El Dorado

7.62 h 6 min1967X-RayPG
A gunfighter for hire assembles a team of outlaws in order to help a rancher and his family fight off attempts of a neighbor who is trying to steal their water source.
Howard Hawks
John WayneRobert MitchumJames Caan
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Arthur HunnicuttEdward AsnerMichele CareyChristopher GeorgeCharlene HoltPaul FixR.G. ArmstrongJohnny CrawfordRobert DonnerR. G. Armstrong
Howard HawksPaul Helmick
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.8 out of 5 stars

5353 global ratings

  1. 89% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 2% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 0% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

H. BalaReviewed in the United States on April 10, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
"I'm looking at a tin star with a drunk pinned on it."
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El Dorado, released States-side in 1967, is very loosely based on a novel titled The Stars in Their Courses by some literary cat named Harry Brown. I opened with that to get it out of the way. What happened was that the fantastic screenwriter (and creator of Eric John Stark, interplanetary swashbuckler!) Leigh Brackett, when she adapted book to celluloid, excised most of what Brown had wrought and so created a more rollicking narrative. Yep, El Dorado is director Howard Hawks' first remake of his earlier banging western Rio Bravo (1959), a movie so awesome and so influential it inspired a second remake by Hawks in Rio Lobo (1970), as well as countless other movies not by Hawks, most notably, Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).

I count El Dorado a bonafide classic, but maybe not quite the classic that Rio Bravo is. It's absent of that original freshness. This cast is essentially a reprise of the cast in Rio Bravo. Still, Robert Mitchum brings his own droll swerve to Dean Martin's discarded drunk. James Caan's "Mississippi" exudes more personality than Ricky Nelson's "Colorado," only, Caan slyly slings poetry instead of winsomely warbling a tune. An alluring dame in the saloon hospitality business pines once more for our star, and Charlene Holt's Maudie is perfectly fine even if she's not as memorable as Angie Dickinson's Feathers. Yo, there's bugle-tootin' Arthur Hunnicutt mustering up his best ornery Walter Brennan impersonation. And, above all, there's John Wayne playing John Wayne, oh, a tad longer in the tooth but still tall in the saddle and very much capable of coming to the aid of a beleaguered old friend. Wayne's role of aging gun-for-hire, Cole Thornton, is made even more interesting by a bullet lodged next to his spine, a messed-up state that causes hurtful spasms and temporary paralysis in the most inopportune moments.

The plot, in short, concerns a range feud over water rights. The action beats pit a covetous land owner and his nasty hired guns against "two cripples, a green kid, and a noisy old Indian-fighter." The shoot-'em-up sequences are dope, mind you. Duke, Mitchum, and Caan are asskickers of the first order. But I was equally invested in Cole Thornton's relationships with the peeps around him. Duke is in his wheelhouse when he's reacting to other actors and when he's playing the cranky and baffled straight man. Mitchum, Caan, and Hunnicutt provide generous doses of levity, with Caan very startled to learn that his was a comic role. He afterwards called out Hawks on it: "Why didn't you tell me I was playing a comic part?" Hawks's reponse: "You'd have spoiled it. You'd have tried to be funny." Caan is a hoot. Mississippi sure 'nuff has got sand. He can handle himself in a scrap. But it's amusing that he's such a bad shot he has to resort to blasting with a sawed-off shotgun. And, 1ord, how he kept quoting from Poe's poem, "Eldorado," but kept on misquoting the verse "Ride, boldly ride" as "Ride, Bodie, ride." The funniest sequence has to be when the boys were trying to sober up Sheriff J.P. Harrah (Mitchum), him what's been prodigiously three sheets to the wind these two months running. By the by, I dare you to try Mississippi's infamous concoction to cure a tipsy state - ingredients include cayenne pepper, hot mustard, gunpowder, croton oil (which induces diarrhea), and asafoetida. I don't know if that spicy junk'll counter inebriation but I'd for sure like it to douse my daily breakfast burrito with.

But what an entertaining film - a colorful, raucous, action-packed, old-timey watch. Some say El Dorado lacks the focus of Rio Bravo, that it rambles around. But, to me, the plot's meanderings meant more opportunity to explore the characters, to allow us more time to know them during the minutiae of their everyday livin'. Wayne is such a big presence, he towers above all, although Mitchum isn't too far behind. It's these two impeccable screen veterans that make the thing work so beautifully. They lend gravitas to whatever's happening onscreen and a convincing sense of history between their characters, it's that kind of synergy between them. And when the time came to quit speechifyin' and commence to slapping leather, well, they're convincing there, too. And I loved the topsy-turvy manner in which Wayne's damaged (but pragmatic) gunfighter bested his big bad. When I first saw that ending, it floored me because I didn't expect Wayne to stoop to... well, go see the movie. Not quite as good as Rio Bravo, but it kicks other westerns to the curb.

Trivia time: Did you know that the paintings in the credits were painted by Olaf Wieghorst, who plays Swede Larsen - he supplied Mississippi with his mini-cannon - in the movie?
49 people found this helpful
Sam ShraderReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
The whole package in Bluray
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Awesome treatment of an awesome classic Hawks film in bluray. I had this film years ago in dvd but moved up to bluray . Excellent commentary by Peter Bogdanovich and other historical commentary made me appreciate the film and Hawks filmmaking techniques ( which are thoroughly documented). For instance I now realize that I have loved Mitchum's work in this film: one commentator remarked that Mitchum's timing, rhythm and cadence was a perfect match for Hawk's slower, more deliberate style. Also Hawks let Mitchum work at his own pace and appreciated his fine work as an actor. That's just one example. In my opinion this is the only film in Wayne's career that the co-star equalled him in on screen presence -- Lee Marvin in Liberty Valence not quite doing it for me. In bluray the painstaking lighting and cinematography is just splendid, soundtrack is great though monophonic,the action intense and meaningful, and the comedy deep, plentiful and based on astute observations. Arthur Hunnicuts possibly best performance as Bull the bugle blowing Indian Fighter is a treat at every viewing.
17 people found this helpful
KeomaReviewed in the United States on February 9, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
El Dorado is a goldmine as a western classic!
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Movie critic Roger Ebert had nothing but good things to say about this movie. "El Dorado" is a tightly directed, humorous, altogether successful Western, turned out almost effortlessly, it would seem, by three old pros: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, ​and director Howard Hawks." And I have to agree as this timeless western classic never seems to grow old and just like an old friend one never grows tired of visiting. The blu-ray transfer is beautiful and a large part of it is lovingly filmed at night by cinemaphotographer Harold Rosson who would take as long as an hour and a half to set up the lighting in the night scenes because he wanted those scenes to emulate the paintings of classic western artists. Incidentally, the gentleman who played the gunsmith Swede Larson ( Olaf Wieghorst) was his first attempt at acting. His profession was a western painter and he did the paintings for the background of the opening credits of this film. The score for the film was by Nelson Riddle who is famous for his jazzy themes ( the theme music to the original "Emergency" TV show to name just one) and it shows in a couple of the scenes such as when they are hunting down the three baddies who are holed up in a church. There are three documentaries that accompany the disc. One on director Howard Hawks; Ride Boldly Ride: The Journey To Eldorado. Another on the artist Olaf Wieghorst; The Artist and the American West. And a third Behind the Gates: A.C. Lyles Remembers John Wayne. There are two commentaries. One by Director Peter Bogdanovich, and the other commentary by film Historian and Critic Richard Schickel, Actor Ed Asner and Author Todd McCarthy. Although I did give this movie a much deserved 5-star rating the disc has a problem like I've never run into before. Neither the theatrical preview nor the third documentary (Behind the Gates) are watchable as the picture freezes up on black then white noise picture then a frozen scene and keeps going like that. Weird!
One behind the scenes tidbit that Peter Bogdanovich told on John Wayne was that he always stuck around between shoots. He was always doing something, as Mr. Bogdanovich described Duke Wayne as very fidgety between shots unlike the other actors like Robert Mitchum who always went to his trailer between shots. Duke Wayne and James Caan would often play chess as well between scenes just like he did with Dean Martin on the set of Rio Bravo.
In spite of the discs shortcomings the movie does play just fine and the 1080p sparkles and it is nearly like watching the movie for the first time all over again what with eye-popping details in costume embroidery and set decoration that is all the more evident since this is a full-screen 16 x 9 transfer in gorgeous Technicolor.
17 people found this helpful
WeThotUWuzAToadReviewed in the United States on March 21, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
My favorite John Wayne movie
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El Dorado is my favorite John Wayne movie — and my favorite Western for that matter. People usually rank Rio Bravo higher but I disagree. The Duke is always solid and although they can't sing, Robert Mitchum & James Caan are both better actors than Dean Martin & Ricky Nelson. And even though Walter Brennan was a great actor, Arthur Honeycutt is more believable, not so over-the-top, and just as funny. Also Charlene Holt is a hands-down better actress than Angie Dickinson and imho much more attractive. Plus, Michele Carey is solid and adds even more to the scenery.

Regarding the script, I think El Dorado takes the prize across the board. It's tight and always moving the story forward. Plus, it's chock-full of wit and laugh-out-loud humor.

Finally, I think El Dorado contains the greatest John Wayne line in history:

"I'm looking at a tin star with a drunk pinned on it."

The way he's standing, the look on his face, and everything about his voice and delivery is 100% pure John Wayne.
2 people found this helpful
Retired Soldier/Sailor.Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Get 'em all: RIO BRAVO; EL DORADO; and RIO LOBO. All widescreen, but the last two are 5.1 Surround Sound to boot!
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In this one, John Wayne is a hired gun, deputized at the last act of the film.
There's a "cavalry-trilogy", and a "sheriff-trilogy". Rio Bravo('59); El Dorado('66); and Rio Lobo('70) are Howard Hawk's latter.
John Wayne's character is---pretty much---the same, as are the drunk [sheriff this time] and singing sidekick nicknamed after a state.
In both movies, "The Duke" helps an old, drunken deputy/sheriff friend, and an older comic-relief, deputy, sidekick, keep a bad guy in jail.
Drunken sheriff: Robert Mitchum (El Dorado) has a slight edge over Dean Martin's (Rio Bravo).
Sidekick: James Caan's "Mississippi" (in El Dorado) is more likable than the Ricky Nelson (Rio Bravo) "Colorado".
Crusty OLD deputy: Walter Brennan (Rio Bravo) towers over---though good---Arthur Hunnicutt (El Dorado).
Ladyfriend: Angie Dickinson (Rio Bravo) wins over whatever the other actress's name was in the other flick.
Prisoner: Ed Asner over Claude Aikens... but just because Ed plays it like "Mister Grant" on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.
Get 'em all: RIO BRAVO; EL DORADO; and RIO LOBO. All widescreen, but the last two are 5.1 Surround Sound to boot!
4 people found this helpful
Robert A. Cook, Jr.Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
best westerns, with a great supporting cast
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A classic, watchable late-'60's Duke Wayne western, directed by Howard Hawks and made enjoyable by a familiar theme (it's essentially a remake of Hawk's 1959 "Rio Bravo") and cast -- Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Arthur Hunnicutt, Christopher George, and Edward Asner.

Instead of the town sheriff he played in "Rio Bravo," this time The Duke is a roving, aging gunfighter at first contracted (until he learns his true intentions and backs out) by an evil businessman (Asner) to help him clear out a family of ranchers who are blocking his land-grabbing aspirations. Mitchum plays the town sheriff, a formidable old friend of The Duke's who has taken to drink and gone to seed (like Dean Martin's character in "Rio Bravo") over a woman, James Caan plays a young man The Duke meets on the trail, coaches in the ways of survival in the West, and follows him back to Mitchum's town to help out, Hunnicutt fills in the Walter Brennan part from "Rio Bravo" as Mitchum's jailhouse deputy, and George is a sinister but affable professional gunfighter Asner hires to take The Duke's place.

A very enjoyable and utterly predictable John Wayne film, one of his last, best westerns, with a great supporting cast. Maybe not as iconic in the Wayne canon of westerns as "Rio Bravo," but fun nonetheless.
4 people found this helpful
DesertguyReviewed in the United States on April 19, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
The "Duke" at his Best
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This is one of the "Dukes" best westerns. Made in 1966 and directed by Howard Hawks, it is a near carbon copy of Rio Bravo made in 1959 and also directed by Howard Hawks. Watch these two movies and you'll see just how close the town, the plot, the characters and the Duke's characters follow one another. They are both great movies and I can watch them over and over. The cinematography, sets, costumes, scripts and characters are so similar, but wait, same actor, director and location, Old Tucson. I''m sure there are other similarities, but if you're a fan of the Duke and want to see more after you've seen one of these, see the other. Blu-ray really brings them to life. I've preordered Rio Bravo in Blu-ray on Amazon. It's supposed to be out in June 2015.
6 people found this helpful
W. W. SpurgeonReviewed in the United States on November 15, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fun film built for repeat viewings
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A terrifically fun film featuring the looser, more enjoyable Wayne of the 2nd half of his career -- though enormously similar to the wonderful "Rio Bravo," it has its own set of charms, not the least of which are Robert Mitchum as the drunk Sheriff; a young James Caan as a knife-throwing, shotgun-blasting ally; Charlene Holt and Michelle Carey as atypically strong women for the genre; veteran character actor Arthur Hunnicutt as a lean old coot loaded with funny retorts as well as a bow and arrow; and Ed Asner taking a turn as the town land baron and bully. Like "Rio Bravo," it's the kind of Western you can watch over and over again and always come away smiling.
5 people found this helpful
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