Friday, 15 February 2013


1972, Sydney Pollack, 116 mins.

A mountain man becomes a legendary Indian fighter.

Robert Redford’s iconic presence dominates Sydney Pollack’s Jeremiah Johnson, a mountain-man Western, and adds immeasurably to its success. Johnson is a man of few words and only an actor with Redford’s charisma could carry off this decidedly oblique character.  The narrative, told against the backdrop of epic vistas, proceeds largely through encounters with Indians and various eccentrics, including the great Will Geer as an old-timer. John Milius wrote the screenplay for the film and although it was revised, it still contains numerous Milius touches – notably the nature of myth and the primal need for man to prove himself against nature. The attitude to the Indians is ambiguous and this was apparently deliberate on the part of the filmmakers. Sometimes the film becomes sentimental, particularly in the scenes with the squaw wife, but on the whole it’s compelling, entertaining and memorable.


  1. A wonderful film. Redford was very good in westerns; although he's probably best remembered in the genre for Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, he did superior work in this movie and Tell Them Willie Boy is Here.

  2. Indeed he did. I'm not a fan of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to put it mildly.

  3. I know you're not a fan of "Butch", but I don't mind it - I think it has a certain charm, more related to the era in which it was made than to the genre it occupies. However, I certainly don't see that it's deserving of the high rating as a western that some have afforded it over the years. It's an entertaining movie, but it's a long, long way from being one of the great westerns.