War Wagon, The (1967)

War Wagon, The (1967)

“I didn’t bring you here to be the best of friends; we’ve gotta lot of things to do.”

A wrongfully imprisoned rancher (John Wayne) returns to his hometown to seek revenge on the corrupt businessman (Bruce Cabot) who cheated him out of his homestead, enlisting help from a safecracker and gunslinger (Kirk Douglas) who once shot at him; an alcoholic young explosives expert (Robert Walker, Jr.); and a Kiowa translator (Howard Keel).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Bruce Dern Films
  • Ex-Cons
  • Heists
  • Howard Keel Films
  • John Wayne Films
  • Keenan Wynn Films
  • Kirk Douglas Films
  • Ranchers
  • Revenge
  • Westerns

Burt Kennedy — perhaps best known for scripting many of Budd Boetticher’s films for Batjac Productions — directed this comedic revenge western, co-starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas and featuring a tank-like “war wagon” (hence the film’s title) which is quite a sight to behold.

The entire plot revolves around Wayne concocting and carrying out an elaborate plan to steal gold dust from Cabot’s wagon, which is not only heavily armed but well-guarded by dozens of men; it thus takes a clever ruse and a highly specific set of skills from all involved on Wayne’s team to pull off the heist. Wayne is a solid protagonist as usual:

… but classic film fans may be most curious to see the supporting performance by Walker, Jr. (son of Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones), who looks like a blend of his two famous parents.

While this film moves along nicely and features fine location shooting, it isn’t must-see viewing.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Excellent use of location shooting in Mexico

Must See?
No; this one is only must-see for western fans.


One thought on “War Wagon, The (1967)

  1. First viewing (5/12/22). Only for Wayne / Douglas fans.

    Average script is kept afloat with Kennedy’s competent direction. There’s nothing new in what the stars give us but their fans probably won’t mind.

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