"The Outlaw Josey Wales" Is Released
The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 revisionist Western film set at the end of the American Civil War directed by and starring Clint Eastwood (as the eponymous Josey Wales), with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, John Vernon, Paula Trueman, Sam Bottoms, Geraldine Keams, John Russell, Woodrow Parfrey, Joyce Jameson, Sheb Wooley, John Quade, Will Sampson, and Royal Dano.
The movie was adapted by Sonia Chernus and Philip Kaufman from the novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (republished in 1975 under the title Gone to Texas) by Forrest Carter.
In 1996, this film was placed in the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
This film is considered by many enthusiasts to be one of the greatest westerns ever made, including the late Johnny Carson and Eastwood himself, who has been quoted as saying that The Outlaw Josey Wales is his favorite of all the movies he has made.
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, All Movie Guide