The Bravados, Jim Douglass (Gregory Peck) has been relentlessly pursuing the four outlaws who murdered his wife, but finds them in jail about to be hanged. While he waits to witness their execution, they escape; and the townspeople enlist Douglas’ aid to recapture them.
A Western with soul, inner conflict, and surprises
“The Bravados” is a Western story of crime, revenge, justice, wrongs, love lost and regained, and redemption. It’s based on a novel by Frank O’Rourke. Peck plays Jim Douglass, who is pursuing the killers of his wife. He arrives in a town in which four outlaws he has been trailing for six months are in jail and awaiting hanging the next day. To say more about the plot would take away some of the power of the story. Suffice it to say that the movie has some surprises, and various characters that fit in Douglass’s life before. It has a fine supporting cast including Joan Collins, Stephen Boyd, Albert Salmi, Henry Silva, Lee Van Cleef, Andrew Duggan and more.
The Bravados, Gregory Peck may have played more roles of characters with soul and/or in conflict than any other actor. All were excellent. He received an Academy award nomination for only his second film in which he played a missionary priest in “The Keys of the Kingdom” of 1944. In 1947 he played a journalist who pretends to be Jewish to experience and then expose the prejudice of anti-Semitism in areas of New England, especially among the blue bloods. In “Twelve O’Clock High” of 1949 he is an Army Air Force officer during WW II. He plays an ex-soldier in “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” of 1956 who struggles with his past. The Bravados, he plays a Southern attorney in the 1962 film, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” for which he won the best actor Oscar.
A number of his other films have morality and ethical themes and struggles. This Western movie, “The Bravados” of 1958, is an exceptional film in that category. It belongs in any library of Western films.