Director Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill) clearly set out to make an old-fashioned Western, but he couldn't help bringing a hip, self-conscious attitude to the proceedings. Silverado thus finds its own funky tone--sometimes... more » rousing, sometimes winking. Four cowpokes converge on a little Western burg called Silverado; they're played by Kevin Kline (a distinctly modern kind of Western hero), Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, and the rowdy young Kevin Costner. Kasdan peppers the somewhat generic action with smart dialogue and a parade of quirky supporting players, including John Cleese as a sheriff who seems to have stepped straight from a Monty Python sketch into an Old West saloon. Bruce Broughton supplies the music, a real throwback to the glory days of thundering Western themes. One thing's for sure: Silverado's a lot more fun than the later Kasdan-Costner Western, Wyatt Earp. --Robert Horton« less
Improvement over original DVD but needs more extras
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A return to the classic western of yesterday, "Silverado" recalls the sprawling efforts of Sergio Leone and the old spaghetti westerns while recycling many of the motifs of the best efforts from Howard Hawks, Anthony Mann and John Ford. It's a pity that Kasdan hasn't rethought the film and added in additional footage. Perhaps the version we saw in theaters was the definitive version but given the wealth of material I doubt it. "Silverado" is greater than the sum of its parts with a number of strong performances from Kevin Costner, Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Brian Dennehy and others. Kasdan manages to echo classic films in this sprawling but exciting western adventure.
Emmett (Scott Glenn) has just been released from prison and is on his way to Silverado to visit with his family when he's attacked by a group of outlaws. He's initially unclear as to why they chose him but it soon becomes apparent that they're hired guns sent by Ethan McKendrick (Ray Baker) to average the death of his father. Along the way Emmett must spring his kid brother Jake (Kevin Costner) from the jail of Turley for a killing that happened in self defense. Emmett has a guardian angel in the form of Mal (Danny Glover) a butcher who is headed to Silverado himself to help out his parents. Emmett also saves Paden (Kevin Kline) a man left to die in the desert by outlaws who ambushed him. When Emmett arrives in Silverado he finds things haven't changed; Ethan McKendrick is still trying to dominate the town by installing his own sheriff (Brian Dennehy) a former outlaw who rode at one time with Paden. He realizes that as long as he stays in Silverado he and his family's lives are in danger.
A beautiful and rich looking transfer highlights this first ever Superbit transfer of "Silverado". This Superbit transfer sparkles and I didn't notice any digital or analog blemishes of note. The black level of the transfer produces deep, rich shadows and the vibrant colors haven't looked this good since the movie was released theatrically in 1985. There's some noticable grain at the beginning of the film but that's to be expected. This is the first edition to sport a DTS track and a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack as well. The DTS track has slightly better dynamic range but it's virtually impossible to tell them apart otherwise.
Unlike the previous single disc edition of "Silverado", this edition has a number of terrific extras and has relocated the original "Making of" featurette to the second disc to maximize the bit rate for a better picture and sound. "The Making of `Silverado'" features interviews with Lawrence and Mark Kasdan discussing the origin of the film. Lawrence Kasdan has a series of precise images he wanted to portray and turned to his brother Mark to help him flesh out a screenplay that would allow him to keep those startling images and make a coherent story.
"A Return to `Silverado'" features Kevin Costner discussing his involvement in the film. Although Costner had heard stories about Kasdan writing the part of Jake for him to make up for having to cut him out of "The Big Chill", Costner was never told that by Kasdan himself. "A History of Western Shootouts" is little more than a promo piece for 10 of Columbia's westerns with John Cleese doing the honors as narrator in discussing "Missing", "The Professionals", "The Quick and the Dead", "A Man Called Sledge", "Old Gringo", "The Man from Colorado" and others. Running almost 9 minutes, it's not much of a featurette consisting of scenes from each film briefly described by Cleese. "Columbia's Top Westerns Trailer" consists of a montage of scenes from classic westerns put together to advertise DVD titles for Columbia. Once again, it's little more than a promo piece. Finally we get "Along the Silverado Trail" a historical commentary about this western. There's no commentary from any of the cast or Kasdan which is a disappointment and a bit of a surprise.
The reason to buy this is the upgrade Superbit transfer. It looks terrific here and the DTS track sounds especially good. There are only two extras worthwhile on this Suberbit Gift Pack and that's "A Return to `Silverado' with Kevin Costner" and "Along the Silverado Trail". Everything else falls into the category of promo pieces or filler. The 20 page booklet included is also quite informative but duplicates much of what is said in the "Making of" featurette. There's also a nice deck of playing cards included in this set. "
Borrows Effectively From the Classics
William T. Parnell | Sherman, NY USA | 04/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the well-made documentary that accompanies this collectors edition DVD release, the Kasdan brothers admit to being fans of the classic western films. They have incorporated many techniques of that genre in this fine film. The super cast includes Kevin Kline, Scott Glen, Kevin Costner, and Danny Glover as the four leads with Brian Dennehy, John Cleese, Jeff Goldblum, and Linda Hunt in supporting roles.The film starts with a light flavor as we are introduced to the various characters but takes on an increasingly dark character as it rushes toward the foreseeable conclusion. This movie is meant to be a sort of compendium of all that is good about westerns and in that regard it performs admirably.The DVD video quality is good but grain is noticeable in some scenes. Sound quality is quite good and the film was nominated for awards in that category. The aforementioned documentary is well worth watching and includes deleted scenes as well as insight from the Kasdan brothers and the actors. I would have liked to see more extras but this rarely happens with films from this time period due to the extra cost that would be involved.All in all, a very good film presented in an attractive package that will appeal to DVD collectors."
The Best of The Modern Westerns
Mike Murray | Bay Shore, L.I. NY USA | 05/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll tell you how much I like this movie. I bought the VHS and soundtrack no more than six weeks ago and upon discovering its DVD availability, I immediately hit "1-Click".I can't think of another Western in the 15 years since this film was released that I enjoyed more, not even "Lonesome Dove", and that's saying a lot. I was praying that it would be released on DVD and it's nice to know my prayers were answered.The cast is one of the finest of the mid-Eighties: Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Jeff Goldblum, Linda Hunt, John Cleese, and Brian Dennehy. And these are just the principals.Silverado is a sweeping Western demi-epic that takes some classic genre cliches and weaves them into a modern classic, emboldened by Bruce Boughton's masterful score. The master of this all is co-writer and director Lawrence Kasdan, who has given us some other gems like "Body Heat" and "The Big Chill".This DVD release is great news and the only thing that could make me happier is to find that additional scenes featuring Rosanna Arquette, deleted from the theatrical release, appear somewhere on the DVD."
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 11/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the Collector's Edition DVD(Columbia/Tristar)...... A lone cowboy, trapped in a desert cabin,pinned down by the bad guys,he must shoot his way out.Then crossing the dry dusty desert happens upon another,left to die of thirst in the hot sun. They become quick friends and the one becomes two, on their way to Silverado! A quick stop off in the small town of Turley to befriend a stranger outcast because of his race, and to break the younger brother out of jail(unjustly accused of murder). The three make a hasty departure out of town,being chased, guns blazing, and are rescued by the stranger they befriended in town. Now they are four friends riding side by side through the west.The story doesn't end, here it's only just beginning.... These four now become heroes, as they go after thieves,protect a wagontrain of homesteaders,save their families and friends from the land grubbing McKendricks,and fight corrupt lawmen. This western, directed by Lawrence Kasdan, pays homage to all the great westerns that came before it. It's got everything. Smokey saloons, posse chases,shootouts, standoffs,good guys, bad guys, there's even a stampeede. Shot in New Mexico, the cinematography is outstanding. You really get a feel for the Old West, the settlers,and the bustling town. It's got drama,adventure, action, comedy and romance,and all done in a way that can be viewed by the whole family.(There is some violence but never graphic). The cast needs no introduction, they're all terrific in their portrayals. The leads are Scott Glenn,Kevin Kline,Danny Glover, and playing the younger"full of juice" brother is Kevin Costner.The supporting players are equally marvelous. Brian Dennehy,John Cleese,Jeff Goldblum,Roseanna Arquette,Jeff Fahey, and the ever fiesty Linda Hunt. Even the horses are great! You'll be real happy with the digitally mastered DVD transfer. Presented in the original widescreen(2:35.1), the desert vistas,and and mountainous scenery are breathtaking. You won't miss a moment of the action. The picture and colors are clear and crisp. The Audio choices are 5.1 or 2 channel surround depending on your set up, and all the sounds of the old west come to life around you. One little minor problem I had was the dialouge, I had to turn it up in some places and then back down when the action started up. What the heck, my remote finger got a work out anyway. Special features include a Making of Documentary, and Trailer. There are various languages, and subtitles, and comes with an informative little booklet. Growing up with Roy and Dale, Hopalong, and the Lone Ranger,I have always loved westerns, and this one is right up there with those guys! Happy trails.......Laurie
also recommended:Deadwood: The Complete Seasons 1-3 - a great westrn series for those who don't mind R language - several sets available - see my review for links and details of series"
- Durrkk | Ohio/PA border USA | 02/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Silverado" is a 1985 Western about two brothers (Scott Glenn & Kevin Costner) and two other gents (Kevin Kline & Danny Glover) who become friends and ultimately team-up to take on the corrupt sheriff of the New Mexican town Silverado.
The first time I tried to watch "Silverado" was in the mid-90s and something turned me off. I now know what that was: "Silverado" doesn't have the downbeat, ultra-realistic, amoral vibe of most post-50s Westerns. This is a rip-roaring Western in the truest sense of the word. There are a few moral ambiguities (e.g. Jeff Goldblum's character and Kline's conundrum in the story) but, for the most part, the heroes are heroes and the villains drip with evil.
My main problem was that certain situations or events struck me as a bit unrealistic, almost verging on Indiana Jones territory, which is easy to explain since writer/director Lawrence Kasdan also wrote "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Upon seeing it again recently I decided to accept the few implausible heroics to glean from (and enjoy) the meat of the picture, which is essentially a serious story running the gamut of the human condition (e.g. injustice, action, drama, comedy, etc.). I only bring this up so that viewers who insist on realism in their Westerns like, say, "Open Range" or "The Wild Bunch" will make the necessary mental adjustments before attempting to digest the film.
One aspect of "Silverado" I like, which most post-50s Westerns lack, is the palpable spirit of life, freedom and joy that the heroes (and their friends) possess. Despite the various evils they experience (which we can all relate to in one way or another) they maintain a certain joy of living, the jubilance of life and freedom itself. Hence, the film isn't a downer. It's somehow uplifting.
Stories like this need a good villain and Brian Dennehy more than fills the bill. In fact, he's horrifying as the corrupt sheriff of Silverado. Remember Dennehy as the sheriff in "First Blood"? This is essentially the same role multiplied by ten, as in ten-times WORSE.
The main hero is Kevin Kline. The only other film I've seen him in is "Grand Canyon." I liked him in that film and feel the same here. I don't know, he's just good at playing the perfect, likable everyman.
Scott Glenn is a quintessential Westerner and Kevin Costner plays his younger gung-ho brother. Costner is quite different here than in other Western roles like "Dances with Wolves," "Wyatt Earp" and "Open Range." In "Silverado" he's young and spunky, an expert and deadly gunslinger, but full of mirth at the same time.
Another item that turned me off when I first saw "Silverado" was that the story is convoluted. There are numerous characters and each has his/her own sub-story (think of Kasdan's "Grand Canyon"). Heck, we don't even see the town Silverado until a full 45 minutes into the film. But the good thing about a story like this is that it's not superficial; hence, it's worthy of numerous repeat viewings (because you're not likely gonna digest it all in just one or two viewings).
I enjoyed certain subplots like Kline's love for the midget saloon bartender (Linda Hunt), love in a son/mother manner, that is. As well as the love and loyalty of the four heroes; the fact that Glover is a black man is of no issue. Love in its purest sense is spiritual in nature and transcends blood, skin color or raw lust. You never know who you'll meet in life and form a strong love-bond with. It's amazing.
Unfortunately some subplots obviously got left on the cutting room floor. For instance, Rosanna Arquette and Jeff Goldblum.
So why not 5/5 stars? I didn't find the story ultra-captivating like, say, Kasdan's "Grand Canyon." I had to struggle a bit to keep attentive here and there. Other than that "Silverado" has everything you'd ever want in a Western (in fact, maybe overkill): gunfights, fast-draw showdowns, smoke-filled saloons, saloon girls, homesteaders, wagon trains, outlaws, posses, jailbreaks, stampedes, box canyons, glorious Western locations, and more."