Tarantino’s Bizarre Perfect Date Movie Is A John Wayne Western
Quentin Tarantino once cited John Wayne Western classic Rio Bravo as a deciding factor when it came to starting a new romance. Wayne wasn’t a fan of 1952’s High Noon, where a Marshal is left to fend for himself by the townsfolk he’s trying to protect from a returning outlaw. The film was acclaimed upon release and is considered a masterpiece now, but Wayne hated its “Un-American” depiction of a lawman begging for aid, the townspeople in return refusing to help or its subtextual critiques of the Hollywood blacklisting happening during this time.
In turn, Wayne later reunited with collaborator Howard Hawks to make Rio Bravo. Wayne – who appeared in 80 Westerns – was cast as Sheriff Chance, who is tasked with guarding a dangerous prisoner while hired guns besiege his town. Rio Bravo is a pointed rebuke to High Noon – with Chance never once asking for help but receiving it anyway – but the 1959 Western is also viewed as a genre great. It also has some auteur fans; it’s one of John Carpenter’s favorites, with the filmmaker having riffed on its themes in Assault On Precinct 13 and Ghosts Of Mars.
Another admirer is Tarantino, who has cited it as one of his all-time favorites. One major element his work has pulled from Rio Bravo is its “hang out” vibe. Despite the movie’s simple setup, its runtime is nearly 150 minutes, with many scenes of Wayne just hanging out with Dean Martin’s Dude or Angie Dickinson’s Feathers. This is the same dynamic QT was aiming for with Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown, where the main characters talk sometimes talk about burgers or music instead of things directly related to the story. While Rio Bravo has a romantic subplot it wouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a date movie, but Tarantino himself has used it as a way to measure the success of a potential romance.
Tarantino Claimed He Couldn’t Date Anybody Who Hated Rio Bravo
Tarantino has said of Rio Bravo that “When I’m getting serious about a girl, I show her Rio Bravo and she better ****ing like it!” While no doubt said with tongue in cheek, he’s made no secret of his abiding love for the Wayne – who was nicknamed “Duke” – Western, and he’s watched it so often over the years he has no clue how many times he’s watched it. While introducing Rio Bravo during a screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, he stated at one point in time it was his favorite movie.
Getting a little more personal, Tarantino recalled that as he grew up without a father, he took to viewing Hawks’ view of “manhood” in the movie as the rules of conduct men from all walks of life should aspire to. Hawks himself would eventually make two semi-remakes of Rio Bravo with Wayne: 1966’s El Dorado and 1970’s Rio Lobo. Sadly, the latter had the opposite effect on Tarantino, who disliked Hawks’ final movie so much he used it as an example of reasons filmmakers should retire while they’re ahead.