Unforgiven

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 148 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 148

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User Reviews

  1. Weepstah
    Jan 4, 2003
    10
    A wonderfully complex take on western mythos. There are really only a few "innocents" in the picture, and they get handled quite roughly. Black/White labels don't stick very well here and the idea that the showdown between Munney and Dagget is your classic good guy/bad guy item is totally ludicrous. A great screenplay, and Clint made sure to bring it to fruition with the cast, A wonderfully complex take on western mythos. There are really only a few "innocents" in the picture, and they get handled quite roughly. Black/White labels don't stick very well here and the idea that the showdown between Munney and Dagget is your classic good guy/bad guy item is totally ludicrous. A great screenplay, and Clint made sure to bring it to fruition with the cast, cinematography and music. The greatest western I've ever seen, it deserved every award it got. Expand
  2. PatC.
    Jan 6, 2004
    10
    Uses the flexible morality of the wild west for a character study of a serial killer. The prostitutes, hired hands, outsiders - all are cliche characters, but where the elements that ring true are emphasized. Eastwood not only atones for all the conscienceless gunslingers he played, but issues a mandate to take him seriously. The result is soaring allegory, presented in the familiar Uses the flexible morality of the wild west for a character study of a serial killer. The prostitutes, hired hands, outsiders - all are cliche characters, but where the elements that ring true are emphasized. Eastwood not only atones for all the conscienceless gunslingers he played, but issues a mandate to take him seriously. The result is soaring allegory, presented in the familiar natural setting that is Hollywood's longstanding version of frontier life. An essential classic of the western genre, and a milepost of where it ultimately took us. Expand
  3. GilbertMulroneycakes
    Sep 30, 2002
    10
    Easily the best western since Wild Bunch, and one of the best Westerns in history.
  4. LuisL.
    Apr 16, 2006
    10
    in my opinion unforgiven is the best film of all times.
  5. Stung47000
    Jan 20, 2009
    10
    One of the greatest westerns ever made. Suburb acting from a perfect cast. Fantastic yet realistic storyline.
  6. BitB
    Oct 22, 2006
    10
    Beautifully crafted, supremely acted, a modern western like no other! One of Eastwood's best; right up there along The Good, The Bad & The Ugly even though so different.
  7. mickh
    Jan 24, 2009
    10
    Absolutely outstanding, the best of the west.
  8. MikeS.
    Jul 23, 2006
    10
    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is certainly a great western with many philosophical layers. It is a thinking-man's movie.
  9. JoshC
    Jan 16, 2007
    10
    The miraculous resurrection of a genre that expired in the mid 70's. Unforgiven is a great western that harks back to 1776 to define the American character and illuminates the territory for miles around.
  10. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    Hey, what do you know, it's Clint Eastwood's least depressing movie! :D (and a damn fine Western at that). It truly deserves to live alongside John Ford's finest films.
  11. Aug 2, 2011
    10
    Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. That is all you need for an outstanding movie. Well ofcourse all the other movie elements are there on an above average level, although I`m pretty sure it would still be a great flick without them. This movie presents a simple story about vengence and that`s it. You don`t need much more than that to make a western. But this story shows moreClint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. That is all you need for an outstanding movie. Well ofcourse all the other movie elements are there on an above average level, although I`m pretty sure it would still be a great flick without them. This movie presents a simple story about vengence and that`s it. You don`t need much more than that to make a western. But this story shows more to it when we see the movie. A broken drunkard who turns out to be the devil himself, his friend who got himself found in the wrong time and the wrong place and an aggressive gun tootin` cowboy who doesn`t really get it. Faced by a Sherriff who thinks he knows what is good and what is bad. Like every ten rated movie, this one has its own legendary scene - a saloon scene I`ve never seen in any other western movie. It is a story of the wild wild west, where hardly anyone was a real hero. There are no real heroes and there are no real villains. Expand
  12. Jul 18, 2011
    10
    A straightforward revisionist western layered with provoking themes and well-developed characters that sometimes has you questioning who to be pulling for. Clint Eastwood is retired from the evil life he used to lead until he is called upon to do what appears to be right, for the right price. The always wonderful Morgan Freeman tags along for the ride. Gene Hackman is your John WayneA straightforward revisionist western layered with provoking themes and well-developed characters that sometimes has you questioning who to be pulling for. Clint Eastwood is retired from the evil life he used to lead until he is called upon to do what appears to be right, for the right price. The always wonderful Morgan Freeman tags along for the ride. Gene Hackman is your John Wayne character here. No nonsense, tough as nails lawman with a history in making things go his way. Not only one of the greatest westerns of all time, but one of the greatest films as well. Expand
  13. Apr 1, 2012
    10
    First off, this would be a 9.5 out of 10. Great western film. Acting is good. Morgan is good, and Clint is really good. Score all right. Story is amazing. A great tale of the wild, old west. Action is also well done. Overall, unforgiven is great. It is best picture material, and one of the best westerns. You have to see this movie.
  14. Nov 14, 2013
    10
    Seriously great movie.

    From everything, to the message, to the characters, to the dialogue, to the directing, to the Morgan Freeman Unforgiven does everything nearly perfect.

    If you have to see one Clint Eastwood or one western in your life see Unforgiven, amazing film through and through.
  15. Jul 22, 2011
    9
    clint eastwood has been long known for doing alot of great western movies in the old days and its been along time since we seen him in one . now he comes out with unforgiven which is reminisance of the old westerns with a new twist and take on it . alot more story driven with well devolped charicters and yet we still get that bad ass gun slinger out of eastwood that we remember from him .clint eastwood has been long known for doing alot of great western movies in the old days and its been along time since we seen him in one . now he comes out with unforgiven which is reminisance of the old westerns with a new twist and take on it . alot more story driven with well devolped charicters and yet we still get that bad ass gun slinger out of eastwood that we remember from him . its a good way for him to end his western film roles. he didnt go out with a wimper but a nice bang. Expand
  16. Dec 15, 2012
    9
    Unforgiven is the best western ever made. I'm not a fan of the genre, but this movie is just flat-out brilliant. It has great acting, writing and photography. It makes you think about perceptions of good and evil... And it has one of the most badass climaxes ever!
  17. Aug 16, 2011
    9
    This is the best western I've seen. Very good history, very good actors and a very good film. One of the best movies I've seen too. And the final confrontation is epic.
  18. Nov 2, 2015
    8
    A beautifully crafted western, Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood working at his very best as a director and an actor. The film is well-paced, well-directed, and well-acted on all accounts, especially Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Jaimz Woolvet. Freeman is also good here, as is Richard Harris. The cinematography throughout is beautifully done and really captures the Western feel necessary for thisA beautifully crafted western, Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood working at his very best as a director and an actor. The film is well-paced, well-directed, and well-acted on all accounts, especially Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Jaimz Woolvet. Freeman is also good here, as is Richard Harris. The cinematography throughout is beautifully done and really captures the Western feel necessary for this one. In addition, the writing is great and the characters are all really well crafted and fleshed out. For as many characters as there were, it was never hard to identify what made them tick. It is not hard to understand why Unforgiven is so well liked by many, as it is definitely one of, if not the, best westerns of recent memory and features a more modern Eastwood reminding us why we love him in the saddle so much. Overall, Unforgiven is a great western film that features all of the elements you love from the best westerns and just presents it to a modern audience. Expand
  19. Sep 24, 2015
    8
    Eastwood is a something of a chronicler of the American mind and nothing is so typical American as the western and perhaps nothing has changed so much over the decades as the western. And Eastwood was not only there to witness it, but in a way he was part of the change and might have even had a certain influence on it. For as the western changed, so did the roles Eastwood played in them.Eastwood is a something of a chronicler of the American mind and nothing is so typical American as the western and perhaps nothing has changed so much over the decades as the western. And Eastwood was not only there to witness it, but in a way he was part of the change and might have even had a certain influence on it. For as the western changed, so did the roles Eastwood played in them. From the young impetuous Rowdy Yates in Rawhide, to the cynical anti-hero Nobody in the movies of Sergio Leone, to the even darker William "Will" Munn in Unforgiven. Munn might even been seen as a kind of aged Nobody, as Nobody might be seen as cynical version of the Rowdy Yates character.

    Unforgiven is a movie where black and white have melted together into a kind of muck color. The classical conflict between good and bad that was at the heart of the early westerns, where order was established out of the chaos by a single good man, never really occurs here because there is no such conflict and there is no such man.

    The story starts when a lady of the night giggles at a man's small pecker, in return he cuts her up with a knife. The owner of the establishment gets reimbursed for the damaged goods and loss of income, for a hooker with a ruined face doesn't sell, but the victim herself gets nothing for her pains. The sheriff, played by Gene Hackman, deems reimbursing to be good enough and leaves it at that.

    The prostitutes hit back by putting out a sum of a thousand dollars on the heads of the cowboy and his friend. The money is the macguffin that makes the story go.
    Enter various gunmen who want to collect on the bounty. One of them is Munn. Munn at first refused to go when asked by the Schofield Kid, but destitute as he is, and with two kids to feed and no wife to help out, he teams up with his old friend Ned and the Schofield Kid, a young man that boast of being deadly killer, for something that is basically an assassination job.
    The sheriff doesn't hold kindly to the murders that drift into town and makes a point of getting this across by disarming them and beating them senseless.

    Nothing is neat and nice.The sheriff is hardly any better than the killers, roughing up any who defy his rules, even unwittingly, and he isn't even above killing to make clear who is the law.
    Dying has lost all nobility. In the spaghetti western most people conveniently die with a shot or two, in this one cowboy gets it in the gut causing a prolonged anguished death struggle.

    Alcohol is the sign here.
    When the movie starts Munn has been sober for ten years. When the Schofield Kid ask Munn how it was in the old days, he answers that he wouldn't know because he was drunk all the time. The sheriff tells to a writer how a famous gun fight was actually nothing but an exchange of shots fired between totally pissed gunmen, one of whom shot his own toe off before being finished off by the winner, who ambled so close to his target that he couldn't possibly miss.
    The killing gets to everyone and alcohol makes it possible: it is the sedater of choice.

    Perhaps this is as it was or perhaps not, but Eastwood never moralizes or explains. The movie is introduced by a voice reading out a text that scrolls over the screen at the same time. It feels like a page from a history book. The movie ends that way as well.

    With Unforgiven the western has probably hit rock bottom.
    It is the darkest of westerns.
    This might be closer to history than any of the other westerns he played in.
    Who knows.
    It might not be.
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  20. Dec 10, 2013
    8
    Eastwood was consecrated by movies westerns, but only two ever had total control and chances to impose their point of view before starting the review is important to note, DIRECTOR CLINT EASTWOOD is much more sensitive and emotional than the actor clint esatwood, so in short: it creates a film that reflects on the violence contained in the westers spent dealing with more realistic andEastwood was consecrated by movies westerns, but only two ever had total control and chances to impose their point of view before starting the review is important to note, DIRECTOR CLINT EASTWOOD is much more sensitive and emotional than the actor clint esatwood, so in short: it creates a film that reflects on the violence contained in the westers spent dealing with more realistic and dramatic way, that alone would be worth it to watch the movie together as their performances, but perhaps his only problem is his swelling principamelte late in the first and following up for the second act, yet it is given. Expand
  21. Jul 25, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. When you think about Western Genre films, three things come to mind: gold-hearted heroes, black-hearted villains, and lots of action. This film reviewed here blurs those distinctions and leave the audience slightly unsettled in their stereotypical convictions. Unforgiven (1992) looks like a Western. It has many of the conventions of a Western. But it doesn't feel like one. The plot is saturated with moral ambiguity. The sheriff doesn’t act like the archetypical good guy, and the audience is inclined to root for the villains. There truly is only one gunfight and it is at the climax of the movie. All other shootouts are assassinations; dirty business atypical of western films. The violence is brutal and unpleasant to watch. If there is such a thing as a Noir-style Western, this is it. It shows the dark side of humanity in the old west. In fact, the film shows many dark sides: prostitution, cruelty to women, bold-faced lying, assassination of unarmed men, and merciless beatings.
    Clint Eastwood plays William Munny, a retired gunman trying to raise his motherless children on a failing pig farm when he is approached for 'one last job' and the promise of a cash bounty on a pair of cowpokes who disfigured a young prostitute. He rides to the town of Little Big Whiskey with his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett). The small town of Big Whiskey is a typical frontier place, with a saloon, a whorehouse, and a few other small businesses. It is mercilessly controlled by incorruptible Sheriff “Little Bill” Daggett (Gene Hackman). The story is through the viewpoint of William Munny, he is naturally the most sympathetic character. It is important not to forget, however, that he is a seasoned killer who, in his day, murdered women and children in cold blood. And, while Little Bill may have a streak of cruelty running through his veins, he's a man of justice. One of Unforgiven's attractions is the way it overturns conventions, taking the man who is typically the hero and making him the villain, while transforming the traditional bad guy into a sympathetic protagonist. Initially, Munny fights against being drawn back into his old ways, insisting that "I'm not the same person" but, in the end, he reverts to what he was.

    Some viewers would want to believe he can change. From their standpoint, it's a sad transformation. The film’s climactic gunfight, which in many Westerns would be a moment of triumph, plays out with a note of unhappiness and morbid acceptance. Lawmen die and the killer rides out free. Those in the audience who thought they would see a western version of “Dirty Harry,” whose character persona was the embodiment of violence without consequences, a shoot-first, ask-questions-later mentality, were shocked to see Eastwood’s Unforgiven illustrating there is real consequences to violence permanent moral penalties that a person lives with for the rest of his life. The only flaw to this line of thought is that Munny later becomes a successful storekeeper. How would that be possible for this regressed killer?
    Clint Eastwood served as producer, director, and star, and had essentially complete control of the project. He won Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director, and was nominated for Best Actor. Gene Hackman won as Best Supporting Actor, and there was an Oscar for Best Casting.
    Unforgiven, with its ethical complexity, could not have been made in the 1940s, 1950s or even the 1960s. It utterly destroys the romanticized myths of the old west.
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  22. Sep 21, 2010
    7
    Danalek How much does this movie rely on the degree of violence depicted? Remove the violence and what is left? All the conscientious analyses cannot hide the truth: here he is again, director-producer-actor Squint Eastwood shooting his way through another extravaganza of gratuitous killing, and he, as always, decides who will die and who will be spared. Only American audiences acceptDanalek How much does this movie rely on the degree of violence depicted? Remove the violence and what is left? All the conscientious analyses cannot hide the truth: here he is again, director-producer-actor Squint Eastwood shooting his way through another extravaganza of gratuitous killing, and he, as always, decides who will die and who will be spared. Only American audiences accept such slop as a cinematic mastery. Future generations will regard Eastwood as a purveyor of disturbed themes aimed always at box office success. Time he retired... Expand
  23. YoonC.
    Sep 21, 2003
    5
    "Do you use your hand?" asks Freeman of Eastwood. Imagine how the Duke would have responded to someone asking about what he does with his pud. But, then it's a REVISIONIST western(and it finally explains why Eastwood's been squinting so much thru all his movies). Ah, one of those things, that purports to demythify the West and tell us something about the true nature of violence. "Do you use your hand?" asks Freeman of Eastwood. Imagine how the Duke would have responded to someone asking about what he does with his pud. But, then it's a REVISIONIST western(and it finally explains why Eastwood's been squinting so much thru all his movies). Ah, one of those things, that purports to demythify the West and tell us something about the true nature of violence. So, we get people getting shot followed by long sermons. The movie works on two levels. On the basic level it's Clint Eastwood killing Gene Hackman as Pat Buchanan and hogging all the oscars from Hollywood community. On the other hand, it's a movie that suggests moral outrage is often just an excuse, a specious rationalization for the outlet of our naturally aggressive and murderous behavior. So, all those who rooted for Eastwood's avenging of Freeman has fallen into the trap of justifying violence thru moral outrage. But, the film lacks the conviction of either intention and is about as fun as chewing on stale tobacco. Eastwood, a workman like director, a decent craftsman, has been way overpraised by the French and the likes of Dave Kehr as a major auteur. Granted, his kind of classic filmmaking is a lost art but was it ever much to begin with? Expand
  24. Aug 9, 2014
    4
    Unforgiven is a boring, meandering effort from Eastwood. It goes between the two plot lines but never really makes it interesting. The script is a bit cliché, and it tries too hard to impress everyone, especially the Academy. I'm very surprised that it won Best Picture, but at the same time, I'm not surprised.
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Julie Salamon
    100
    It's powerful entertainment. [22 Sept 1992, p.A16(E)]
  2. Christian Science Monitor
    Reviewed by: David Sterritt
    75
    Plays out its drama with enough old-fashioned sobriety to lend the proceedings a classical air, offering the comfort of familiarity rather than the thrill of discovery. [13 Aug 1992]
  3. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    It's the actor/director's best movie - and the best Western by anybody in over 20 years. [7 Aug 1992]