Tombstone (1993)

Action, Drama, History, Romance, Western
Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton
A successful lawman's plans to retire anonymously in Tombstone, Arizona, are disrupted by the kind of outlaws he was famous for eliminating.
  • Buena Vista Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 25 Dec 1993 Released:
  • 02 Dec 1997 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Kevin Jarre Writer:
  • George P. Cosmatos Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Kilmer Steals The Show, But A Fine Show It Is10/10
A terrific Western- a thoughtful screenplay - uniformly fine performances - Russell has never been better - quality widescreen cinematography - and a knockout character performance by Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday that should have won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. This is a winner all the way.

Kilmer has only 31 scenes but manages to steal every one of them with a solid, beautifully thought and felt impersonation of a Southern gentleman, owing a bit to Tennessee Williams' famous drawl. His constantly drunken state - "I have two guns, one for each of you." -and his slow, sad death from tuberculosis - are masterworks of acting technique. Even if you don't like westerns, see it for his remarkable performance.
A Terrific Homage to Classic Westerns!5/10

TOMBSTONE, one of two epic westerns about Wyatt Earp released within a few months of each other (1993-94) lacks the lyrical, 'warts-and-all' quality of Kevin Costner's WYATT EARP, but is a more successful film, with tighter pacing, more clearly drawn characters, and a reverence to the genre that has made it the most popular Western of the last twenty years.

From the opening scene, narrated by the legendary Robert Mitchum, a nod to the great Hollywood Westerns of the past is evident; a gang of outlaws calling themselves 'The Cowboys' break up a Mexican wedding in a small town, ruthlessly killing nearly all the men, including village priest Pedro Armendariz Jr. (son of the legendary Western actor), in a scene reminiscent of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, and THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Led by two of Hollywood's flashiest character actors, swaggering Powers Boothe, and coldly psychotic Michael Biehn (playing Johnny Ringo), the presence of such pure evil sets the stage for the Earps' arrival in Tombstone.

A powerful cast is essential for a great Western, and you couldn't find a better group of actors as the Earp brothers; Kurt Russell, chiseled, squinty-eyed, and razor-thin, is an ideal Wyatt; Sam Elliott, one of Hollywood's best Western actors, plays Virgil with a growl but a twinkle in his eye; and Bill Paxton, soon to achieve stardom in APOLLO 13 and TWISTER, makes a terrific Morgan. Then there is Val Kilmer, as Doc Holliday...While Dennis Quaid, in WYATT EARP, gave the most realistic portrayal of the dying dentist-turned-gambler/gunfighter ever recorded on film (he was superb), Kilmer, relying on bloodshot eyes, an ambiguous sexuality, and a Brando-esque line delivery, literally steals TOMBSTONE, and has become the 'Doc' everyone remembers. He is so charismatic that you nearly forget that the Earps are the focus of the story! Watch for his early scene confronting a shotgun-wielding (and chubby!) Billy Bob Thornton (three years before SLING BLADE), out to kill Wyatt, and you'll see my point.

The events leading up to the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral are clearly and decisively presented, from Wyatt's first meeting with future wife Josie (Dana Delany), to the murder of Tombstone's Marshal (Harry Carey, Jr., son of another legendary Western star, and a staple of many John Ford films), which leads to Virgil taking the badge and making his brothers (in Wyatt's case, reluctantly) deputies, to the friction with Ike Clanton (GODS AND GENERALS' Stephen Lang) that explodes into the short but bloody shootout that became legendary.

Where TOMBSTONE and WYATT EARP both excel is in presenting the aftermath of the gunfight. Unlike MY DARLING CLEMENTINE or GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, the true story doesn't tie up neatly with a happy ending at the Corral, but becomes darker and bloodier. The Earps are placed under house arrest, and after they are acquitted in court, friends of Clanton (in TOMBSTONE, Ringo and other Cowboys), cold-bloodedly murder Morgan and cripple Virgil. Wyatt explodes, and grimly sets about, with Holiday and a small band of gunmen, to execute every possible Clanton ally he can find ("You tell him I'm coming! And hell's coming with me!"). Becoming a wanted fugitive himself, he only stops his mission of vengeance long enough to take the ailing Holiday to a friend's cabin (Charlton Heston has a brief but memorable cameo as the rancher), but the gambler returns in time for the gunblazing climax of the film.

TOMBSTONE is the kind of Western that critics love to say aren't made anymore, a throwback to the golden days of Ford and Hawks, when Good and Evil were clearly defined. Director George P. Cosmatos grew up on those films, as well as those of Sergio Leone, and he said, of TOMBSTONE, that it was made to honor the Westerns he loved so much.

It is his love of the Western that makes TOMBSTONE a truly superior film!





Very enjoyable8/10

I decided to watch 'Tombstone' as there was nothing else on, and I am so glad I did.

Conforming as I do to the stereotypical 'female who does not like Westerns' it was mainly Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer that drew me in.

Not knowing much about the 'OK Corral' I envisioned a long drawn out gunfight scene somewhere out in the desert. To discover it happened in the middle of town was only one of the educational experiences.

Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp gives a strong portrayal of a man who didn't want to get involved until circumstances gave him no option.

However, the movie does 'belong' to Val Kilmer. He gave a real sense of fatalism as 'Doc' Holliday, wanting to die in a blaze of gunfire rather than fading away from tuberculosis.

A great view of the Wild West.
Exciting story of a heroic man in the midst of many foes.5/10

I loved this movie so much I bought it right after seeing it the first time. The acting is incredible in this film. I'm not a huge Kurt Russell fan, but he played his role very well. Among others, I consider this one of Val Kilmer's best performances. Even if your not a Western fan (like me), you'll still at least enjoy this film. Excellent lighting, cinematography and sound design. Intense pacing and story telling. All the classic elements of good guys and bad guys. Great story development and plot buildup. You have to see it at least once.
The Good Wyatt Earp Film9/10

Proof that westerns can be fun, Tombstone delivers an action-adventure popcorn movie that doesn't have to be campy and one-dimensional to be enjoyable. Here, Wyatt Earp biography is told like a fable. Sure, the facts are often recalculated in this film. But this is not looking to give a straight-on accurate view of Wyatt Earp's life. This is trying to take a man's life as a basis and then add to it to make a cinematic joyride. As opposed to the overlong and plodding "Wyatt Earp," this film decides to have a good time with the story and not get too bogged down in the misery. Kurt Russell is powerful as awful, and no man can deny that Val Kilmer, in his finest performance to date, was fully due for an Oscar nomination, if not an Oscar win. And Michael Biehn also gives a first rate performance as the sadistic Johnny Ringo. This is a thrill ride for anyone who loves westerns, or a good film to try to get others to start watching westerns.