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Cimarron was the first Western to win the Oscar for Best Picture--and, until Dances with Wolves in 1990, the only one. The film begins on April 22, 1889, the opening day of the great Oklahoma Land Rush on the Cherokee Strip. Boisterous Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) is cheated out of his land claim by the devious Dixie Lee (Estelle Taylor). Instead of becoming a homesteader, Cravat establishes a muckraking newspaper, and with pistols in hand he becomes a widely respected (and widely feared) peacekeeper. He also displays a compassionate streak by coming to the defense of Dixie Lee, who is about to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It is a long, full-bodied picture, paced so deftly that although it covers more than half a century of crowded, changing events, it never drags and is rarely jerky."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Critically lauded at the time of its release, Cimarron was beloved by most who saw it. Eight decades later, it is frequently cited on lists of the most undeserving Academy Award winners."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Consistently dull, this old western tale is highlighted by an endearing debut performance by Irene Dunne."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"There's a reason Wesley Ruggles' movies aren't often revived and this is one of them."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Maybe the most undeserving Best Picture winner ever."
‑ John Urbancich, Your Movies (
"This is a spectacular western away from all others. It holds action, sentiment, sympathy, thrills and comedy -- and 100% clean."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The first western to win an Oscar for Best Picture."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Too bad the rest of the film doesn't measure up to the opening."
‑ Christopher Null,
"Taken by itself, as a film, without moral conundrums, it's actually a fairly engaging yarn. However -- and this is a HUGE however -- it's incredibly racist in its stereotyping of all sorts of people."
‑ Matt Easterbrook, Matt's Movie Reviews
"For pure history, this is a must, but it's laughable at times because of its overwrought machismo and intense over-acting."
‑ Michael Szymanski,
"A graphic and engrossing screen conception."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"It holds up surprisingly well today."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Cimarron, a rather weak film, is one of the few Westerns to win the Best Picture Oscar."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"An early talkie, it now looks very dated."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Cimarron on Rotten Tomatoes