A remarkable film which sets out as a revenge Western: Eastwood sees his family massacred and joins the Confederate guerillas; after the Civil War, he is hunted by Union soldiers while he pursues his family's slayer and a friend apparently turned traitor. But slowly the film changes direction, until through a series of comic interludes it becomes the story of a man who (re)discovers his role as family man, as he befriends Indians and various strays and leads them to a paradise of sorts where they can forget their individual pasts. If that seems like a rewrite of Hawks' Red River, visually The Outlaw Josey Wales is closest to Anthony Mann in its breathtaking survey of American landscapes (and seasons). Most importantly, after a period of directorial uncertainty, the film demonstrated Eastwood's ability to recreate his first starring role, as the mythic Man with No Name of the Italian Westerns, and to subtly undercut it through comedy and mockery.
Cast and crew
Philip Kaufman, Sonia Chernus
Bill McKinney Royal Dano Geraldine Keams Will Sampson Sheb Wooley Joyce Jameson Matt Clark Sam Bottoms John Vernon Sondra Locke Chief Dan George Woodrow Parfrey Clint Eastwood Paula Trueman