Westworld (1973)

westworld poster 1973 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Yul Brynner's Gunslinger

Basic plot logic, some dated looks

Movie Info

Movie Name: Westworld

Studio: MGM

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Western/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): November 21, 1973

MPAA Rating: PG

westworld movie gunslinger smiles yul brynner eyes


The Delos has built the ultimate amusement park.  For a thousand dollars a day, guests can live their fantasies of being knights in a medieval world, living the decadent life of excess of the Greeks, or enter the Wild West.  Something is happening in the park.  Glitches are starting to occur around in the robots inhabiting the park.  From the animals the animatronic characters, the park is breaking down, and Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) and John Blane (James Brolin) are about to find Western World is a dangerous place when they are targeted by the rogue Gunslinger (Yul Brynner).

Written and directed by Michael Crichton, Westworld is a science-fiction action thriller.  The movie was released to positive reviews and a strong box office.  When aired on television, a slightly longer version of the film sometimes is aired.

westworld movie james brolin richard benjamin

We’re two wild and crazy guys!!!

Westworld always was a fun movie and it was an oddly predictive when it came to technology.  The 1973 film talked about computer virus, featured “robot vision”, and took reality TV themes and ideas to the screen.  Westworld, despite its age, has held up.

It is important to note that in the movie, it is actually called Western World and that the movie has motifs that the guests can choose.  The ideas and concepts of a park out of control came from Crichton’s question on what would happen if Disneyland went crazy.  It is an interesting concept but the question of how people would interact and incorporate with the robots is more interesting, but it also poses a big problem within the plot.

westworld movie robots yul brynner alan oppenheimer

I took his face…off!

The thing about Westworld that always kind of bothered me was that despite being a fun movie, it was an unrealistic concept and still remains unrealistic to me.  There are too many variable to be considered involving human guests interacting with robots, and add in that all guests want to have similar experiences.  Imagine if you went to Disney World and only eight people could go on Space Mountain?  Westworld seems like that kind of idea.  You can’t all kill the Gunslinger, you can’t all be the sheriff but you all paid money (I’m guessing you’d have to sign up for excursions essentially like a cruise) and trying to do this would create problems in the robots with all the potential variables if they get off their storylines…not to mention the legal problems if a guest was hurt (bullets can be fakes, but it is hard to fake a sword being swung by a robot).

The cast is strong.  James Brolin is the cocky returning guest while Richard Benjamin plays the weekend warrior who’s getting his first taste of Westworld.  However, Yul Brynner steals the show with his character a knock-off (right down to the costume) of character Chris Adams character form The Magnificent Seven.  He cold, calm, and calculating…and it works.

westworld gunslinger ending yul brynner robot richard benjamin

I always heard Yul Brynner had a smoking problem…

The movie is a sci-fi movie and sci-fi movies don’t always hold up well.  Westworld almost gets a pass.  The actual park structure and the robot rooms don’t quite hold up, but since the individual parks are theme based, they look fine.  Also the downplayed humanoid robots of the park do manage to keep real as a result.

Despite the major flaw of the basic realism of the plot, Westworld is fun if you can forget this (though I do kind of wonder about the world outside of the park and who are the people going to it).  The movie has proven to capture the imagination, and Crichton revisited the idea with Jurassic Park.  The legacy of the Gunslinger includes characters like the Terminator and Carpenter says Michael Myers was based on the Gunslinger’s unstoppable nature.  Westworld was followed in 1976 by Futureworld, a short lived series Beyond Westworld in 1980, and HBO adapted the film into a TV series in 2016.

Related Links:

Futureworld (1976)

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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