Paint Your Wagon (1969)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Musical

Paint Your Wagon (1969) Poster

Two unlikely prospector partners share the same wife in a California gold rush mining town.




  • Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon (1969)
  • Lee Marvin and Jean Seberg in Paint Your Wagon (1969)
  • Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon (1969)
  • "Paint Your Wagon" Clint Eastwood on the set, 1969 Paramount
  • "Paint Your Wagon" Clint Eastwood 1969 Paramount
  • "Paint Your Wagon" Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood, 1969 Paramount

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

28 July 2004 | orthogonal6
It still grabs ya
Is the movie great? No, but it is a good one. If it were great, it would not suffer from it's long running time. A wider audience would no doubt warm to a shorter version. More is the pity, too, because the movie has much to offer. The scenery is beautiful; the sets reconstructions are first rate. Listen to the lyrics of some of the songs ('Gold Fever' and 'The First Thing You Know' are two good examples) and you can appreciate the wordsmithing skill of Alan Jay Lerner. If you like a large all-male chorus, the film offers some of the best singing of that kind you are likely to hear. Listen especially during 'There's a Coach Coming In'.

I must confess a guilty admiration for characters who are unapologetically amoral and corrupt, at least as defined by 'respectable society'. I wouldn't necessarily want one for a neighbor or even a friend (well .. maybe), but they are fascinating on film or stage. If the film is a comedy, they can be hilarious and often steal the show. All you need is the right actor to fill the role. Paint Your Wagon offers one of the most uproariously amoral characters on film, brought to amazing life by Lee Marvin. He delivers Ben Rumson's imminently quotable home-spun philosophy of life with great relish and comedic timing. Can he sing? No. But then would a somewhat dissipated Gold Rush miner likely be a good singer? His non-singing actually fits.

The rest of the cast is good but not exceptional. Ray Walston is memorable as Mad Jack. I still find it hard to spot the actor I am used to behind the beard and accent. He also has some great lines. Harve Presnell is the only truly major-league singer in the cast and delivers the most memorable song. The remaining actors are adequate. Eastwood is good but replaceable. Jean Seaberg is not Meryl Streep but is certainly easy on the eyes. The townsfolk are solid.

An enjoyable movie, with Lee Marvin's performance worth the price of admission. It is too bad it requires such a long time commitment to experience it all.

Metacritic Reviews

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


The shoot attracted local vagrants and hippies, who stole food and supplies from the set. Logan cast them as extras, though they refused his instructions to cut their hair or wear period clothing. Eventually the extras organized a makeshift union, demanding twenty-five dollar a day payments and commissary bags full of food for fellow hippies. Director Joshua Logan, aggravated by an overlong shoot and lacking replacements, gave in to their demands.


Ben Rumson: You say something nice to her for me, Par... What the hell is your name anyway?
Partner: It's Sylvester Newel. Yeah, just one 'l'.
Ben Rumson: Sylvester Newel. Well, that's a good name for a farmer.


When the town is falling apart, you can see the strap holding Horton and the prostitute he's with to the bed as they fall to the ground.

Crazy Credits

After the end credits and the Paramount logo, the screen goes black and a closing medley of the songs is heard for several minutes.

Alternate Versions

On its release to what were then called "neighborhood theatres" (i.e. theatres which showed films that had ended their first runs downtown), the film's running time was shortened by having three songs eliminated, "I Still See Elisa", "The First Thing You Know", and "Gold Fever". This left both Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood with only one solo song each. The film was restored to its original length for its first television showing, and has remained that way ever since.


The First Thing You Know
Lyrics by
Alan Jay Lerner
Music by André Previn
Sung by Lee Marvin


Plot Summary


Comedy | Drama | Musical | Romance | Western

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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