Search - Hang 'Em High on DVD

Hang 'Em High
Hang 'Em High
Actors: Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle, Ed Begley, Ben Johnson
Director: Ted Post
Genres: Westerns, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     1997     1hr 54min

They riddled him with bullets. They strung him up. They left him to die. But they made two fatal mistakes: they hanged the wrong man...and they didn't finish the job. In his first American-made western, Clint Eastwood inde...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle, Ed Begley, Ben Johnson
Director: Ted Post
Creators: Leonard J. South, Richard H. Kline, Irving L. Leonard, Leonard Freeman, Robert Stambler, Mel Goldberg
Genres: Westerns, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/19/1997
Original Release Date: 08/03/1968
Theatrical Release Date: 08/03/1968
Release Year: 1997
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

Hang 'em High - Eastwood's excellent first American western!
K. Wyatt | St. Louis, MO United States | 04/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Surprisingly enough, I'd never seen this Clint Eastwood masterpiece before. This was a regrettable mistake as it is a great western. Hang `em High is Clint Eastwood's first American "spaghetti" western and undoubtedly the one that furthered his launch into mega stardom. Upon excitedly opening the DVD case and placing the DVD into the player, one discovers that the only special feature is a theatrical trailer. This is fine, as one doesn't truly purchase these DVD's for special features as much as they do for the movie. While watching the theatrical trailer, I got the impression that this movie seemed as though it might lack the "true grit" style of his previous spaghetti westerns; this impression couldn't have been farther off though. Hang `em High has a truly well written script and is played perfectly by all involved.The premise:Clint Eastwood plays Jed Cooper, a former law man from St. Louis, MO. As the movie begins, we see him herding cattle past a river and he's approached by nine riders. We soon learn that Jed thought he'd purchased these cattle honestly, but the person he bought them from was a criminal and now Jed's going to pay for it because these nine riders are a lynch mob and they intend to hang Jed.Fortunately for Jed, a law man comes by and cuts him down from the tree before he dies and throws him in the wagon with a bunch of other criminals headed towards the only court in the Oklahoma territory and run by the "Hanging Judge." As luck would have it though, his story checks out and the judge offers him a job as a Federal Marshal. What follows is a great western filled with Clint Eastwood's "true grit" western hero style as he sets out for vengeance upon those who attempted but failed to hang him.I would highly recommend this outstanding western for those who favor this genre heavily or casually and especially for those who are Eastwood fans! {ssintrepid}"
Great Western!
Eric V. Moye | New York, by way of Dallas | 11/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Along with the Sergio Leone trilogy, this movie helped make the Clint Eastwood legend. It is the simplest story line (after love) - revenge. Eastwood is an everyman, just a rancher. He buys some cattle from a passing drive, only to learn they are stolen. The true owners come along, and hang him before the truth can be ascertained. A passing lawman finds him swinging from a tree, saves his life and puts him in a jail wagon until his story can be figured out. The rest of the movie is Eastwood's tracking down those bad guys (not relevant is the fact that for the most part they are "good and true citizens") and bringing them to justice; either at the jailhouse or by his bullets. And Eastwood revenge is something else - he even shoots the dog!Eastwood's character, Marshall Cooper is another strong and silent type, just like "The Man With No Name" whom we have come to expect in the Leone westerns. Unlike the spaghetti westerns, though, this time while he is again basically a good guy, he is now on the establishment side.Eastwood is joined by a positively fabulous supporting cast: Western veterans Ben Johnson and Ed Begley, Pat Hingle as a true hangin' judge, Dennis Hopper (who is such a psycho even then, we are glad to see that he is the first guy killed in the film), Bruce Dern, L.Q. Jones. Surprising appearances are entered by Gilligan's Skipper, Alan Hale and Steve McGarrett's Five-0 sidekick "Dano", James McArthur. And for the true Star Trek cognoscenti, we have an appearance by Mark Leonard, who gave up his job as Oklahoma Territory Prosecuting Attorney to become Sarek, a/k/a Father of Spock. Unlike some other reviewers, I found the more polished (as opposed to the Leone western trilogy) soundtrack superior to the movies which had preceded it. I also thought the cinematography supeerior here, with some breathtaking vistas.

Lots of reviewers dog this one out for not being up to the standards of the Leone trilogy. However, I think it is their equal, because the characters have more depth. Maybe I am just not the fan of minimalist genre of S. Leone. Nonetheless, I particularly find the bad guys are more complex than any in the spaghetti westerns, and I find this more pleasing. It is one of my very favorite shoot-em-ups. As reviewer L.S.W. says, western fans need this movie."
A smart, compelling western that exceeds expectations
C. Wynes | Dyersburg, TN | 07/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A good western is about two themes: violence and justice. "Hang 'em High", mostly overlooked beneath the shadow of Eastwood's work with Sergio Leone of the same period, is a surprisingly deep examination of these themes as they play out in pre-statehood Oklahoma.

The film works through three different storylines, all of which come together to address the primary theme of the picture.

The central storyline is a simple revenge tale. Eastwood's character, former lawman Jed Cooper, is wrongfully hanged by a gang of nine vigilantes. Saved from death by an honest marshall, Cooper becomes a lawman once again as deputy marshall in the Oklahoma Territory. With the blessing of the territory's judge, he embarks on a mission to round up those who were responsible for his hanging.

Along the way, he pursues and apprehends three cattle rustlers who had done murder. Among them are two young men who claim they had nothing to do with the decision to murder the man, and the two cooperate with Cooper's effort to bring all three men to town to face justice. The mob that helped him catch the men had wanted to hang them on the spot, but Cooper insisted that they be taken into custody and brought before a court of law. Back in town, Cooper stands up for the two young men and doesn't want to see them hanged. The judge sees things differently: the people demand justice as they see it, and the way they see it is through a hanging. If the judge doesn't hang them all, then the people will take the law into their own hands, just as they did wrongfully try to hang Cooper himself.

The third storyline is that of the pretty, young blond girl. The jailors and lawmen are all under orders to let her examine every outlaw brought into town. She later reveals that she's looking for two men in particular, two men who had done her a great wrong in the past.

In large part, this is a film about the death penalty and the merits of the retributivist theory of justice. If the girl were to find those two men, would their hanging do her any good? What if she never found them? Does Cooper need to find the men who've done him wrong? What to do with those he does find?

Whether men are hanged or spared their lives, there are consequences. There are consequences both for individuals seeking justice, and for society as a whole. There are consequences for those who perpetrate violence and those who are victimized by it. "Hang 'em High" engages the viewer on these subjects, and in so doing exceeds the expectation that it is just another shoot-'em-up gunslinger picture.

The musical score, an integral part of any good western, both hits and misses. It hits with a great, memorable theme. You probably have heard the theme even if you've never seen the film. The score misses, however, by muddying up the theme with the full orchestration commonplace in MGM studio pictures of the time. In many places, the score sounds like it was yanked directly out of "Star Wars", and the music produces a mood that doesn't fit with the film.

Overall, this is a western that does all the typically western elements right. It surpasses expectations by delivering on an engaging storyline about the ethics of justice. "Hang 'em High" is an excellent film. I'm compelled to drop it down to 4 stars, however, by the way that it stumbles about for the first 30 minutes or so trying to find its groove, and by the way the score seems misplaced in those early scenes. It fully recovers and becomes a great western, but doesn't quite reach the heights of perfection reached by "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" or "A Fistful of Dollars.""
Eastwood, home on the American range
B. W. Fairbanks | Lakewood, OH United States | 12/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After earning major stardom with Sergio Leone's spaghetti western trilogy, Clint Eastwood turned down both Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" and Carl Foreman's "MacKenna's Gold" to star in and co-produce this tightly scripted, well-acted western directed by "Gunsmoke" veteran Ted Post. It proved a good choice. If not a masterpiece on the order of Leone's film, or a star studded spectacular like Foreman's offering, "Hang 'Em High" was something the other two were not: a hit. It's also intelligent and makes some interesting if subtle comments on the meaning of justice. The clean-shaven Eastwood is fine as Jed Cooper, a former marshal who once more wears a badge to hunt down the men who hanged him as an alleged cattle thief, but Pat Hingle as a hanging judge who is even more vengeance minded than Eastwood offers the standout performance. Bruce Dern, Bob Steele, Ben Johnson, Joe Sirola, Dennis Hopper, and Alan Hale, Jr. (yes, the Skipper from "Gilligan's Island") are among the notable character actors who appear throughout, and Dominic Frontiere's music score, including the title theme that would go on to be a hit for Booker T and the MGs, is excellent."