Rent Lawman (1971)

3.5 of 5 from 57 ratings
1h 35min
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Burt Lancaster is an uncompromising lawman who defies the odds when he single-handedly confronts a gang of killers in this extraordinarily perceptive and action-packed tale of life and justice on the American frontier. When Sabbath town-boss Vincent Bronson (Lee J. Cobb) and his drunken ranch hands unwittingly kill and old man in Bannack, everyone knows it was an accident. Everyone, that is, except Bannack's marshal, Jered Maddox (Burt Lancaster). A tough, no nonsense man of the law, Maddox is determined to bring the killers to justice. Trailing them back to Sabbath, Maddox makes his intentions clear: "I'm going to take these men back with me", he vows "or kill them where they stand".
So when Bronson sends word that he wants to make a deal, the inflexible Maddox refuses, a decision that forces Bronson's men to let their guns do the talking But Jered Maddox is not a man to back down...he'll bring these desperate killers back to Bannack, his way. Dead or alive.
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Michael Winner
Gerald Wilson
MGM Home Entertainment
Action & Adventure, Classics
Release Date:
Run Time:
95 minutes
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, Greek, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1

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Reviews (2) of Lawman

Middle Ranking Western. - Lawman review by Steve Mason

Spoiler Alert

Lancaster, Ryan and Cobb says you gotta watch this one. Michael Winner suggests otherwise. Very dense with dialogue, though the dialogue is decent, but not a lot of action. Very fine period costumes and sets. Worth seeing for the stars and a good support cast.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Another loser from Winner - Lawman review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert

When I saw the name "Michael Winner" I thought this might be bad, but it's got a pretty impressive cast, and plot sounded promising. Unfortunately it's downright dreary. Burt Lancaster, the titular lawman, is supposed to be Judge Dredd in a stetson, and a director like Sergio Corbucci (or absolutely any other Italian making westerns in 1971) could have turned this concept into a relentlessly gripping tale of excessive revenge, culminating in a spectacular gunfight between absolutely everybody who wasn't dead yet, probably involving dynamite, while managing to make precisely the same point - taking justice too far is sometimes worse than doing nothing at all, even if you're technically right. Michael Winner, not so much. If this is "action-packed" then so is "On Golden Pond"! "Angst-packed" more like. The very occasional gunplay is listless, the overall pace is leaden, and the inevitable final showdown is both nihilistic and dull.

Everybody looks miserable nearly all the time, except Robert Duvall, who looks roguishly cheerful because he usually does, unless told not to by a director who isn't asleep. Burt Lancaster, who always benefited from good direction, simply looks constipated. Character motivation is often opaque. The lawman seems to have no reason to mercilessly hunt down a group of men, all but one of whom are innocent, when everybody else is willing to compromise, beyond the fact that he's a stubborn badass. This is discussed endlessly by everybody, but all they succeed in doing is making each other even more angst-ridden. It's got a cast who pull it up to two stars, but some of them are wasted. Robert Ryan appears to have been told to play exactly the same character he did in "The Wild Bunch" in order to persuade the viewers they're watching something similar. Unsurprisingly, he does not succeed in doing this. Don't bother.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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