Unforgiven (1992)

unforgiven poster 1992 movie best picture academy award
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast, story, and evolution of the Western

Not for everyone and better for an older audience

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Unforgiven

Studio:  Malpaso Productions

Genre(s):  Western

Release Date(s):  August 7, 1992

MPAA Rating:  R


I’m just a pig farmer here…

When cowboys violent attack a prostitute and cut her face, the prostitutes decide to gather a bounty for revenge pitting them against the town’s controlling sheriff “Little” Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman).  A young man calling himself the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) contacts a retired outlaw named Will Munny (Clint Eastwood) to get the reward.  Joined by Munny’s old friend Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman), Munny and the Schofield Kid find that Bill’s iron fist over the town of Big Whiskey, Wyoming could be more dangerous than the cowboys they are hunting.


Someone will pay!

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven was a critically acclaimed film that with Dances with Wolves helped restore some of the glory to the Western.  The movie was lauded by critics and fared well at the box office.  It was the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hackman), and Best Film Editing and received nominations for Best Actor (Eastwood), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Art Direction.  The movie was accepted for preservation by the National Film Registry.


I’m going to protect my town!

When I saw Unforgiven, it wasn’t my type of movie.  I wasn’t a Western watcher at the time and couldn’t fully appreciate it.  Watching Unforgiven now, it is a great piece of cinema.

The story for the movie is very strong.  It is a throwback to Spaghetti Westerns in theme in that it is a lot dirtier than a John Wayne Western which were always clean and good in the end…the hero does the right thing.  With Eastwood’s character, it almost could be a continuation of any of his Western characters like the Man with No Name…after he rode off into the sunset.


So…let’s get wild in the West again!

The movie is joined by very strong acting.  It is unfortunate for Eastwood that Al Pacino gave a defining performance in Scent of a Woman because he probably could have won for this role which pulls on all his acting experience.  Freeman already appears in this movie as the “wise old friend” role which he also has perfected over the years.  Hackman and his character are interesting in that a lawman becomes a villain in trying to keep his city so straight…it becomes a blurred line.  Other players worth noting is a fun and small role by Richard Harris as English Bob who plays another veteran bounty hunter who gets the wrath of Little Bill’s control.


Say hello to my little friend!!! (Western-Style)

Visually, the movie is stunning.  Westerns had gone out of popularity and come back with Dances with Wolves.  Think what you want about Westerns, but they are one of the most sweeping and epic pictures.  The movie really utilizes the emptiness and loneliness of the West.  Rain scenes also look fantastic and part of the reason is that the Western had been dead so long, that it was nice to see the vision again.

Unforgiven is a great movie that is probably more appreciated by an older crowd not just because of the Western theme but the themes of the movie itself.  It is a movie about growing older, changing perspectives, and the ability to change.  I would watch Eastwood’s older Westerns before checking out Unforgiven just to give the story more weight.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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