"Director Howard Hawks and John Wayne would essentially remake the same story three times: first as RIO BRAVO in 1959, then as EL DORADO in 1967, and finally as RIO LOBO in 1970. Caught between the popularity of the first and the dismal failure of the third, EL DORADO is something of a neglected film--but for my money, it is easily the best of the three.The story is the stuff that Western myths are made of. Aging gun-slinger John Wayne is offered a job as hired gun in a range war, but he discovers that acceptance of the job would place him on the wrong side of the law--which in this case is old friend and small town sheriff Robert Mitchum, who has made himself a laughing stock by drinking his way to the bottom of every bottle he can find. Wayne accordingly drifts into town, whips Mitchum into shape, and with the assistance of crotchety deputy Arthur Hunnicutt and youngster James Caan they set about cleaning up the town.Although EL DORADO has a leisurely tone, but it never feels in the least slow--largely due to an unexpectedly witty script that crackles with memorable dialogue (at one point when Mitchum asks Wayne what he's looking at, Wayne responds "A tin star with a drunk pinned to it") and unexpected situations (such as Caan's unfortunate way with a shotgun.) The entire cast handles both humor and old-west action with equal skill, and both Wayne and Mitchum offer some the best work of their impressive careers here; James Caan (in his first major success), Arthur Hunnicutt, Charlene Holt, and Michele Carey are equally memorable.There are a great many westerns more critically acclaimed than EL DORADO--RED RIVER, THE SEARCHERS, and STAGE COACH to name but a few. And I enjoy them. But EL DORADO is like meeting an old friend whose company you always enjoy. Strongly recommended."
Maybe the Duke's Best
Don Graeter | Prospect, KY USA | 03/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm 53 years old and have loved John Wayne since first seeing him at the movies as "Hondo" as a boy. I loved Rio Bravo, but have to give the edge to this remake. As good as the original was, El Dorado is more enjoyable and convincing to me. The Duke is as good as he ever was in his usual role as the hired gun with a conscience whose reputation alone strikes fear into the hearts of the bad guys. Few western actresses could match the young Angie Dickinson in Rio Bravo, but the male supporting cast is better in El Dorado. Mitchum is excellent, young James Caan adds charm and humor and Arthur Hunnicutt nearly steals the show in the Walter Brennan role as Mitchum's loyal, but crusty deputy, Bull. For my money, Hunnicutt is one of the great homespun character actors of all time and this is certainly one of his very best performances. Most don't know his name like they do the great Walter Brennan's but he's just as good or better. A then noname Ed Asner and Christopher George (TV's The Rat Patrol) are excellent as the main bad guys. George is actually somewhat likeable as a man willing to sell his gun to the most odious of crooks, but still possessed of a sense of fair play. Jim Davis (Jock Ewing of TV's Dallas) plays one of Asner's henchmen. This is just a great cast telling a great old west story.A recent biography of director Howard Hawks points out that Hawks badly needed a hit late in his career when El Dorado was put together. His effort is evident. Even the opening credits are great--a series of beautiful western paintings by Olaf Wieghorst, who also appears as the gunsmith, "The Swede." The title song by George Alexander is memorable as well.BTW, the poem Caan keeps quoting, which serves as the foundation for the title song, was Edgar Alan Poe's last poem--"El Dorado", of course. The movie was filmed just west of Tucson, AZ in what is today Old Tucson--a must tour for anyone interested in westerns. Westerns are still filmed there. Movies filmed there include Rio Bravo, El Dorado, McClintock, and Rio Lobo by Wayne, as well as many others such as Joe Kidd, Tombstone and even The Three Amigos."
Better than "Rio Bravo"...
Michael Valdivielso | Alexandria, VA | 11/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While many point out that El Dorado is a remake, I think it is, in fact, better than the first movie it is based on. First off, no singing or cast based on the need for singers! This is a REAL, honest-to-God, Western, with a big "W". John Wayne and Robert Mitchum really work well together. You can feel the history behind their friendship and this adds to the conflict, the struggle, they feel, as one has to watch the other recover from crawling into the bottle. James Caan brings a LOT to the cast, really allowing a way for much of the humor to enter the film. Not much in extras - in fact there is only a trailer. 126 minutes of fun."
The best Wane flick
Winthrop J. Quiggy | 07/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my all-time favorite John Wayne flick. Most lists I see list "The Searchers" as the best, but I disagree. This is essentially a reworking of "Rio Bravo", but you get better co-stars here with Robert Mitchum and James Caan. Plus you don't have the unrealistic sing-a-long that occurs in the middle of "Bravo" In this movie Cole Thornton (Wayne) is a hired gunman in town to help out in a range war. Before he goes out to meet his new boss, Bart Jason (Ed Asner), he meets his old buddy J. P. Harrah (Mitchum). Harrah convinces Thornton that he'd be fighting for the wrong side. Later, Thornton is in another town, where he meets up with Nils McCloud (Christopher George), who is off to El Dorado to take the job Thornton turned down. McCloud tells Thornton that Harrah is now a hopeless drunk, so of course, this being a Wayne flick, Thornton has to ride to the rescue. Along the way he is accompanied by Alan Bedillian Traherne ("Yeah, that's why most people call me 'Mississippi'.") and Bull (Arthur Hunnicut). The end is a shootout worthy of the name."
The 2009 2 DVD edition is THE one to own !
Richardson | Sunny California USA | 06/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I want to be clear as Amazon.com is mixing reviews for all of the editions of the movie of EL DORADO on DVD. This review is for the latest (2009) 2 DVD set Centennial Collection. Being an owner of the previous releases and a huge fan of the movie (probably in the minority who favor it to Rio Bravo)as far as the movie goes it looks stunning! The picture is crisp, the contrast brilliant and the color well saturated. If I didn't know better I'd think it was a VistaVision. The Second disc has some very entertaining and educational featurettes which kept me amused for over an hour themselves. James Caan is great in the film, Mitchum is ....Mitchum ..which is superb and Ed Asner brings a gravitas to his character. Oh...John Wayne is terrific and this is just a lot of fun."