Rio Bravo, originally released in 1959, was directed by Howard Hawks. Hawks went on to direct El Dorado and Rio Lobo, each of which shares similarities with this film. The film stars John Wayne (Sheriff John T. Chance), Dean Martin (Dude), Ricky Nelson (Colorado Ryan), Angie Dickinson (Feathers), Walter Brennan (Stumpy), Ward Bond (Pat), and John Russell (Nathan Burdette).
When Sheriff John T. Chance arrests Joe Burdette, he knows he's asking for trouble. Joe is the brother of Nathan, a wealthy ranch tycoon, who will stop at nothing to get him back. All Sheriff John T. Chance has to back him up is Stumpy, a cripple, and Dude, his old deputy who is coming off a two-year binge of alcohol. The problem is that they have to hold out for six days till the Marshall comes and takes Joe, but that won't be easy when Nathan sends all his men to get them.
As it is widely regarded as one of the best westerns of all time, I knew I was in for a treat when I sat down to view Rio Bravo. I've only seen a few of John Wayne's films, but his charisma is unmistakable. He is most definitely a Western Icon. The other actors in the film all contribute fine performances as well, and the film moves at a steady pace. The romantic subplot between Chance and Feathers was also interesting and helped to flesh out both sides of the Chance character.
Rio Bravo is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is absolutely magnificent considering the film is 42 years old. There is some shimmer in a few areas, but the transfer seems remarkably free from scratches or specks. Colors are well saturated, though they are more earthy than vibrant, which seems fitting for the genre. Flesh tones are accurate throughout and blacks are decent.
Rio Bravo is presented in its original Dolby Mono 1.0 in English. Dialogue throughout the film is crisp and clean with no distortion that I detected. The music serves as a great background to the film and sounds terrific. One small point worth mentioning is that the Spanish spoken by Carlos isn't translated into English unless you're using the English subtitles. Subtitles are also available in French, Spanish, or Portuguese.
Extras include the film's trailer and career highlights for Hawks, Wayne, Martin, and Nelson.
Anyone who is a fan of Westerns or John Wayne should most definitely see Rio Bravo – it's a terrific film! Warner has done a great job with the transfer, as its just incredible, given the film's age. Highly Recommended!