Wyatt Earp

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -2

As a young man, the legendary Wyatt Earp planned to live peacefully, marry and become a lawyer. These plans are shattered when his young wife dies of typhoid, and a bitter Wyatt (Kevin Costner) torches his house and goes on a drinking binge. Jarred out of his grief by his father (Gene Hackman), Wyatt heads west. He soon builds a reputation for brutal justice as a lawman, and enlists his brothers as deputies. From Dodge City, Wyatt and his brothers head for Tombstone to seek their fortune as entrepreneurs and investors. There, the inevitable clash that springs up between the Earps and the outlaw Clanton gang leads to the tragic, violent gunfight at O.K. Corral. Vengeance is the name of the game from here on. The outlaws attack the Earps for killing their comrades and Wyatt, in turn, hunts down the killers. The colorful Doc Holliday character is aptly portrayed by Dennis Quaid. One-third of this three-hour movie could have easily been cut, but its otherwise flawless production and superb acting make WYATT EARP a thoroughly entertaining adult western.

This gritty, realistic western relies on the strength of its characters and the story rather than on violence to enthrall viewers. Even so, much blood is spilled, including close range, brutal shootings and bloody fistfights. Also, profanity and many obscenities foul the script. Equally disturbing, however, are the film's moral violations. In spite of his decency and integrity, Wyatt winds up embracing bitterness, vengeance and adultery - all of which are supposedly justified. Prostitution, gambling and drinking are portrayed as a common lifestyle of the wild West, including its heroes. While the violence does cause anguish, it just as often solves problems, and one character opposed to violence is deemed weak and naive. Wyatt's common law wife, Mattie (Mare Winningham), is a prostitute trying to be more to Wyatt than a sexual toy. She becomes suicidal when Wyatt finds a beautiful new lover. Wyatt's unfortunate life and the untamed West battle against his dad's moral instructions concerning family loyalty and respect for the law. Ultimately, his badly battered and bruised integrity make this famous “hero” a pretty dismal role model for today's youth.

Preview Reviewer: Bob Liparulo
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (31) times - Mild 19; Moderate 12

Obscene Language: Several (14) times (f-word 1; s-word 2; other 11)

Profanity: Few (4) times - Regular 3; Exclamatory 1

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (bloody fistfights; many shooting killings, some brutal; pool ball thrown into throat; beating; corpse shot repeatedly; horses shot; man shot in groin and another at close range with shotgun)

Sex: Twice, obscured by covers (no nudity); implied several times (once with fiancee, several times with prostitutes)

Nudity: Once (female breasts in photograph); near nudity, several times (women in bed with covers over most of their bodies)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (sensual kissing; propositions from prostitutes; reference to unconventional sex)

Drugs: Many times (heavy drinking, drunkenness several times, often leading to violence)

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Older teenagers and adults

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