Wild Bill (1995) - Action, Biography, Western

Hohum Score



The early career of legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickock is telescoped and culminates in his relocation in Deadwood and a reunion with Calamity Jane.

IMDB: 5.9
Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Ellen Barkin
Length: 98 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 11 out of 58 found boring (18.96%)

One-line Reviews (41)

The casting of John Hurt, Bruce Dern and Ellen Barkin is commendable--they provide fascinating screen time that adds to the credibility.

The film illuminates some of the most exciting and legendary characters of the untamed American West.

Well…you get something that's exciting, brutal, nasty and short – and very little of it truthful.

Utter confusion.

The story is simplified and repetitive.

If you want a classic Western flick and non-stop action, you may find it slow.

At it's best it's entertaining and evokes the gritty world of the old west in the latter part of the 19th century.

All of those elements make Wild Bill an entertaining Western film that is Walter Hill and Jeff Bridges at their best.

Wild Bill is a dark, moody Western about the last days of legendary lawman James Butler Hickock that sometimes shows off its true colors (by that, I mean its riveting action sequences, not its appearance) but suffers from a disorganized screenplay, some dull characters, an imperfect running time, and while it's not a bad Western, it's not a great one either.

Bill, in other words, walks around with his own little propaganda machine, his circle of fawning friends all busy mythologising him.

Bruce Dern yells (yawn).

I avoided watching the film due to its reputation but I finally got around to the movie and I must admit that I found it to be incredibly entertaining on a number of levels.

Christina Applegate is stunning in a small role as the messed-up kid's girlfriend while Keith Carradine and Bruce Dern have glorified cameos.

Top of My Worst Movies of the '90s .

Some of the film is in flashback, which is seen in startling black-and-white and mainly features Diane Lane, who is flat-out gorgeous and maybe the most intriguing person in the film.

"Worth watching, ultimately, because if it's a legend it's still an exciting one.

They slow it down.

At this point, it pretty much abandons history which is bad enough, but also cinematic fluency, of which Hill is a master: it becomes static, talky, dreary, and completely loses its momentum.

"Wild Bill" offers an unattractive and dreary Wild West because it focuses on the last sad days of a legend.

This is thus a film best appreciated by those familiar with and completely bored by the western genre.

It's a riveting look at the ex gunslinger, anchored by Hill's focused, un characteristically moody approach to the material.

This film has a major flaw: nothing happens!

Now I'm not going to go into a tirade how inaccurate the movie was historically, but you'd think with the cast they had paid damned good money to take part in the movie that they would have found a way to tell Wild Bill's story in a more factual yet exciting way that keeps the nuance of the Romantic Western Period in tact.

I have to say that this was an entirely entertaining film, with elements of story telling and filming technique that go beyond the formulaic and ordinary.

There were too many black-and-white flashback scenes, which I've seen many done better many times before in other films, that dragged on and slowed the movie down for me.

Still, the hand and gun bouts are fully charged with adrenaline, and there's a genuine feel for these sad, meandering people that recalls strong sections from other westerns, particularly "McCabe and Mrs. Miller".

When we look at the title character Wild Bill we get a brief but fascinating look into his life as a person of many things in his life such as being a lawman,gunfighter,buffalo hunter,folk hero and gambler.

I would very much recommend this film to all fans of Hickock or Westerns generally, as it certainly has its entertaining moments, even if the presentation is not all it could be.

Kind of weird that the movie jumps back and forth between grainy bland and white and color.

So find it rent it sit back and watch one of the most enjoyable movies of all time.

A sloppy cat and mouse game ensues as McCall calls in reinforcements to deal with Hickock but this only serves to provide more cannon fodder for Bill to waste in a rousing stable shootout since like most of the incidentals in Wild Bill this does not even remotely approach the history.

Because this is a thrilling tale: of a man who was in fact a legend in his own time (like Buffalo Bill, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and many others), and of a man who obviously didn't relate too well with people in general.

It's a slow, groggy piece, all sense of showmanship and glory stripped away from his life in favour of an agonizing existence at the end of his road, surrounded by few friends and memories fading along with his legacy.

Decent, but dreary detailing of Wild Bill's last days .

The score by Van Dyke Parks is effective,beautiful and gripping,with Parks scoring matching the tone of the movie.

This film has great actors, locations, action (which is meaningless thanks to lack of story), and the director was well known and respected.

He didn't stand for the abused son, he stood for the randomness of frontier violence, where booze, pride, stupidity and a culture of pointless aggression could easily spell an ambush murder like McCall's.

The Action and gunfights in the film are thrilling and intense going along with the Western tone of the movie as Walter Hill can do.

I just found it great fun, an entertaining film that's always a kick to view, and what more you can ask?

It was slow as westerns go and that was a fine set of guns Wild Bill had.

But ultimately, Wild Bill is just too slow and kind of a disappointment.