The Westerner (1940)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance

The Westerner (1940) Poster

Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinegarroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.


Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review

User Reviews

11 October 2011 | ma-cortes
| Classic Western about a range war with drifter Cooper defending homesteaders against judge Brennan
This is an outdoor epic about land war in which director William Wyler offers us a solid, absorbent and entertaining film . "The Westerner" is an intense and rewarding western , which is filmed on location in Arizona. Nominated for 3 Oscars (actor cast, art direction and original screenplay), won one (for Walter Brennan who sparkles as judge who dispenses frontier justice in the days of wild west). The film explores the tensions and fights faced by the old farmers and new settlers landowners engaged in the operation of small farms, erected through the efforts of their work . It focuses on the conflicting interests of the two groups, their diverse working methods , struggles and different visions of the country and world . Within this scenario is the showdown among two two antagonists , a drifter addicted to freedom named "Cole Harden¨ (featured by an unforgettable Cooper), a sly , soft spoken cowboy who champions Texas border homesteaders in a range war , Cole is a former outlaw and become socially integrated while legendary Judge Roy Bean (Brennan's Academy Award was his third playing a shrew piece of villainy) known as ¨The law west of the Pecos ¨ sentences Hardin hang as a horse thief . Cole then falls for damsel Jane Ellen (Doris Davenport) and stays in the area advocating for the rights of homesteaders ; Cole has to have an ending confrontation with the judge . With these characters, the film explores the misery and the greatness of the human condition. Gary Cooper was 39 years when he played in this movie and he was a very famous player . The film gave Cooper one of the best of his laconic , strong characters as the cowboy caught among opposing factions ; in other hand Walter Brennan composing the reply and gives a role of cruel judge but that is nice , capable at the same time, being brutal and relentlessly hanging whatever suspect . The film describes the institutional and administrative instability that prevails in wide zones of western border, underscores the friendship, companionship, honesty, sense of adventure, enterprise and justice sentence drills by unscrupulous and dishonest people.The narrative is vivid and vibrant. The story is presented polished, stylish and free of nonessential items. The dialogues are sharp and funny, peppered with humor. The film includes spectacular scenes, fast-paced and iconography amalgam of the old silent westerns with romantic references characteristic of modern western.It's also a comedy, Brennan and Cooper have a fun relationship during the first half hour of the movie, you think we will soon lead to a happy ending, which ultimately will result but one of the two dead. Furthermore, movie debuts of actors Dana Andrews and Forrest Tucker. William Wyler exceed film genres and built an excellent film from the first minutes the feeling of coherence and emphasis that produces the majority of which went over his career.

Amazing cinematography by Cregg Toland (citizen Kane) places an emphasis on the realism of the action and splendid frames , which is one of the best things of the movie, with spectacular scenes as the fire. Emotive and stirring musical score by the classic Dimitri Tiomkin . Wyler looking camera concealed positions that sees without being seen observed with curiosity and interest and look for the pleasure of seeing. The film, made by a young Wyler (37 years) is solid, absorbing and entertaining.There are moments, like burning down crops that technically is wonderful . Some rides from Cooper or fighting in the middle of the country , so are scenes impossible to forget.

The Bean 's role is based on actual events as Roy Bean (1825-1903) was a near-illiterate frontier justice of the peace who ran a combined court-saloon in the tiny railroad hamlet of Langtry in the West Texas desert between the River Pecos and the Rio Grande . He was known as the ¨Lay west of the Pecos¨ . He was running a saloon in a tent-town for railroad builders called Vinegaroon . Ben , backed by the Texas Rangers and the railroad , was appointed Justice of the peace , although he had never studied law . He managed to keep the peace with a strange brand of common and rough sense , often basing his ruling on a single law book . The stories about him are legion, most apocryphal . The fines usually stayed in his pocket and he acquitted accused on condition that he buy a round of drinks for the boys . The law of the Pecos was a law unto himself . He got himself elected Langtry's justice of the peace , holding court in his crude saloon called the ¨Jersey Lily¨ where he lived till his death in 1903 . In 1896 he brought fame to Langtry by staging the Fitzsmmons-Peter Maher heavyweight-boxing championship. He also performed marriages , ending the short ceremony with the worlds ¨I Roy Bean , justice of the peace , hereby pronounce man and wife . May God have mercy on your souls¨. Bean's ¨Jersey Lily¨ has been preserved by the Texas Highway Department and is now a tourist attraction.

Metacritic Reviews

Critic Reviews

Hollywood Power Couples

Check out some of our favorite Hollywood couples who found romance together on screen and in real life.

See the entire gallery

A History of Golden Globes Best TV Series Winners

Take a look back at the TV series that took home Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series in the categories of Drama and Comedy.

See the full gallery

More To Explore

Search on