A few lines from westerns

A week ago, I was sharing in a comment the movie line, “Badges, we don’t need no stinking badges.” This line appeared in two different western movies, “The Treasures of the Sierra Madre” and again in the western comedy “Blazing Saddles.”

The cowboy western genre of movies has been around since cinema began. Many of our movie heroes like Roy Rogers, Alan Ladd, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Clint Eastwood began and excelled in this genre. And, like the above quote, this genre includes some of the best movie lines.

So, sit back and remember with me some great lines.

– Responding to a bounty hunter in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” who said about bounty hunting “It’s a living,” Clint Eastwood’s Wales said, “Dying ain’t much of a living, boy.”

– After Robert Redford said to Paul Newman, “I can’t swim,” in  “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Newman laughed and replied, “The fall will probably kill you.”

– Later in the same movie Strother Martin would say to Newman and Redford on the way down the mountain to get the payroll as they looked for bandits, “Morons. They ain’t going to rob us going down the mountain; we don’t have any money.”

– In “The Man who shot Liberty Valance,” the classic line was uttered by the newspaper editor who had just heard the true story. Tearing up the notes, he said. “This is the west. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

– John Wayne uttered many great lines in his movies. One of his standby lines which appeared in the movie “Big Jake” is when he wanted to emphasize a point, “Not hardly.”

– In the movie “True Grit,” a reason for its success was Wayne called Kim Darby his young co-star, “Baby Sister” throughout showing an affection for her true grit.

– While Clint Eastwood made a nice living in movie westerns, he had an economy of words. Starting with his characters in the series of westerns filmed in Italy called Spaghetti Westerns, there were some movies where he probably uttered fewer than 100 words. The famous scene of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” went minutes without a single word.

– Of course, one of the most imitated lines of this genre occurs as Alan Ladd rides off after saving the day as the boy who idolized him yells “Shane. Come back, Shane.”  Later, in “Pale Rider” a tribute movie to “Shane” starring the effectively quiet Eastwood, the smitten young girl, would shout “Preacher. Come back.”

There are so many I have left off. Please share with me your favorites.

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6 thoughts on “A few lines from westerns

  1. I believe that in some of the spaghetti westerns some of the actors actually spoke Italian and the English was dubbed in later. The dialogue was, as you say, sparce! Also, I think Martin’s line in “Butch Cassidy” was “Morons on my team….” I hope that’s right, because my wife and I have been quoting him for years. It’s especially apt these days!!! Fun stuff. Thanks for the breather.

    • Hugh, you are right on the Italian. I think Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee van Cleef (sic) were the only actors speaking English. I think you are right about the “morons on my team. Of course, Strother’s most quoted line comes also at Newman’s expense in “Cool Hand Luke.” Keith

    • Jill, they sure don’t. I was going to quote Blazing Saddles more, but it may be too offensive for some. Josey Wales has more quotes as well. Thanks for stopping by. Keith

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