Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. 75
    What makes the movie absorbing is the way it harmonizes all the character strands and traits and weaves them into something more engaging than a mere 1-2-3 plot. I felt like I did in "Lonesome Dove" -- that there was a chair for me on the porch.
  2. 75
    Westerns often take themselves seriously and, while Appaloosa is no "Blazing Saddles," there's a refreshing vein of understated humor running throughout the production.
  3. A throwback to the age when Westerns were quaint.
  4. 75
    Beautifully photographed by Dean Semler, Appaloosa is the best Western since "Open Range" and shows there's still life in this most unfashionable of genres.
  5. 88
    Appaloosa is gripping entertainment that keeps springing surprises.
  6. 25
    Played for Maverick-like comedy, the film might have coasted on Harris and Mortensen's dialogue. But played straight it's both dull and preposterous.
  7. Though the leads do fine work, their efforts often feel slightly futile. Despite a few flashes of the darker tone percolating under the surface, the movie remains too well-mannered to truly pull us in.
  8. Mannered, episodic and slow.
  9. 75
    A warmly made, slightly offbeat movie about friendly devotion. It also happens to be a western, and every man in it is grizzled or wizened or both.
  10. The two men collaborate so well, in fact, that the real love match of Appaloosa is between the two of them and no one else.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Harris is a major asset in a film that is entertaining but somewhat unfocused and occasionally badly cast.
  12. 67
    We've heard tell about the rebirth of the Western at least since Clint Eastwood's vicious, "Unforgiven" 16 years ago, but since the genre never truly died in the first place there's no need to flog that horse here.
  13. 67
    As with many other mediocre actor-directors, Harris' attention to the performances, including his own fine turn, has cost him in other areas.
  14. This isn't a visionary western like "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" (2005), but in its own quiet way it delivers the goods.
  15. 50
    If Appaloosa is something to look at, it's also unnecessarily lethargic. Even an intentionally slow-paced picture needs to have its own internal source of energy, and as a filmmaker, Harris can't quite get that motor running.
  16. 60
    The movie's tolerant, good-humored view of its characters drains it of some dramatic intensity, but Mr. Harris seems more interested in piquant, offhand moments than in big, straining confrontations.
  17. It's less a western than a loping buddy picture.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Harris' first directorial outing since his impressive and entirely different "Pollock" biopic bears echoes of many genre predecessors, especially Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo" -- but echoes they remain.
  19. Appaloosa wobbles and wanders, promising to take a fresh look at those old myths, only to lapse back into weary convention.
  20. First and last, Appaloosa is the slow-but-sure story of the friendship between Virgil and Everett, one a man of action surprised by emotion, the other a man of emotion surprised by action.
  21. 88
    Goes down like a single-malt aged for 25 years.
  22. A fine dramatic comedy with fresh characters, witty dialogue and a keen interest in how relationships must have developed among frontier folks, tyrannical ranchers, no-nonsense lawmen and -- oh, yes -- the complicated women on that frontier.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    It's good to spend time with a movie that takes its time. Granted, Harris doesn't advance the genre; instead he burrows into it, finds a home there, as one might retreat to musty library stacks, where old pleasures and treasures await.
  24. An old-fashioned Western with all the classic elements -- buddy loyalty, stalwart heroes, despicable villains, plenty of gunfights and marvelous wind-scoured desert landscapes -- marked by some modern ideas about relationships.
  25. 75
    It turns out to be a satisfying, if occasionally wandering, adventure.
  26. 70
    In all, Appaloosa is good as far as it goes--everything in it feels true--but I wish that Harris had pushed his ideas further.
  27. Most of the time, the movie is appropriately gritty and plenty engaging.
  28. If you're an actual adult who likes old-school Westerns, this won't disappoint you.
  29. Reviewed by: Matthew Sorrento
    The romantic subplot dovetails wonderfully with Harris' tribute to the genre's golden age. The moral quest of taming the West always thrived if a lady could be won in tandem.
  30. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Harris and his collaborators are playing it straight with a timeless male fantasy--horse, hat, six-shooter--a traditional approach that will please moviegoers like my dad and yours.
  31. Reviewed by: Mike Mayo
    Harris and Mortensen may not have the combined star power to push Appaloosa to the level of popularity of last year's "3:10," but the film is every bit as enjoyable, and, for traditionalists, more measured.
  32. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    As director, Harris takes this classical sense of the western too far, though, until it seems that the movie is carefully trying to keep the genre alive.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 79 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 37
  2. Negative: 18 out of 37
  1. Oct 7, 2013
    The biggest flaw of the film is that it doesn't go anywhere. You sit through a 2 hour film and expect something but sadly there is nothing here with Appaloosa. The acting is average, The plot is painfully generic and boring, and it fails to keep you interested or entertained at all. I would not recommend. Full Review »
  2. Aug 20, 2013
    Appaloosa is one of my favorite westerns ever made (along with Unforgiven and Shane). The cinematography is beautiful, the acting is fantastic and the gun-play is exciting. It also has one of the best climactic quick-draws in movie history. from start to finish, Appaloosa is western perfection. Full Review »
  3. Jan 6, 2013
    The story focuses on the relationship between Cole and Hitch, and what affect the (rather flighty) Mrs Fitch has on it. I actually quite liked this aspect of the plot; it gave the characters some realism, something that many westerns lack. All the performances from the main cast were excellent; in particular Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen, who takes the prize for the best beard and moustache combo I Full Review »