USA / 1985
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, Mark Kasdan
Cast: Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Kevin Kline, John Cleese
Compensation for Kevin Costner, left on the cutting-room floor in Kasdan’s The Big Chill, came when the director offered him a role in this western aimed at reviving the genre after Heaven’s Gate, with an eclectic cast pointed at an unremarkable town, Silverado.
After serving his sentence for murder, Emmett (Scott Glenn) heads for Silverado to see his family, and survives an ambush en route , and ends up rescuing the luckless Paden (Kevin Kline). The pair stop off in the town of Turley, where they rescue Mal (Danny Glover), who they think is to be lynched. Emmett soon discovers that his brother Jake (Costner) is the mob’s target, and decides to spring a jailbreak. Paden refuses to assist, but changes his mind after being imprisoned and, with Mal’s help, they free Jake. In Silverado they find brief respite before the evil McKendrick (Brian Dennehy) tracks them down and swears vengeance for the death of his son at Emmett’s hands. The retribution begins and the men soon pull together in the hope of a lasting victory and peace.
Kasdan is the master of intelligent mainstream action, having written screenplays for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones sagas. He is also not averse to risks – casting Steve Martin in Grand Canyon – and makes good use of that other intellectual comedian John Cleese in support as a despotic limey sheriff. The influence of his heroes John Ford and Howard Hawks is also evident in the sweeping vistas and small human dramas played out on screen.