10
John Chard wrote:
That's right. I'm just a fella now. I ain't no different than anyone else no more. William Munny (Clint Eastwood taking the lead and directing the piece) is an old and retired gunman whose past misdemeanours would make the devil himself seem tame. Widowed and struggling to raise his two children on a paltry farm, he's tempted out of retirement for one last pay dirt job, the consequence of which provides violence - both physically and of the soul. Clint Eastwood signed off from the Western genre with this magnificent 1992 picture, the appropriation and irony of which is in itself a majestic point of reference. After the script had been knocking around for nigh on twenty years (written by Blade Runner scribe David Webb Peoples), Eastwood seized the opportunity to play William Munney and lay bare the mythologies of the Wild West. It's striking that the makers here have lured us in to being firmly on Munney's side, we are, incredibly, influenced by Eastwood's part in the history of the Western. In spite of Munney's obvious murky past (despicable crimes they be), we wait (and hope) for Munney to make a quip and way lay the bad guys - in fact salivating at the prospect is probably closer to the truth. So it's with enormous credit that Eastwood, and his magnificent cast and crew, manage to fuddle all our respective perceptions of the West and the characters we ourselves have aged with. It's not for nothing that W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) is one of the critical characters on show, this even though we didn't expect that to be the case. Beauchamp is a writer of penny pulpy novels that tell of derring-do heroics, gunslingers with a glint in their eye who deal death as some sort of heroic encore. This gives Unforgiven an excellent sleight of hand, for this West is grim and a destroyer of all illusions and it's not controversial to say that this is indeed a good thing. Eastwood is greatly served by the actors around him, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman (winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for a script he turned down many years before!), Rubinek, Frances Fisher, Anna Thomson, Jaimz Woolvett and an incredible cameo from Richard Harris. Along with Hackman's win for his brutally tough portrayal of Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett, Unforgiven also won Oscars for Eastwood for his clinically tight direction, Best Picture, Best Editing and it was nominated in another five categories. One of those nominations was for Jack Green's cinematography, which now, in this age of High Definition enhanced cinema, can be seen in all its wonderful glory. The Alberta location is magically transformed into the Western frontier, with the orange and brown hues a real treat for the eyes. Ultimately though, Unforgiven is a lesson in adroit film making, where across the board it works so well. Why? Well because the man at the helm knows this genre inside out, he was after all the sole flag bearer for practically 25 years. He learnt from his peers, and thus Eastwood has crafted a thematically complex piece that for all its violence, debunking and melancholy pulse beats, is a film that is as beautiful as it is most assuredly stark. An incredible and true highlight of modern day cinema, regardless of being a genre fan or not. 10/10
Peter McGinn wrote:
This movie directed by Clint Eastward is one of my big three. Three westerns I am willing to watch multiple times when the opportunity arises. (The other two are Once Upon a a Time in the West and The Good the Bad and the Ugly.) All three of those movies are gritty, but not necessarily realistic. The Wild West didn’t see many Gun fights where a gunman outshoots four or five guys facing him. And yet, if we saw a movie gunfight where they are shooting pistols at each other and missing all over the place, that might seem unrealistic to us. Movie magic. So Eastwood plays a former ruthless bad guy who we root for now, and Gene Hackman plays a good guy lawman who is cruel and easy to root against. The dialogue is excellent, such as what Bill Munny says after her shoots a bar owner. There is some humor, as usual for his movies, especially concerning the bragging Schofield. I could go on and on, but you may be one of those lucky ones who hasn’t seen it and still has it to look forward to.
Wuchak wrote:
_**“It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man”**_ In 1880-81, Big Whiskey, Wyoming, a prostitute’s face is cut up by an offended patron. When the big, tough sheriff (Gene Hackman) goes soft on the two cowboys responsible, the vengeful women collect their assets for a “whore’s gold” reward to attract a hit man. Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman play old pardners who are interested in teaming up with a young kid (Jaimz Woolvett) to earn the money. Saul Rubinek plays a maker of Western legends while Richard Harris is on hand as the deadly English Bob. Directed by Eastwood, "Unforgiven" (1992) is a downbeat Western with a bit o’low-key humor. It’s marred by a pall of ugliness and darkness, but it has grim realism in its favor. It’s all about what it takes to kill/abuse people and the ramifications thereof. Munny (Eastwood) is haunted by it, the hardened Sheriff leads by it, Ned (Morgan) discovers he just can’t do it anymore, English Bob relishes it for celebrity status while the ‘Schofield Kid’ is just testing his mettle. Frances Fisher and Anna Thomson lead the female cast with the latter playing the scarred prostitute. Liisa Repo-Martell stands out as the young blonde. There are a few more. There are several iconic scenes, but two moving ones come to mind: When the 'Schofield Kid' experiences an unexpected breakdown. And when the scarred girl shows honor for Munny's faithfulness to his beloved wife (even though she finds out later the wife had passed away; nevertheless Munny was still faithful to her). It's almost as if she marvels at the nobility of a man who refuses to be a faithless adulterer. Munny was really rehabilitated by his beloved and it was only a certain person's death that brings back the cold killer, albeit this time an agent of fearsome vengeance. The film runs 2 hours, 7 minutes, and was shot in Longview, Alberta, Canada (the town of Big Whiskey) and other areas of Alberta, as well as Red Hills Ranch, Sonora, California, for the train sequence. GRADE: B+

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