The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

outlaw josey wales poster 1976 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great Western, feels modern

Kind of predictable at points

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Outlaw Josey Wales

Studio:  The Malpaso Company

Genre(s):  Western/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 30, 1976

MPAA Rating:  PG


I’m gunning for you!

Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) has his family slaughtered by the Redlegs and joins the Confederate Army to avenge them.  When the war ends, Josey refuses to surrender and is framed for the murder of his comrades.  Pursued by his former captain William T. Fletcher (John Vernon), Josey hits the trail on the run.  Along the way he picks up followers like Lone Watie (Chief Dan George) and Little Moonlight (Geraldine Keams).  When he saves Rose (Joyce Jameson) and her granddaughter Laura Lee (Sondra Locke) from Commanche raiders, Josey considers a regular life, but Josey Wales can’t escape his past.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Josey Wales was hailed by critics and was cited as being one of the last few big Westerns as the genre’s popularity died off in the ’70s.  It was based on the 1973 novel by Forrest Carter called The Rebel Outlaw:  Josey Wales but the title was changed to Gone to Texas before the film’s release.  Though big at its time of release, the film has gained a cult following and has been preserved by National Film Registry.


Josey Wales? Ah Hell, I thought I was talking to Little Big Man!

The movie, despite being a Western, has a modern feel.  The action is bloody and unsympathetic.  Josey’s a real antihero and it is always strange when the sides are flipped, and the South are the good guys.  It is also interesting to look at this film in comparison with Eastwood’s last Western Unforgiven.  It almost feels like it could be a sequel to The Outlaw Josey Wales with similar matching shots (like practicing his shot near the beginning of both films).

Like Eastwood’s other films, Eastwood plays Wales so cool.  It almost feels like Josey’s never in any danger and that there is no threat that Josey will ever die.  That doesn’t always make for the best picture but the constant warring against Josey leads to an ending you might not expect (but it also isn’t really a shocker).


That’s right Chief…put it in the basket!

The supporting cast of The Outlaw Josey Wales is played in a much more humorous vein.  Josey starts out with almost a cliché “young” fighter played by Sam Bottoms who always says “we showed them Josey!”  Josey is then met by Chief Dan George who continues his style of acting which got him nominated for an Oscar for Little Big Man.  Josey’s other followers are also entertaining and well played which helps a somewhat average plot excel.

The Outlaw Josey Wales is a Western classic and doesn’t feel like it was made over thirty years ago.  Eastwood’s style of shooting doesn’t date it and the picture still looks and sounds great.  The blood might not be as gory as The Wild Bunch but Josey still takes out his enemies and leaves a stack of bodies of those trying to stop him.

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.

One Comment on "The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)"

  1. Marcos May 10, 2018 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Eastwood is The Man

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