Rio Bravo Arrives On 4K Ultra HD

L-R: Ricky Nelson, John Wayne, and Dean Martin in Rio Bravo. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Rio Bravo gets the 4K Ultra HD upgrade after the film’s 4K restoration premiered earlier this year at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Working in partnership with The Film Foundation, Rio Bravo was restored and remastered by Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services: Motion Picture Imaging and Post Production Sound. The Film Foundation, launched by Martin Scorsese in 1990, has restored more than 900 films.

A small-town Texan sheriff, John T. Chance (John Wayne) arrests Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) for murder. This comes even as Joe is taunting Dude (Dean Martin). Holding him in jail is easier said than done since his brother, Nathan Burdette (John Russell) is wealthy and powerful. The sheriff relies on Dude, Stumpy (Walter Brennan), and a friend, Pat Wheeler (Ward Bond) in preventing Burdette’s gang from freeing Joe. Chance soon enlists Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson), hiding in Wheeler’s wagon train, into their efforts.

Dimitri Tiomkin handles scoring duties and incorporates the “El Degüello” theme into the film. Colorado Ryan discusses the tune’s history at the Alamo during the film. The fact that Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson are musicians means that they get some opportunities to show off their skills.

Rio Bravo is a classic Western film and certainly one of the best in Howard Hawks’ filmography. I personally prefer the Hawks comedies starring Cary Grant.  I would be remiss if I did not note that this film is a direct response to High Noon, which itself was a response to McCarthyism and the Red Scare–some of the worst government witch hunts in American history. Both Hawks and Wayne were staunch anti-communists so it comes as no surprise, really, that they would make a Western with a similar story.

Bonus Feature

  • Commentary by John Carpenter and Richard Schickel

DIRECTOR: Howard Hawks
SCREENWRITERS: Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett
CAST: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, with John Russell, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, Estelita Rodriguez

Warner Bros. released Rio Bravo in theaters on April 4, 1959.

Please subscribe to Dugout Dirt and Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.