Rent The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)

3.5 of 5 from 65 ratings
2h 0min
Rent The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Vinegaroon law goes like this. Penalty for stealing whisky: hanging. Penalty for not cutting the judge in on a bank heist: hanging. Penalty for speaking ill of New York actress Lillie Langtry: shooting. Then hanging. Paul Newman joins director John Huston, screenwriter John Milius and a cast of superb sidewinders to turn the real-life Wild West into a tall tale of a Wilder West. Newman tackles with gusto the title role, a self-made man who proclaims himself the law west of the Pecos, writes admiring letters to Langtry (Ava Gardner) and rides into gun-blazing glory whooping "For Texas and Miss Langtry!"
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Barbara J. Longo, , , ,
John Foreman
John Milius
Alan Bergman, Maurice Jarre, Marilyn Bergman
Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Romance
All the Twos: 1972-2012, Cinema Paradiso's 2022 Centenary Club, Instant Expert's Guide to John Huston, A Brief History of Film..., The Instant Expert's Guide, Top 10 Films of 1972, Top Films
Release Date:
Not released
Run Time:
120 minutes
Release Date:
Run Time:
123 minutes
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • Trailer

More like The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

Found in these customers lists

Reviews (1) of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

Mr Bean the Early Year, Historical Interesting, Not so Slapstick Though.... - The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean review by Strovey

Spoiler Alert

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is an odd film made by prolific filmmaker John Huston, with star Paul Newman front and centre. Make no mistake this film revolves around Newman who seems to be having fun interpreting the eccentric real-life character Bean.

The film itself has an odd flow and feel to the story with characters breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the camera, Perkins early in the film as the Reverand LaSalle and then Tab Hunter as doomed criminal Sam Dodd, then it does not seem to happen again although we get various characters voice-overs. Odd and very inconsistent.

Then again the whole film is extremely inconsistent, originally it seems as though you are watching a rip-roaring, slightly dark, hangings and shootings, comedy-western, which transforms into a melancholy sad section and finally everything goes off the rails with the main character and star disappearing and coming back like some sort of cowboy terminator as everyone and everything gets shot, burned down, destroyed and ‘revenged’. There is not a narrative story it is just a lot of set pieces, it is odd and makes for an unsatisfying tale.

The cast is great and great fun. Subtlety is off the menu and everything is turned up to eleven. No one is restrained and Newman in particular is given free reign to put Bean on the screen as he wanted. Depending on your temperament this will be a plus or a minus. I found the film, for all of its strange presentation and story, such as it is, entertaining, and overall, it was just great fun.

Being of a certain age it was great to see Ned Beatty, Roddy McDowall, Jacqueline Bisset and Stacey Keach looking young and vibrant. Talking of which one of the favourite sections of the film for many was Stacey Keach as an albino bad-man Bad Bob, the ‘real’ Bad Bob. I found this section annoying, how it ended was fun and funny but the whole character and how it was presented seemed from a different more comedic and comic-book-style film. It jarred with everything that came before and after.

Interesting to see an exceptionally beautiful and young Victoria Principal, aged twenty-one and so good-looking it should be criminal, playing, yup you guessed it, a Mexican. Being so young and at the start of a long career she more than holds her own against an experienced cast.

Judge Roy Bean was a real-life person who lived around the area shown in the film but if you are looking for historical facts you are going to be massively disappointed but perhaps it could be said that straying so far from the real story means Huston is saying do not look for the facts and enjoy yourself.

Bean was probably a lot more of a rapscallion and seemed from history to be mainly out for himself in the early years but did give some of his fortune back to the community in later life. In the film, he hangs and shoots a lot of people, not true, and he lives way into the time of World War One and beyond which is at least eleven years longer than he did, he had more than one child and he never rode off into the desert to return decades later.

Oddly, the final act is so poor it nearly drags the entire film down. Including some stunt work with characters being shot and blown up, looking very much like ‘stunt work’.

The ending, with Ava Gardner dropping in as Lilly Langtry, (presumably to earn some dollars which she admitted in her later years), is poignant and sad, but utter nonsense. A fitting finale for the entire film, that whilst entertaining with some top actors in cameo roles and Paul Newman at his charismatic best, is nonsensical and cartoonlike in places.

The cinematography is impressive, along with the overall look and feel of the ‘old West’. Outlaws are morally and matter-of-factly ambiguous, they look scruffy and desert-weary, the saloon bar ladies are not virtuous beauties but a bit rough and ready, and the town looks dusty and down at heels.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Unlimited films sent to your door, starting at £15.99 a month.