Red River
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Howard Hawks' first Western also marked the screen debut of co-star Montgomery Clift, playing Matthew Garth, the stepson of cattle rustler Tom Dunson (John Wayne), and the film follows the battle of wills the two men wage on one another during a cattle drive.
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The staging of physical conflict is deadly, equalling anything yet seen on the screen."
‑ , Variety
"It's a sign of the movie's complexity that John Wayne, often typecast, is given a tortured, conflicted character to play."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"inaugurated the second, more intriguing half of John Wayne's career, enabling him to be cast in roles that were more than just macho posturing and gruff heroism"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"[VIDEO ESSAY] The homosexual subtext in Howard Hawkes's 1948 western is a widely overlooked, yet unmistakable element, to one of the most popular examples of the genre."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"A grand, sprawling tale of the civilizing of the west."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"Immaculately shot by Russell Harlan, perfectly performed by a host of Hawks regulars, and shot through with dark comedy, it's probably the finest Western of the '40s."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Wayne is an offbeat presence in River. His longish hair and loose gait - the latter usually indicating a relaxed sense of power - now imply a man out of his place, and a kind of restlessness."
‑ Matthew Sorrento, Film International
"It was Hawks' genius to recognize a kinship between his leads, and to understand that the 'naturalism' of the Wayne persona was as deep and complex as the more intellectualized approach of the neurotic young New York stage actor, Clift."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"Howard Hawks stages the definitive cow opera with beautiful, lyrical, exciting sequences of stampeding, rough weather, cowboying and Indian skirmishes."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"This brilliant Hawks Western, one of the decade's best, has been interpreted in different ways, but at its core is the contrast between John Wayne's and Montgomery Clift's leadership style and perception of manhood."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Even despite a big let-down, which fortunately comes near the end, it stands sixteen hands above the level of routine horse opera these days. So strap on your trusty six-shooters and race to the wind-swept Capitol, you lovers of good old Western fiction."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Just when loyalty seems to be an entirely perverse and oppressive force in this world of might makes right, the film (shows) there are limits decent men won't cross."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"Hawks directs the film with his typical assurance and seeming lack of fuss, letting scenes play out in long takes, and framing the action against vistas that often dwarf the actors."
‑ Keith Phipps, The Dissolve
"Of the may big names involved in the making of Red River, few made greater films."
‑ , Film4
"Hawks never did anything self-consciously. You always realize how great his films are after you're through enjoying yourself."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
More reviews for Red River on Rotten Tomatoes

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