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Directed by Howard Hawks

United States 1959 141 mins.

John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson team up in this idiosyncratic take on the “singing cowboy” Western from the ever-versatile Howard Hawks. When aging Sheriff John T. Chance (Wayne), who oversees a very small, unnamed Western town, arrests and jails accused murderer Joe Burdette (Claude Akins), Burdette’s brother Nathan vows revenge and hires guns with the intention of breaking Joe out. Chance, knowing he will be unable to hold off the Burdette clan, enlists Stumpy (Walter Brennan), his faithful deputy, Dude (Martin), the town drunk with demons to spare, and Colorado Ryan (Nelson), a young gunslinger with much to prove, to help him with the Burdette problem. Meanwhile, Feathers (Angie Dickinson), a beautiful local innkeeper, becomes increasingly involved in Chance’s affairs, much to his not-so-reluctant chagrin. As a showdown with the Burdettes looms, Chance is forced to evaluate his place and what kind of life he wants to live. “To watch Rio Bravo is to see a master craftsman at work. The film is seamless. There is not a shot that is wrong. It is uncommonly absorbing.”—Roger Ebert.