Packed with epic action, OPEN RANGE is a powerfully gripping story that's never been told until now, and stars Academy Award(R) winners Robert Duvall (1983 Best Actor, TENDER MERCIES) and Kevin Costner (1991 Best Director,... more » DANCES WITH WOLVES), and Academy Award(R) nominee Annette Bening (1999 Best Actress, AMERICAN BEAUTY). A group of free grazers, four men trying to escape their past, are driving cattle and living off the land on the open range -- a place where nature makes the only laws. When a ruthless, evil rancher tries to run them out of town, the men's peaceful existence takes a tumultuous turn and ends in the grittiest, most explosive gunfight on film as two men battle a town for honor, justice, and a way of life that's quickly disappearing.« less
A mediocre western that Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall failed to save.
Rob K. from HALF MOON BAY, CA Reviewed on 7/31/2022...
Could you ask for two better "cowboys" in a film together than Duvall and Costner? An excellent story and the acting was outstanding.
William J. (billystan3) from AUBURN, NY Reviewed on 10/11/2016...
This is the collaboration of actors and storylines Western lovers dream of. The story is very realistic and it's story is tight, together, and the climax is wholly surprising. If you've never seen this film I highly recommend it. It's much better than Dances With Wolves. The characters Played by Costner, Duvall, and Benning are what make this film so special. This is one of those rare films that even non-fans of the western genre will enjoy. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Marsha E. from SALINAS, CA Reviewed on 2/16/2012...
This is a great movie. Even though it is a Western I think it will appeal to a wide range of audiences as it is a universal tale about love, redemption, revenge. The movie is a standard Western with the ultimate shootout at the end which in and of itself is amazing but what I found to make it more exceptional was the cast. Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, and Annette Bening are so good at their character portrayal that if you truly love movies you should do yourself a favor and watch this fine flick.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Gus is back!
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 08/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those viewers who fondly remember, and miss, Robert Duvall's role as Augustus McCrae in the 1989 TV miniseries LONESOME DOVE, take heart. Duvall is back in the saddle again as "Boss" Spearman in OPEN RANGE. It's been way too long.The lead role in this western actually belongs to Kevin Costner, who plays Spearman's trail partner and employee, Charlie Waite. Boss is a cattleman that practices free-range grazing, i.e. driving his herd from place to place, only staying long enough for the animals to deplete the available food supply. But it's 1882, ranchers are beginning to fence in the West, and freegrazers are an endangered species. So, its no surprise when Charlie and Boss are ordered to take their beeves and get out of Dodge, so to speak, by big time rancher Baxter (Michael Gambon), who also owns the local town and its sheriff. Waite and Spearman are soon backed into a corner when the latter's two other hired hands, Mose (Abraham Benrubi) and Button (Diego Luna), run seriously afoul of Baxter's thugs. It would be hard to choose between the better performance - Costner or Duvall - both playing characters so strong, self-reliant and silent that neither knows the other's full name. And they've been riding the West together for ten years! Nor does Boss know Charlie's violent history, which included being a Civil War raider, and then a hired gun much like the ones now working for Baxter. When Charlie falls in love with Sue (Annette Bening), the spinster sister of the local sawbones, his guilt over his rough-edged past is a self-imposed handicap that Sue, who sees Waite's inner goodness, must overcome.Moviegoers accustomed to a steady diet of mindless, FX-laden action thrillers may find the first three-quarters of OPEN RANGE slow going. It's called "character and plot development", an intelligent change of pace. And when the final shoot-out comes, it's perhaps the best ever filmed. While most such western confrontations seem like a choreographed ballet, this one shows them for what they were: relatively short, extremely violent, chaotic, and lacking in fancy gunplay and sharpshooting finesse. Big Screen westerns are such a rarity nowadays that it's hard to compare this one with any other in recent memory. Though perhaps not as memorable as DANCES WITH WOLVES, this Old West morality play is certainly the best since UNFORGIVEN. Admittedly, we've seen similar plots before: the small homesteader/Big Ranching feud in the classic SHANE, and Big Mining vs. the small prospector in PALE RIDER, Clint Eastwood's transparent re-scripting of the former. However, the acting, cinematography and costuming of OPEN RANGE are excellent. Duvall surely deserves a Best Supporting Actor nomination, and the production as a whole may merit a Best Picture nod. My only complaint lies with the editing, which left in one too many leave-takings between Charlie and Sue, the last being completely superfluous. That said, however, this is a five-star tribute to loyalty, rugged individualism, integrity, and simply doing what's right. I think, sometimes, that Hollywood has forgotten what those qualities are all about."
OPEN RANGE--A Hopeful Revival For The Western
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 08/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For all the hits and misses he has had in front of and behind the camera, Kevin Costner never fails to put his money where his mouth is. Such is the case with OPEN RANGE, which I hope will revive that most American of film genres, the Western.Set in 1882, OPEN RANGE stars Costner and veteran Robert Duvall as cattlemen only trying to drive their cattle across the open prairie of Montana. But they soon run afoul of a ruthless land baron (Michael Gambon) out to rid the land of free-grazers like Duvall and Costner; and to prove his point, Gambon has one of Duvall's men (Abraham Benrubi) killed and another (Diego Luna) seriously wounded. The stage is set for a traditional but classic shoot-out to the finish.If not on the epic level of Costner's 1990 Oscar-winner DANCES WITH WOLVES, or the standards set by people like Clint Eastwood, John Ford, Howard Hawks, or Sam Peckinpah, OPEN RANGE nevertheless demonstrates Costner's comfortability with the Western. His is a determined performance, and his direction is equally fine, with stunning photography, done on location in southern Canada, and a fine Michael Kamen score. Gambon is about as nasty a villain as there has been in any film in recent times, and James Russo does his natural evil best as a half-crazed town sheriff. It is Duvall, a veteran of many westerns (TRUE GRIT; LAWMAN), however, who really shines, as is typical of this kind of caliber actor. Always offering some wry advice but ready to take retaliation for having been wronged, Duvall is a tower of strength. Annette Benning also does good work as the town doctor's sister, who also becomes Costner's love interest.The Western genre has not run out of stories or ideas, and never will; it just needs people of integrity like Costner to keep it going. OPEN RANGE proves that in spades."
"Open Range" is Good Entertainment
James Koenig | Minnesota | 07/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a long time fan of western movies, I eagerly look forward to new western releases. When I viewed the trailer for "Open Range", and saw that it had Robert Duval and Kevin Costner, I had very high hopes, as both actors have 5-star classic western movies under their belts (Lonesome Dove, and Dances With Wolves respectively). I am pleased that "Open Range" continues the tradition of quality modern western fare. Although certainly, not a "classic" western (thus my 4-star ranking instead of 5-star), "Open Range" still pleases with good character development, an interesting plot with a huge shoot-out, excellent acting, and a love story (for the wives and girlfriends of the men who primarily make up the western movie-going crowd!)
The movie boasts beautiful scenery shots that literally take your breath away, although these are best appreciated on the big screen of a movie theatre than one's tv set. Even so, the cinematography is gorgeous and the western town of Harmonville is accurately reconstructed as a typical isolated range town.
What makes this film is the acting of Duval and Costner. Both are superb in their respective roles, Duval as an aging but rugged cattleman and Costner his younger able partner. There is no better crusty "cowboy" than Duval, who reprises some of the same acting mannerisms of his classic character Agustus McCrae (from Lonesome Dove). Costner is as visually perfect as a cowbay can be, with his long lean body, and his "matter of fact" acting style. The two make this movie work.
The plot unfolds rather slowly, after all, this is nearly a 3-hour movie. Adequate time is spent developing the characters, and there is enough tension/conflict to keep the movie rolling along without it bogging down. In a nutshell, Duval and Costner's two cowhands and small cattle herd are threatened by a powerful cattlebaron, who views "freegrazers" (those men who freely graze their cattle on the open plains) as nothing more than varmints or trespassers when they skirt his town. The conflict escalates quickly and leads to a final wild main-street showdown shootout. There is so much action from so many different guns, that it is hard to follow the intense action (which is probably more accurate in a shootout than just one or two shots. In this shootout, people actually miss their target (!), which I liked).
Annette Benning is Costner's fledgling love interest. Without make-up, Benning still makes a stunning portrait as the middle-aged, never-married sister of the town's doctor. She is excellent in her role, and her acting skill makes her a true "co-star" in this male dominated film. The love story between Costner and Benning is perhaps the weakest link in this film, as they go from being strangers to being engaged in the span of just 2 days! Even so, the budding awkward relationship between the two is intriguing.
On the down side, this movie is not suitable for children due to the gunfighting and considerable (but appropriate in an adult context) cursing.
This may not be your favorite western movie of all-time, but it is entertaining, and the performances of the principal actors give this movie its charm. Throw in the breath-taking visuals, and you have a good night's entertainment.
Jim Konedog Koenig "
Four Reasons Why I Love This Film
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 04/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"They don't westerns that much anymore, at least on the big screen. People in the Baby Boomer generation grew up with them on television. Western films were big at the box office in several decades, too. Well, at least Kevin Costner must have a heart for the genre as he been involved with several major western productions in the last 15 years, this the latest.
The best thing I can say about this film right out front is that it may be the best western I've ever watched. I can't give it higher praise than that! Since I've seen so many, for so long, it's especially high praise.
I make this bold statement because of the following: 1 - Fantastic scenery and beautiful cinematography. If it looks spectacular on my 24-inch flat-screen, I can't imagine how awesome it would be a big plasma set.
2 - Characters you really care about, led by three actors who almost always give solid performances: Robert Duvall (the best in here), Costner and Annette Bening. Duvall, by the way, gives one of the best short "speeches" I've ever witnessed in a movie. It was nice to see Bening actually play a wholesome woman for a change. The two men who are out on the range with Duvall and Costner also were excellent.
3 - Just the right amount of action. When the action does occur, such as gunfire, the sound is incredible. This might be one of the best movies, audibly-speaking, I've ever heard, which is another reason for ranking it Number One. There are no lulls but not a ton of action, either.
4 - Just the right amount of romance. It doesn't get sappy, it doesn't overshadow the basic story, but it adds a nice, soft touch to what could be a very rough and unpleasant tale. And, in a different twist, it's the romance, not the usual climactic gun battle, that ends this film.
I can't say enough about this movie except that I'm sorry more westerns like it aren't made today. "
Great new western
William W. Miller | Sparks, NV United States | 09/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd probably give the film a 4 and a half star rating if that were available but hey, need to encourage anybody who makes a decent western these days. And this film is more than decent with great performances by Robert Duval and Kevin Costner. Duval has immediate crediability in any western as far as I'm concerned after the Lonesome Dove effort. And the same for Costner relative Daces with Wolves. Supporting cast is uniformly good. The scenery is beautiful, if Canadian. The story moves slowley, but to me, that mirrored the cowboy's life. Things didn't happen in quick step fashion very often. And I was happy to go along for the ride. The climatic gun battle was as good as I've seen. Only the Bennig/Costner romance didn't quite ring true to me. A little too quick, with the backdrop of all the trouble going. But there were some great moments there too, the tea serving, the picking up of mud clods, that had been drug in off the floor, and the ordering of a new set of dishes for Benning should Costner not survive the fight. Well done I'd say. When it comes out on video I'll be adding it to my collection of westerns. And I hope to then to have a wide screen TV to enjoy it, in all its glory."