The Legend of the Lone Ranger

 (569)5.11 h 37 min1981PG
The sole surviving Texas Ranger of an ambush arranged by Butch Cavandish returns to fight back as a masked hero.
William A. Fraker
Klinton SpilsburyMichael HorsesChristopher Lloyd
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Matt ClarkJuanin Clay
Shout! Factory
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

569 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

vergerReviewed in the United States on March 4, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Respectful rendering of the old serial
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Apart from some language, the movie treats the character of the Lone Ranger and his concern for justice as honorable. Having grown up watching the serial, and many others, depict the quest for a lawfully grounded justice as a worthy goal. As well the serials tried to instill a respect for others. I realize the society has moved appreciably away from the many values that made America great to the point that such depictions as this movie are embarrassingly passe and worth only of a laughing dismissal. One could only hope that similar treatment of our traditional values be one day again be reflected in movies.
15 people found this helpful
StargazerReviewed in the United States on April 18, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Return to those days of yesteryear
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The Legend of the Lone Ranger was a flop at the box office and it had nothing to do with the entertainment and quality value of the movie itself. For some reason the owner of the Lone Ranger (Jack Wrather) was concerned that the original actor, the aging Clayton Moore, who was making appearences at the time, would confuse audiences as the Lone Ranger, who was now being depicted by a much younger actor. The core audiences stayed away from this movie in droves. I as a 13 year old did not. Had those fans attended, they would have seen an enjoyable, beautifully shot Lone Ranger action film. The locals and color were fantastic and the story stood true to the original (unlike the Johnny Depp movie, which was also trashed underservedly).
There were enough supporting actors to back up Klinton Spillsbury and keep the movie galloping along. I thought Tonto was fantastic and enjoyed Christopher Lloyd (yes. great Scott! THAT Christopher Lloyd) as Butch Cavendish, a disgraced Union army officer. There was no great novelty to the movie, but I as a kid as well as an adult, enjoyed it immensely. C'mon guys, give the movie a chance!
6 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on March 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Likely the best lone ranger film to date.
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While this film didn't do well at the box office back in 1981. This is the only film that stayed trued to it is roots, or at least tried. Its a fun film and especially 100% better then that so called Johnny Depp Film of 2013. Not sure what the writers of that film were even thinking. The lone ranger was never meant to be a comedy. When I was younger I did watch the Lone Ranger series when it was on even that was better then the Depp film. If there is another reboot hopefully a new film will be better.
6 people found this helpful
Patrick L.Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
it was actually better than I remembered
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Haven't watched this movie since it was first in the theaters . Seeing it again,it was actually better than I remembered. Sadly,over the years,its been put down as being dreck .Mostly because of the limited acting range of its star, Klinton Spilsbury. ( Hey, its the only acting job he was ever hired for .) He was supported however,by an excellent cast in Jason Robarts,Christopher Lloyd and Michael Horse. John Hart,who played the Lone Ranger for one of the 50s televsion series,has a role here as the publisher of the local newspaper. Excepting the scene where Tonto tells the Lone Ranger that silver bullets would make him shoot straight (better ), the script is actually pretty good.Much better that the Armie Hammer movie that came decades later. Yes, this Lone Ranger was worth the purchase price and was watchable.
13 people found this helpful
rdaaamgReviewed in the United States on October 24, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Lone Ranger 1981 movie
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This is the movie about how the Lone Ranger came to be and how he worked alongside Tonto to bring justice to the West. He was an attorney before there was an ambush by an evil man named Cavendish who set a trap for all the Texas Rangers and killed all but one who uses a mask to keep his identity secret so that he can hunt down and bring them to justice. He even fights Cavendish and has to choose to shoot or not. This is a great movie to watch.
7 people found this helpful
jude pepperReviewed in the United States on July 31, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Who Was That Masked Man? and why didn't they care at the time...?
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for starters, any way ya slice it, "legend" is an overstatement. the film is actually pretty understated and low-key. there's nothing wrong with that, but it no doubt surprised some at the time, not least of which because the film was probably made in response to the epic Superman films. by modern standards the plot is pretty straightforward and un-gimmicky.
(interestingly, the recent Lone Ranger film, starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, is being largely criticized for going to the other extreme of being too epic, of too much happening.)
and of course there's the fact that film bombed, to say the least. it got a few "razzies." although to be fair, one of those, declaring the theme song "The Man In The Mask" worst original song, was all too deserved.
but for all that, the film is a more pleasant experience than it's reputation would lead you to believe. it's "star," Klinton Spilsbury, may not quite measure up to Clayton Moore or Brace Beemer (from the original radio series), but he's still just engaging enough to get the job done. the major stigma, the inherent black-eye on the film, seems to be Spilsbury, based mostly on the fact that he never appeared in another film. that's actually kind of shame, because Spilsbury did have some degree of talent. it's not that he hurt the film any, it's that he lost the Hollywood lottery.
he's aided by a pretty good cast. his Tonto is played by one Michael Horse, who works pretty well once you get passed the lack Jay Silverheels-esque spoonerism. Jason Robards, in what effectively adds up to a "special guest star" role, is a creditable if unremarkable Ulysses S. Grant.
one John Hart briefly appears as a newspaper editor. Hart's claim to lasting fame - as dubious as Spilsbury's - is having played the backup Lone Ranger on the tv series for a year whilst Clayton Moore was having a salary dispute. although i daresay some will cease to find that particularly cool when they inevitably start to wonder why Clayton Moore couldn't put in a similar appearance. well as it happens, one Jack Wrather, who owned the property at the time, and Moore were having some legal issues, and Moore was forbidden to have anything to do with The Lone Ranger until they were straightened out.
indeed, it's box-office failure was pretty much a by-product of bad publicity. the pubic interpreted the contretemps as a feud, and a genral public who'd grown up with Clayton Moore naturally sided with him.
(some might ask the same question about Jay Silverheels. given that he'd just died, i'd say it was health issues in his case.)
the oddest bit of casting is Christopher Lloyd as the Ranger's nemesis, Major "Butch" Cavendish. not only is this a rather radical reimagining, converting the character from rambunctious "owlhoot" outlaw to discreditted Army officer, but Lloyd is cast against type, to put it mildly. the man best known as "Reverend" Jim Ignatowski and "Doc" Emmett Brown will no doubt shock some in the role of such an understated, almost Machiavellian antagonist. but don't let anyone tell you he's not up to the task. i've heard that every actor has abilities and characterizations they probably won't have an opportunity to display, particularly those who manage to get typecast. Lloyd's performance here demonstrates the all too literal truth of that assessment.
by an interesting twist of Fate, the film is a bit of a milestone. as originally conceived on radio, The Lone Ranger was every bit the "man of mystery" and as such given no secret identity whatsoever. it was gradually, over a handful of years, that they developed the backstory of the sole survivor of an ambushed posse of Texas Rangers, and how their leader just happened to be his elder brother, with a son named Dan Reid out there somewhere. this turn of events couldn't help but force the surname Reid onto our hero, but primary writer Fran Striker insisted, so as to retain at least some degree of that original mystery, that he never be given a first name. so it was from this movie that he finally received a "given" Christian name, although it's rather a drag that they'd hand him a bland, prosaic name like John. oh, well.
to summarize, it's another case of the major recurring theme in my reviews, the critically panned commercial failure of a film that turns out not to suck after all. i'm beginning to think i'll never run out of 'em...
25 people found this helpful
Jennings Campbell JrReviewed in the United States on March 15, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Why The legend of the lone ranger gets a one
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I give this movie a one for the simple reason that at the time they used their powers and money to try to destroy Clayton Moore the original lone ranger and prevent him from making a living doing his famous fast draw and gun tricks while dressed as the lone ranger. They even got the judge to order him not to wear a mask in public again. He of course wore sunglasses and continued his act and basically became a martyr in his own way. I believe this and this alone was why this was a flop at the box office. Sorry, others may have forgotten your greed and selfishness but I have not.
2 people found this helpful
TommyReviewed in the United States on July 16, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Better than you remember......
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I've read so many reviews saying that Legend Of The Lone Ranger is horrible that I was actually starting to believe it. I hadn't seen it since the 1980's when HBO would show it all the time so I decided to watch it again. Much to my suprise it's still just as cool, respectful and loyal to the Lone Ranger as I remembered it being.

I just saw the 2013 Disney version, the original 1949 Enter The Lone Ranger and The Legend Of The Lone Ranger all in the same week. This movie is very cool, and in many ways it's my favorite of the three versions. It has a tight 1:40 minute runtime with the first hour entirely devoted to John Reid growing up and eventually losing his brother, while the final 40 minutes give you 100% pure Lone Ranger and Tonto in action. Beatifully shot by Lazlo Kovacks (Easy Rider) with all the epic scope and sunsets you would expect from a western. Many of the scenes in this film were VERY similiar to the new Disney version (did Gore Verbinski or the writers watch Legend Of The Lone Ranger recently?).

It seems most of the venom towards this film comes from "Baby Boomers" who never got over Clayton Moore being sued in 1981 by the Legend Of The Lone Ranger's production company. Move on. This is a much tighter and less campy movie than the 1949 or 2013 version and gives you the version of the Ranger that every kid wants to be. He's an amazing shot (he uses his guns a lot), looks great in the costume and brings swift justice to Cavendish and his gang. Tonto is awesome in this as well and he definately looks the part. When the William Tell Overture kicks in for the first time (about 60 minutes in) and the Ranger and Tonto go riding off to find Cavendish, I feel like I'm 12 years old again. Those kinds of scenes are pure cinema and the reason we go to the movies in the first place (the Tonto rescue is also a fantastic moment).

This fullscreen version is "ok" but so much of the amazing cinematography is cropped during the pan & scan process. The resolution on this dvd is MUCH better than vhs quality (as some claim) but it certainly doesn't do this film justice. The Dolby mono sound is tolerable at best when cranked up. A remastered 1080p widescreen blu ray would be an instant purchase for me if they ever release one.
12 people found this helpful
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