Perhaps the greatest of all hangout films, Hawks’s western stars John Wayne as John T. Chance, a sheriff who enlists the help of the town drunk, Dude (Dean Martin), in arresting an ill-intentioned gunslinger. But when the outlaw’s brother and his gang make clear their plans to spring him, Chance and Dude look to over-the-hill Stumpy (Walter Brennan) and brash young cowboy Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson) to assist them in fending off the bad guys until proper reinforcements can arrive. Much of the most colorful and charming passages in Rio Bravo come while killing time before the final showdown, scenes rich with an altogether different kind of action: the forging of bonds between men.
“Released a year apart, Vertigo and Rio Bravo were the last two great Hollywood classics. Each one is imbued, within the framework of a genre film, with all the modernity of the cinema that was yet to come. This swan song features one of the most beautiful guitar-playing scenes in all of cinema.” —BB