Starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Angie Dickinson with direction by Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo is a great western. A sheriff (Wayne) is faced with a difficult task. He must hold a prisoner in jail while the man’s buddies stake out all around town. His only help is the town drunk (Martin) and a crippled old man (Brennan). To make matters more complicated he takes interest in the new girl in town (Dickinson) and to top it off an old friend is shot (Ward Bond). Despite the odds and adversary, the sheriff stays tough and keeps the prisoner. Furthermore, the deputies all prove their value, including a young sharpshooter (Nelson). With a great cast and storyline, this movie is well worth watching. Howard Hawks does it again teaming up with John Wayne in the western genre.
Most any western with John Wayne is easily watchable, but this film boasts a extraordinary cast including some mainstays of the genre including Brennan and Ward Bond. However, you also have some other stars that you do not associate with westerns. Namely Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson, and Ricky Nelson. Each one delivers a fun, likable, and even moving performance.
This western has been allegedly labeled as an answer to High Noon since that tale was supposed to be an allegory for the McCarthy era in Hollywood. That aside the western elements are certainly good and it is an entertaining set piece.
All of this is great, but any film can have this. Rio Bravo has great little sequences interspersed through the action that make you chuckle or really appreciate the characters. It is hard not to like John Wayne because he is larger than life. Here the rest of the cast also is good even down to lesser supporting players. The names are great too! John T. Chance, Dude, Feathers, Colorada, and of course good ol’ Stumpy.