The Full List Of Ben Johnson Movies
Here is the complete list of movies starred by Ben Johnson, an American motion picture and television actor known for his roles in many Westerns, a stuntman, a world champion rodeo, and a rancher.
Johnson remains one of the famous Western actors, recognized for bringing authenticity to his roles in Western films and ultimately acting in 300 films.
Who Is Ben Johnson?
Born on June 13, 1918, in Foraker, Oklahoma, on the Osage Indian Reservation, Ben Johnson was one of the greatest American actors in the Western film industry. He gained recognition for his authentic portrayal of many Western roles with his skills as a rancher and rodeo performer. Johnson was from an Oklahoma family with Cherokee and Irish ancestry. His mother was Ollie Susan Johnson, while his father, Ben Johnson, Sr. was a rancher and three-time world rodeo champion in Osage County.
Johnson was a champion rodeo rider when he was a teenager and would travel with his father on the rodeo circuit before becoming involved in acting. He headed to Hollywood in 1940 when Howard Hughes hired him to work as a horse wrangler on “The Outlaw.” He soon became a stunt man and a double for other actors like John Wayne and Gary Cooper.
Better roles followed when John Ford sensed star potential in Johnson, leading to a 1947 assignment with the mentioned director. He eventually stars part in the Ford-directed films like “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” in 1949, “Wagon Master” and “Rio Grande” in 1950.
In 1953, he left Hollywood to return to rodeo. In the same year, he became the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association’s Team Roping World Champion, later inducted into the Association’s Hall of Fame in 1973.
He returned to acting once again and had a career with over 300 movies. Among his famous portrayals was the movie house owner “Sam the Lion” in “The Last Picture Show,” a 1971 film giving him the Academy and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Johnson’s other movies include “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” in 1991 and “Radio Flyer” in 1992. He also acted in several television shows, including portraying “Sleeve” on the 1966 western series, “The Monroes,” and “Dream West” in 1986.
Johnson married Carol Elaine Jones, daughter of Hollywood horse wrangler Clarence “Fat” Jones, in 1941. The couple had no children during their 53 years of marriage.
The veteran actor continued to work until his death on April 8, 1996, due to a heart attack. He died in Mesa, Arizona, while visiting his mother, Ollie, in a suburban retirement community where they both lived.
Ben Johnson Complete Movie List & Summary
Here is Ben Johnson’s list of movies along with a short summary:
Ben Johnson Movies # 1) Shane
Movie Summary: A retired gunfighter, now a drifter determined to establish a peaceful life, comes to the aid of a homestead family threatened by a land barron and his hired gun.
A 5-Star Review: Thought I had seen this one so many times that I scarcely needed to see it again. All the same, never having forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful it is, I couldn’t resist purchasing such an inexpensive Blu Ray. Checking out this edition, I not only found it to be truly exquisite but I discovered that the movie richly rewarded yet another viewing. So much can be said about what may be the most touchingly human of Westerns. Alan Ladd brings a sad-eyed nobility to the title role that is amazingly moving. The rest of the cast is also superb. If you haven’t seen this one recently, give it a shot. The Blu Ray gives one a breathtaking view of just how much care George Stevens and his cinematographer, Loyal Griggs poured into this production.
A Critical Review: It’s a lot different from the book, but it’s okay. There were a lot of good parts, and the fight scenes were better than I expected.
Ben Johnson Movies # 2) The Train Robbers
Movie Summary: John Wayne stars with Ann-Margret as a gunman who agrees to help abeautiful widow cross into Mexico to retrieve a fortune in gold stolenby her late husband.
A 5-Star Review: It may not jump out at me as did “The Sons of Katie Elder” or as “The Searchers”,but I enjoyed all the action and the impossible odds that the “Duke” takes on in his Western flicks.I recommend it because it is very good entertainment and if you are a John Wayne fan already,there is not much I can say,but enjoy.
A Critical Review: I love Westerns. I love John Wayne, but this is lame. The twist at the end is the best part. I was hoping it wouldn’t end I would get to see John Wayne and his sorry middle aged buddies rob a train. May have made it more exciting!
The shoot out scenes in this movie were even lackluster. Absolutely nothing thrilling about it. The donkey was cute!
Ben Johnson Movies # 3) Breakheart Pass
Movie Summary: Charles Bronson stars in this nerve-shattering mystery thriller about a treacherous train ride across the snowy western frontier. Also stars Richard Crenna and Jill Ireland.
A 5-Star Review: Short and sweet, I can’t believe that there is a Charles Bronson movie that I didn’t see! Let me tell you…I loved this movie! A Western and a murder mystery rolled into one. I saw it was written by Alistair Maclean, that explains why it was so very good. the cast is also totally superb, Charles Bronson at his best, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, Jill Ireland, Charles Durning etc, just one great cast. Well paced and well acted and the direction…outstanding as is the scenery. if you haven’t seen this movie….SEE IT, if you have seen this movie….SEE IT AGAIN.
A Critical Review: This movie may have been acceptable in its time, but now it has long gone past its expiration date. There are so many loose ends, and so many implausible and disjointed scenes that there can be only one possible explanation: the writers and director must have been stoned out of their minds. The movie is also so openly racist that it comes off excusably as the product of a somewhat quaint time-period, clueless innocence. This “Western” actually has evolved into a comedy if you enjoy counting all the nonsequiturs and inane dialogue. Branson is good in other movies, but given this script, he and all the other actors in it had no chance.
Ben Johnson Movies # 4)Fort Defiance
Movie Summary: The story of a young blind man, the brother he worships and a Civil War veteran who intends to kill the latter.
A 5-Star Review: Much better than average B western starring the great Ben Johnson, Peter Graves and Dane Clark as Ben Selby and brothers Ned and Johnny Tallen. Ben holds Johnny responsible for the death of his brother and has come to kill him. While waiting for Johnny he becomes friends with Ned and his Uncle Charlie. For a B movie, the plot becomes intricate, involving friendship, family relationships, revenge, ranching, bad guys, gunfights, Indians and the cavalry.
Currently free with Amazon Prime.
A Critical Review: Got the wrong kind of disc. All that would show when I attempted to play it was a screen showing the discussion was not compatable
Ben Johnson Movies # 5) Wagon Master
Movie Summary: The rivers are wide and rapid. The desert is vast and unforgiving. And when the trail turns craggy, men use pickaxes to dig grooves for the wagon wheels.
A 5-Star Review: This movie lead to Ward Bond being cast in the TV series Wagon Train. A great team up of two great Western stars, Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr. James Arness, later Marshall Dillon, is one of the bad guys trying to take advantage of a Mormon Wagon Train. We also get to see Olympic Athlete, Jim Thorpe as a Navajo Indian. This is another great western directed by John Ford. Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr. Often showed up as supporting cast to John Wayne and in this movie they get to be the leads adn do a great job of it. If you like old western’s this is a good one.
A Critical Review: Can’t believe this a John Ford Western, or that so many customers here think this is an excellent movie. Great cast but utterly bland, boring – and finally, unbelievably bad. I kept watching in the hopes it would improve, but it just got worse. Sorry, an utter waste of time. Just sayin.’
Ben Johnson Movies # 6) Chisum
Movie Summary: John Wayne heads a colorful cast in the epic tale of a legendary rancher who built an empire and has to face off with a civilized, smooth-talking land grabber to protect his spread.
A 5-Star Review: Chisum is one of John Wayne’s later western movies. The director is Andrew McLaglen; Victor’s McLaglen’s son, and an old associate of John Wayne. The story is a true one; but, it’s shot in the “Shoot the legend” method. What is true about the movie is that Tunstall and Chisum were close friends, and did form several businesses in competition against Murphy. Many of the scenes are accurate, others are just good cinema. Most watch it as it is a good “John Wayne” western and that is all many of of us want. Pop up some popcorn, sit back and enjoy it without worrying about how accurate it is or isn’t. Recommended.
A Critical Review: Case was so broken I couldn’t even open the case. Part of the problem is that the case was one of those recyclable Blu-ray cases, I wish they would get rid of those cheap Blu-ray cases.
Ben Johnson Movies # 7) Bite The Bullet
Movie Summary: 1906: a 700-mile horse race for a cash prize attracts an eclectic array of riders – including a Rough Rider, an ex-call girl and more. Action packed, with James Coburn, Ben Johnson.
A 5-Star Review: This has always been one of my favorite movies. Not only is it a wonderful western, it’s also good drama. I don’t think Candice Bergen was ever better, and Gene Hackman and James Coburn always turn in excellent performances, and how can you not like Ben Johnson’s character? I live in Wyoming and I never knew that this movie was mildly based on an actual race that began in Evanston, Wy and ended in Denver until I read the little booklet that came with the blue-ray. The picture and sound were both better on blue-ray than when I originally watched it in theatres.
A Critical Review: Movie locked up three times, had to restart, much of the video quality was grainy/pixelated. The movie itself? One of the best of all time.
Ben Johnson Movies # 8) The Wild Bunch (1969)
Movie Summary: Receiving two Academy Award nominations, this bitter, brutal story of magnificent losers in a dying West remains one of the screen’s all-time classics.
A 5-Star Review: This uncut version of the movie set a tone in Hollywood that went many years before being recaptured , by ” Saving Private Ryan ” . Yeah , some bloody moments , but this 1969 movie has great character development too . Hardly a dull moment in the entire 145 minutes . If you can , get the version with the commentary and backstory of one of the characters . The man that plays ” Mapache ” , the Mexican warlord led one hell of an interesting life before playing in movies and was instrumental finding shooting locations and coming up with ideas for the movie.
A Critical Review: I had never seen a Peckinpah film, but had always heard so much about him. I rented Wild Bunch with great anticipation. Though it included some stars of the era, it really doesn’t outlive it’s production year.
Ben Johnson Movies # 9) Ten Who Dared
Movie Summary: Major John Wesley Powell leads an expedition through the Grand Canyon to chart the Colorado River.
A 5-Star Review: I was so happy to find this movie on amazon, you see a large portion of this movie was filmed on my Grandparents Ranch, just outside of Moab Utah, a lot of my family members are the stand ins , and my grandfather was the stand in tillerman on the main boat, and passed away while making this movie for Walt Disney, it is the last pictures that we have of him, again thank you to amazon and all involved in making this movie available,
A Critical Review: Everything that makes a good Disney movie is missing from this one. Should have been brave explorers in natural splendor. Instead it was shallow characters, both in story and character, stumbling along from campsite to campsite. Near zero mention of the exploration they were doing. Starts when the boats enter the water, mentions the character names, a few shots of boats in rapids, lots of sandy camping, and a quick narrative description of their fates at the end. The few dramatic scenes fall flat because the characters aren’t real enough for you to care about.
Ben Johnson Movies # 10) The Getaway
Movie Summary: A recently released ex-con and his loyal wife go on the run after a heist goes awry.
A 5-Star Review: Very action packed production and it definitely will hold your interest. I can’t say too much about it or how it ends without spoiling it for you but if you like action movies, you will go for this one. And as a big plus, Sally Struthers looks so cute and lovely in that movie. If you are only aware of her from her later day appearances or what some say about her, check out what she looked like back in time.
A Critical Review: The first 20 minutes dragged. Then it moved pretty quickly with lots of potential, only to end with a whimper.
Ben Johnson Movies # 11) She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
Movie Summary: The stunning 2nd chapter of John Ford’s cavalry trilogy stars John Wayne as a captain who turns down retirement to help his men defend their outpost against marauding Indians.
A 5-Star Review: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon — the second of John Ford’s “Cavalry Trilogy” is a masterpiece. Of John Ford’s westerns, it may rank next to “The Searchers” in terms of visual beauty—-beautifully photographed by Winton Hoch. It is the first John Ford work to be filmed in technicolor. This blu ray by Warner Archives illustrates the best of film restoration. This release is superb. It looks as good as the day it originally premiered.
A Critical Review: I love this movie and wanted to see an uncut version. I just wish I read the reviews first. I am so annoyed that the English sound does not work. Plus I did not buy this movie to read the English subtitles. I am so disappointed to not to be able to see the uncut movie and get answers I have about scenes that the TV showings seem to edit out. Not worth the trouble. I do not have a printer so I cannot print out the return, no postage needed address label. I will not buy from this seller again for poor quality.
Ben Johnson Movies # 12) Rio Grande
Movie Summary: In this John Ford classic, Lt. Col. Yorke (John Wayne) leads his cavalry troops to the Rio Grande to fight a warring tribe. Yorke’s toughest battle lies ahead when his unorthodox plan to outwit the elusive Apaches leads to possible court-martial. Locked in a bloody war, he must fight not only to save his family, but also to redeem his honor.
A 5-Star Review: I first watched Rio Grande as well as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Fort Apache as a little boy in the late 1950s in our den. In Ford’s masterful hands they struck a deep moral cord in me. I never forgot when Lt. Col. York (John Wayne) in Rio Grande said, “He must learn that a man’s word to anything even to his own destruction must be honored,” and the Army was a life of “uncompromising devotion to your oath and duty.” Robert E. Lee would have said these things. I fell in love with the U.S. Army beginning with the Ford movies, especially Rio Grande. After my beloved wife, the Army became the great romance of my life. It was a life of noble purpose. And it all began with Rio Grande. I saw it again on Amazon yesterday and was still so moved that I wept, not only remembering the awe of the little boy but that after 60 years that it all the words still rang true.
A Critical Review: I couldn’t make much sense of this movie except that group singing was a big part of it along the trail, at night and to serenade a formal dinner. Also what far West Army outpost has silver candelabra and fine china sets at a moments notice, not to mention linen at hand when everyone is living in tents. I never could quite figure out what this movie was about except Maureen O’Hara does laundry and Indians attack.
Ben Johnson Movies # 13) One Eyed Jacks – Marlon Brando’s Western Classic
Movie Summary: Marlon Brando’s only time as a Director, Rio (Marlon Brando) also called “The Kid”, his mentor Dad Longworth (Karl Malden), & a third man called Doc, rob a bank of two saddlebags of gold in Sonora, Mexico. Mexican mounted police track them down & catch them celebrating in a cantina. Doc gets killed there in a shootout; Dad & Rio manage to escape & go on the run. Many plot twists along the way.
A 5-Star Review: I love Marlon Brando movies. He plays them like David Lean directs movies, letting the viewer know as much background about the role and movie as is possible given the time, to do it. One-eyed Jacks was directed by Brando. I think he was too good an actor to have the patience to direct another movie. The actors he would direct would tax his sense of reality, the kind he wanted portrayed. One-eyed Jacks is about betrayal, the anguish of seeking revenge and love, a love that makes the revenge-seeker have second thoughts about acting on his motivations. Malden, Jurado and Pellicer gave dazzling performances, along with Brando’s, Ben Johnson’s and Larry Duran’s. I thought Duran [Modesto[ was the ultimate friend to Rio [Brando’s character] and gave the Brando character a sense of hope.One of my favorites. Oh, and the movie is about a mother’s love for her daughter, born out of wedlock. It’s a wonderful foil against the backdrop of violence that made the love possible and credible..
A Critical Review: The original was shot in Widescreen – probably Panavision – which has a 2.4:1 aspect ratio; the Prime Video version is full-screen which has a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. In short, 45 % of the picture has been cropped, you will see only half of the movie. To show how much difference this can make: the first time I saw “The Wild Bunch” it was in full screen. I liked the movie and tracked down a Widescreen version of it. When I watched it again, it wasn’t even the same movie, I could have turned the sound off, and the cinematography would have mesmerized me all the way through the film. I love this movie and have been trying to find a high quality copy of it. The idea of someone watching it for the first time in full-screen gives me the shudders. If you do start watching this version, which is free, and you suddenly realize that this is better than just good, shut it down and go find a Widescreen version to watch.
Ben Johnson Movies # 14) Hang ‘Em High
Movie Summary: Clint Eastwood makes his western movie debut starring in this brazen tale about a rampaging band of vigilantes who make two mistakes: they hang the wrong man and they don’t finish the job.
A 5-Star Review: I cant give a better reveiw than John Fowler did excellant job! No zoom close-ups of facial pores or Italians cast as Mexcians in this movie. Clint plays a good guy rancher who survives a lynch mob hanging to reap revenge on the gang that tried and failed to hang him. Rescued at the last breath by long time John Wayne sidekick Ben Johnson Eastwood gets back to health takes the deputy job and gets revenge on all that were involved. Classic Clint…
A Critical Review: I’m actually surprised at the lack of about everything in this.
I can understand that there is some star value for the actors, as the actors made such a worthless and dirty half story almost worth watching. However I can’t say it was anything I would ever recommend to anyone, even die hard western fans.
The actors acted their parts well… there is nothing else here except pointless dirt.
Ben Johnson Movies # 15)Major Dundee Extended Cut
Movie Summary: An offbeat Western adventure film about a Union officer in charge of a jail in the Southwest. Renegade Apaches attack an Army outpost, killing everyone and the officer leads an expedition against them. The prisoners become part of the Union troops.
A 5-Star Review: Peckinpah’s 2nd movie. If you feel, as I do, that Sam Peckinpah is the finest Director of movies, then “Major Dundee” provides an excellent Case Study for how a great movie can be destroyed. Peckinpah spoke up about how this movie was taken away from him and ruined, and was blacklisted because of it. Anyone attempting to understand fully the following masterpieces will value from the study of “Major Dundee”. The commentary is excellent. Again, I’d only recommend this movie to someone who admires Sam Peckinpah’s masterpieces (“Ride the High Country”, “The Wild Bunch”, “Junior Bonner”, “Cable Hogue”, “The Getaway”,” Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”, “Straw Dog”s, and the Director’s Cut of “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”), and is especially valuable for someone looking for how “The Wild Bunch” emerged.
A Critical Review: I’ve never seen Major Dundee in my 70 years. Oh, I’ve had plenty of chances. I always found something more important to do. But recently I looked at the cast and the director, Sam Peckinpah, and wondered “am I missing something here?” So I got the DVD. It starts out pretty good with Charleston Heston as the tough Major. Richard Harris is miscast as a southern army prisoner and former military acquaintance. After a threat of the hangman’s noose he gets his prisoners to go along with him to chase down some renegade Indians. That’s the high point after that it turns into a snooze fest. Even the final battle scene can’t resurrect this bore. There are some great actors along with Heston and Harris: James Coburn, Warren Oates, R. G. Armstrong, L. Q. Jones and Jim Hutton among the supporting cast. I was disappointed to say the least and would not recommend this movie even on the strength of the cast.
Ben Johnson Movies # 16) The Undefeated
Movie Summary: A former Union officer and an exiled Confederate colonel and their men find themselves forming an uneasy alliance when their separate ventures in post-Civil War Mexico go dangerously awry.
A 5-Star Review: Great story. The two Rock and John Wayne are equal partners in this western.
Rock Hudson never looked so good. A damn shame his life ended so soon. This shows only a minuscule amount of his versatile dramatic potential. I collect all of his unusual performances, in roles you wouldn’t expect him to appear. Here he plays a gentile southern land owner whose way of life is threatened. He is excellent.
John Wayne is more or less in the usual role of trail boss. No dramatic intensity here, just his usual, for me Rock is the picture.
A Critical Review: Fun enough to make up for its quality. The great playoffs between John Wayne and Rock Hudson more than make up for the film’s cheesiness.
Ben Johnson Movies # 17) Something Big [Blu-ray]
Movie Summary: Dean Martin (Rio Bravo) and Brian Keith (The McKenzie Break) star in this high-spirited western packed with laughs and plenty of action. All Joe Baker (Martin) ever wanted was to do Something Big… really big. But in order to accomplish it, he has to hold up a stagecoach, kidnap a beautiful woman, trade her to a shady racketeer for a Gatling gun, and try to outrun his fiancé who’s come to reclaim her man. Something Big is classic Dean Martin in the grand style only he can create. Wonderfully directed by Andrew V. McLaglen (Cahill U.S. Marshal) and beautifully shot by the great Harry Stradling, Jr. (Convoy). The stellar cast includes Honor Blackman, Merlin Olsen, Joyce Van Patten, Carol White, Albert Salmi, Don Knight, Robert Donner, David Huddleston and western legends Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Denver Pyle, Paul Fix and Bob Steele.
A 5-Star Review: Joe Baker has a dream. He wants to do ‘something big.’ When he needs a Gatling gun to accomplish this, he seeks out a black marketeer. The price he wants for the gun? A woman! So Baker kidnaps a woman off of the stagecoach, only to find that she is the wife of the commandant of the local Cavalry detachment. Things get further complicated when a girl named Dover McBride shows up. She has come to force Baker to marry her and return east, as he promised to do four years earlier. When you have Dean martin, Brian Keith, Albert Salmi, Denver Pyle, Joyce Van Patten, Merlin Olsen how can you go wrong in this very funny western. I don’t want to say too much a bout the story because it takes some wonderful twists and the comic lines just keep coming. This is one of the very rare gems that not many people have seen but I promise you that is you are a fan of say “McClintock” saying the kind of westerns that have a lot of funny moments you have to see this if you haven’t. Full points to recommend it.
A Critical Review: I would say our family was very split on this show – my husband would probably give it a 5 and I would probably give it a 1 so I went with a 3. It had some humor and the cast was great, some of my favorite actors. However they didn’t seem to have the plot or the enthusiam that they usually do, maybe it was because I am not use to them in a humorous role. It seemed to spoof on westerns. Now my husband laughed the entire show and seemed to enjoy it throughly. To me it seemed to be just slightly lacking.
Ben Johnson Movies # 18) 3 Godfathers
Movie Summary: John Wayne stars in this touching western about three half-hearted outlaws who go on the run with an orphaned infant they find in the desert.
A 5-Star Review: While looking for Christmas movies from the 40’s and 50’s, I saw this on a list. Although I have seen many John Wayne movies, I had never heard of this one. I thought the plot looked interesting and somewhat related to Christmas, so I ordered it. My wife and I watched it this afternoon, and both enjoyed it. We both also wondered why we had never heard of it because it was so good. We will be recommending “3 Godfathers” to friends and family for their holiday enjoyment.
A Critical Review: I quite like John Wayne films and I generally like westerns, but I thought this film was cheesy and corny. It was quite well acted and some of the cinematography was good, but the story was totally unbelievable. Reluctantly I have given it two stars instead of just one.
Ben Johnson Movies # 19) The Shadow Riders
Movie Summary: Tom Selleck (TV’s Magnum P.I.) and Sam Elliot (Tombstone) star as brothers who battled on opposing sides of the Civil War only to return home to discover that their family, including a younger brother and one of the brothers’ fiancées, have been kidnapped by a marauding band of rebel guerrillas whorefuse to accept the defeat of the Confederacy. Aided by their uncle, they set out to rescue the f..
A 5-Star Review: Great movie full of real men.
I bought this DVD because I loved a movie poster that I saw with Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott.
They looked like real men before we started to raise snowflakes with man buns.
The story was great love the movie and the action and of course the actors. The quality of the movie back then was not so great. The music was so loud and the voices were so quiet. On Long riding scenes it was just loud music. I ended up muting a lot of the movie and just listening to the dialogue. And I still loved it.
A Critical Review: Well, Everyone loves Tom Selleck and Sam Sheppard and the movie attraction is probably listening to them banter back and forth. However, this western exhibits about everything wrong with so many westerns all in one movie. The lead female in this western is dragged all across America and never has a flaw in her makeup alway remaining model quality. The horses are galloped across country and never get tired or sweat. The guns never run out of bullets and Tom and Sam travel across country with no food, water, or pack horse. The move is a western fantasy.
Ben Johnson Movies # 20) Will Penny
Movie Summary: Hollywood legend Charlton Heston stars as Will Penny, an aging cowboy on a hard-luck streak. He’s out of work, out of money, and staked out to die in the desert by a gang of ruthless outlaws. Moments before death, Will is taken in by a beautiful young woman named Catherine (Joan Hackett), who is heading west with her young son to join her husband. As Catherine nurses Will back to health, he catches a glimpse of a lifestyle he’s never known. Suddenly, Will has two more problems to deal with: He’s madly in love with another man’s wife, and the outlaw gang is on its way back to finish him off…
A 5-Star Review: One of Charles Heston’s better westerns. One really gets the feel of the hard life of the “line riders” on a big cattle outfit in the old west.
And, one has to feel for the aging cowboy – having tasted what he has missed his entire life being on the range, (Nuff said. Don’t want to spoil it. But, one of my favorite westerns – far as what the life was like in the day.)
A Critical Review: Very good movie for families and/or adolescent boys, what with the first half hour of cow-punching and manly-man adventure featuring a great cast and cinematography. Filmed in eastern Sierra mountains by a director and crew who knew what they were doing. Donald Plesance shows up after half an hour and things get strange for about 15 minutes, then story returns to cow-punching adventure. Sort of Little House on Prarie corny for 20 minutes till Plesance returns. He could play psycho that man could. Went on a bit much in that regard. There’s violence, but not like movies of today. Charlton Heston was a such a great actor as to keep me watching. 3 1/2 Stars
Ben Johnson Movies # 21) The Rare Breed
Movie Summary: A fine, action-packed drama revolving around an English widow determined to see her late husband’s plan to introduce the new Hereford strain of cattle to the American west.
A 5-Star Review: I said about all you need to know in the headline. I love hereford cattle. This movie is the story of how one group of hereford cattle got started in America. It is great. It also has Kirk Douglas and Jimmy Stewart in it.
I would recommend to any child or adult that has a love for cattle to watch this movie. I hunt cattle movies and there is not a lot out there. The Grand Champion is a good one for kids of all ages. Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts are in it. Then with Christmas coming my 17 year old granddaughter would tell you that you can’t miss Annebelle’s Wish. She and I have watched it for 17 years together.
A Critical Review: This movie plodded along about the pace of a Hereford bull. Although I’m a fan of Jimmy Stewart, I never found him particularly convincing as a cowhand in a Western; no exception, here. Maureen O’Hara was fine, though the script left her little room to shine. Don Galloway was a waste of a character, and his acting was subpar. Brian Keith apparently was taught you only have to roll your Rs and it makes you Scottish. Other actors whose talents were wasted: Jack Elam and Harry Carey Jr. The action was dull, the comic relief was minimal, and the overall tempo was too darn slow. Won’t be watching this one again.
Ben Johnson Movies # 22) Fort Bowie
Movie Summary: Young captain is forced to deal with accussations of rape in addition to hostile Apaches.
A 5-Star Review: Love Ben Johnson’s role in this movie.. Good action. Just a plan ole good western. They don’t make movies like this any more.
A Critical Review: The film opens with an act that is the height of dishonor. Watch the film to see whether by the white man or the Indian. The ensuing lies and betrayal follow a conventional Western story. The trouble is, the script is wooden; ponderous even. The action sequences are quite good but in truth, not even the stalwart presence of Ben Johnson, in a rare starring (as opposed to supporting) role can carry this film.
Ben Johnson Movies # 23) Bonanza: Under Attack
Movie Summary: Renegade Pinkerton agents chase reformed outlaw legend Frank James to the Ponderosa – where his old Civil War comrades decide to help him. With Ben Johnson, Michael Landon, Jr,. Jack Elam, Richard Roundtree, Dirk Blocker.
A 5-Star Review: I was surprised but it was nice to see that all of the Cartwright boys had children. It was sad to here how Hoss was killed they never really said on the TV show. Although it was not the same as the show it was a good movie.
A Critical Review: In the last year I have become re-acquainted with the Bonanza shows in syndication on TV Land and I record every one so that I won’t miss an episode, so when I came across the movies that were made later with the children of these stars I love so, I was ectastic. Truthfully my expectations were higher than what was produced. I don’t get why Dan Blocker’s son who looks so much like Hoss, was cast as a different character. I read later that there were a lot of contradictions for both films in the wife of Little Joe and the brother of Ben. Ultimately, I’m not sorry I bought this film (especially since I paid under $10) and I will still be a Bonanza Fan.
Ben Johnson Movies # 24) Kid Blue
Movie Summary: An outlaw tries to go straight, but finds it difficult when he is tempted by a friend’s pretty wife.
A 5-Star Review: I got to watch this movie in 1973, while stationed aboard the USS Oriskany (CVA-34) online, South China Sea. I loved it! It has great acting, and has – well – you need to see it for yourself! But if you don’t see it here, you will need to find it in PAL format (European format), and good luck with THAT!
A Critical Review: Video sourced pan and scan. This movie deserves a better release.
Ben Johnson Movies # 25) War Drums
Movie Summary: Lex Barker stars as an Apache chief who is almost ostracized by his tribe when he marries a Mexican girl named Joan Taylor.
A 5-Star Review: I had been searching for this movie with actor Lex Barker for many years, and finally found it here on Amazon. It was fast paced and the action did not disappoint. Lex Barker played the Apache War Chief Mangus Coloradus (red shirt). He was well known as a fair and smart Chief in real life. If you like western movies, I believe you will enjoy this one. The DVD was quality material without any defects of any kind. I highly recommend this movie.
Ben Johnson Movies # 26) Rebel In Town
Movie Summary: An ex-Confederate soldier accidentally kills a small boy after a bank robbery. Later, the boy’s father saves the soldier’s life. In HD.
A 5-Star Review: This movie is awesome and you’ll like it once you see it the rebels in town I watch it over and over and love every scene of it by you’ll like it awesome
Ben Johnson Movies # 27) Tall in the Saddle
Movie Summary: Woman-hating cowboy becomes foreman of ranch run by pretty woman and her spinster aunt who have inherited the ranch.
A 5-Star Review: I believe “Tall” to be one of Wayne’s better Westerns from his middle career. He made some sappy oaters in his early career, and some sappy oaters in his later career (see “McClintock”) but this one, along with “Red River”, “Hondo”, and, of course, “The Searchers”, stands proud in the cowboy movie genre. In this flick, Wayne is anything but the Boy Scout he plays in many of his early westerns. He even sends out a bit of an “outlaw” vibe when he needs to. And he’s pursued by two women, one a straight-shootin’, hard ridin’ tough gal, the other the very picture of lace-curtain school marm virtue. Try to guess which one he falls for…you won’t find out ’til the very end.
And yet, there’s old reliable Ward Bond as one of the major baddies, Gabby Hayes as whiskey-guzzling comic relief, and a cracker-barrel full of Hollywood Western movie cliches. Hard to beat this one for real entertainment. It’s much more than your average horse opera.
A Critical Review: This movie was not as good as some of John Wayne’s other movies.
Ben Johnson Movies # 28) Bonanza: The Return
Movie Summary: The Cartwright family resists the efforts of an underhanded developer to buy and stripmine the Ponderosa. With Dirk Blocker, Dean Stockwell, Richard Roundtree, Linda Gray, Jack Elam.
A 5-Star Review: Very entertaining I would pay as high as 35.00 for this movie if it was put back on market I’m sure others would
To it is a great family movie sad that it’s not back on the selfs yet
A Critical Review: Overall, The Return is an okay Bonanza to have. It’s about a murderer, who claims to have shot someone’s son is a fair fight, who returns to Virginia City to get settled. Nobody cares for him nor likes him. But the Cartrights hire him and try to help him out. Then he tries to run away with a girl he loves, the man who’s son got shot’s daughter. How bad is that? But it has a very surprising ending. So if you really wanna see a great Bonanza, I suggest trying to find The Flapjack Contest, Woman of Fire, Springtime, The Smiler, or The Wooing of Abigail Jones.
Ben Johnson Movies # 29) Junior Bonner (Special Edition)
Movie Summary: Screen icon Steve McQueen (Love with the Proper Stranger, Bullitt) is at his rugged best in this totally captivating tale of a fading rodeo champion from acclaimed director Sam Peckinpah (The Getaway, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Convoy). With his bronco-busting career on its last legs, Junior Bonner (McQueen) heads to his hometown to try his luck in the annual rodeo. But his fond childhood memories are shattered when he finds his family torn apart by his greedy brother (Joe Don Baker, Framed) and hard-drinking father (Robert Preston, The Music Man). Now Junior must break the wildest bull in the West to bring his family together for one final moment of cowboy glory in the roughest, rowdiest ride of his life! Junior Bonner is an extraordinarily graceful yet unflinching rendering of a slice of Americana, beautifully shot by the great Lucien Ballard (The Ballad of Cable Hogue) and featuring a top-notch cast which also includes Ida Lupino (Road House), Ben Johnson (The Wild Bunch), Mary Murphy (Beachhead), Dub Taylor (Burnt Offerings), Don Red Barry (Shalako) and Bill McKinney (Deliverance).
A 5-Star Review: This in my opinion is his best movie! And it’s not because of his character which he makes look as easy as any he has portrayed in his other hits but the entire movie was also stellar in so many ways. A Peckinpah movie which was a contradiction from his normal releases which tend to be very violent for those times but it was cast with individuals like Robert Preston, Ida Lupino and Ben Johnson who were at the ends of their careers and helped make this a subtle but powerful saga of a cowboy looking for just one more ride on a bull that couldn’t be ridden to keep him in the game. Old school for sure but pure soul food for for us baby boomers that grew up with McQueen and his contemporaries. Enjoy……
A Critical Review: If you liked the original music from the film like I did, don’t buy this DVD, they’ve changed the music! Otherwise the movie’s fine. But I was very disappointed with this change.
Ben Johnson Movies # 30) The Last Picture Show
Movie Summary: Brilliant study of life in a small Texas town during the 1950s, and how characters’ lives intertwine. The story, based on Larry McMurtry’s novel, follows the exploits of two high school football stars. Oscars went to Ben Johnson and Chloris Leachman for sensitive performances.
A 5-Star Review: I was 25 when this movie came out and I saw it for the first time. I’m 68 now and see it from a completely different viewpoint.
There a multiple stories in this movie. But, the one that dominates for me is Sonny’s constant pining for the inaccessible girl he can’t have only to have her in the end and realize it wasn’t what he hoped it would be. Other movies have used the theme of wanting the high bling, high maintenance girl just to realize that it doesn’t count for much: ‘Only the Lonely’ and ‘Marty’ come to mind. But, the setting of this deteriorating town combined with it’s distinct character interpretations make it exceptional.
A Critical Review: It’s ok … guess I had higher expectations with this film being added to the National Archives – I was expecting a film to actually hold my attention & have a WAY better script then the basics it had – acting wise – good grief it was stiff & not in a good way – I just think the overall story could have been told better & certainly should have had more context of living in rural Texas in 1950 – Texas at the time was experiencing an unbelievable oil boom – yet there was no mention of it & I don’t get how this little town could have been possibly dying when there were oil fields surrounding it …
Ben Johnson Movies # 31) My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
Movie Summary: A rodeo rider decides to quit his line of work after a serious injury, but when he visits his family and finds out that his dad is not well, he’ll have to risk it one more time.
A 5-Star Review: This movie magically picked up at least five behaviors our family elder had done along with similar situations. . Also, the behaviors of the brother and sister were same as in our family regarding the father. Him on that tractor even looked like our eldor father on his.
A Critical Review: This is a good movie. It’s a good family drama. The acting is excellent. It is one of Scott Glenn’s best roles. But it needs to be released on dvd.
Ben Johnson Movies # 32) Stranger on My Land
Movie Summary: A battle ensues when the government tries to force a Vietnam veteran to sell his Montana ranch to allow for the expansion of a missile base. When a court hearing goes against him, he digs in, determined to use all his combat experience to repel the enemy, sticking to his guns even after his wife and children leave and his father is killed.
A 5-Star Review: I love this movie. It’s what our country should stand for. Would like to see more movies like this one offered.
A Critical Review: I had a video tape of this title and really wanted a DVD copy of it. I was hoping for a better quality picture than this has. It just looks like someone took the tape and made very poor copies of the movie.
Ben Johnson Movies # 33) The Bull of the West
Movie Summary: An ambitious woman purchases a ranch and begins to antagonize the locals with her schemes for expansion in this movie created from episodes of The Virginian. With Doug McClure, Lee J. Cobb.
A Critical Review: The movie is great, the quality of the VHS tape is bad. The movie has several plots going on at the same time and really keeps your interest. I had seen the movie several times which is why I purchased it. However, I am very disappointed in the quality of the tape.
Ben Johnson Movies #34) The Outlaw
Book Summary: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and Doc Holliday ride again in Howard Hughes’ epic 1943 western, but the character you’ll remember most is sultry country vixen Rio McDonald.
Doc chases after his stolen horse that is in possession of Billy. However, he and Billy became good friends but their friendship became bitter when Doc’s girl, Rio, fell in love with Billy.
A 5 Star Review: I thought it was well made, very good acting and directing. I had heard about it before but didn’t know the plot. I was surprised to find that the whole plot was pretty risqué and not PG-13 at all. I don’t remember seeing Jane Russell in other movies-just pin-ups which is too bad because she was a great actress as well. The film itself has a few rough spots but that’s not really important . There are some great movies that were made before sound was added (other than music that was dubbed in). Jack Buetel, Walter Huston, Thomas Mitchell , and Mims Aguila all very good.
A Critical Review: This movie was so bad it was hilarious! The music was a character all of its own! Soaring crescendos! Guttural growls telegraphing and emphasizing every emotional plot point! Jane Russell was terrible. The guys’ relationships were the only interesting things about the movie. Pat Garrett “jealous” of his old friend Doc’s and Billy’s relationship! That final scene in the cabin where he practically cried when he blamed the rift between them on Billy. BROMANCES all around! Between Billy and Doc, between Doc and Pat and then Pat and Billy (sorta) in the end. Jane was a waste…even the décolletage wasn’t all that.
Ben Johnson’s career lasted for more than 50 years and has acted in over 300 films, with his brilliance shown through the many Western roles he had given justice. If you love action-packed western films, then we encourage you to check out our list of similar western actors here. And if you are looking for a book you can read for free, check out this month’s free read.