5.9/10
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62 user 33 critic

Wild Bill (1995)

The early career of legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickock is telescoped and culminates in his relocation in Deadwood and a reunion with Calamity Jane.

Director:

Walter Hill

Writers:

Peter Dexter (book) (as Pete Dexter), Thomas Babe (play) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Wild Bill Hickok
Ellen Barkin ... Calamity Jane
John Hurt ... Charley Prince
Diane Lane ... Susannah Moore
Keith Carradine ... Buffalo Bill Cody
David Arquette ... Jack McCall
Christina Applegate ... Lurline Newcomb
Bruce Dern ... Will Plummer
James Gammon ... California Joe
Marjoe Gortner ... Preacher
James Remar ... Donnie Lonigan
Karen Huie ... Song Lew
Steve Reevis ... Sioux Chief
Robert Knott ... Dave Tutt
Pato Hoffmann Pato Hoffmann ... Cheyenne Leader
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Storyline

Maverick Writer and Director Walter Hill's version of the famous Wild Bill Hickok legend is a dreamscape western that is told entirely in flashback. Hickok's friend Charley Prince (Sir John Hurt) narrates the events of Wild Bill's life while sitting at Bill's graveside. Hickok is played by Jeff Bridges as a mean, high-spirited, but gallant outlaw. He wanders the West, adding to his reputation with some well-chosen gunfights, and he meets up with characters such as Calamity Jane (Ellen Barkin), who becomes his sidekick for a time. After becoming a legend, Hickok signs up for a stint with Buffalo Bill Cody's travelling variety show. Eventually, he falls in love with Susannah Moore (Diane Lane), and his love leads him to tragedy in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Name Is Legendary. The Man Is Real. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for wild West violence and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The team of Producers Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck had optioned Peter Dexter's novel "Deadwood" after they hired Walter Hill to write the script for Rush (1991). The Zanucks said they were interested in the project, because it explored the nature of celebrity in a Western context. "Figures like Wild Bill were like rock stars", said Lili. "They had sex appeal." See more »

Goofs

The whole sequence with the hired gunmen is fiction. Jack McCall worked alone. His reason for killing Wild Bill is disputed but it was thought to be either being embarrassed by Will Bill paying for his breakfast that morning or being paid to do it by gamblers frightened that Wild Bill might become Deadwood's sheriff. See more »

Quotes

Charley Price: [Voiceover about Hickock] He fashioned himself as just an ordinary man in no way special. That was adeception. By luck or design it had fallen to him to play the hero's part, and to the end he embraced his fate.
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Connections

References The Plainsman (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
See more »

User Reviews

 
Muddy, angry, two-fisted tale of revenge in the Old West...
31 May 2008 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Historians may scoff, but Walter Hill's "Wild Bill" is an absorbing and intriguing western with elegiac overtures yet much of the emphasis placed on the battles. Jeff Bridges does a fine job as scruffy, mangy, weathered James Butler Hickok in the 1870s Midwest, getting into brutal fights while doing nothing more than standing at a bar (John Hurt's narration tells us, "Being 'Wild' Bill was in itself a profession."). Ellen Barkin plays Calamity Jane like a lovestruck toughie who clucks behind Hickok, waiting for a commitment; David Arquette is Jack McCall, a young man defending the honor of his mother, whom Hickok loved and left. Occasionally, director Hill hits a stumbling block (there's an inconsequential bit with Keith Carradine as Buffalo Bill Cody which disconnects the mood, and also a black-and-white flashback filmed in high-contrast where Hickok attempts to talk sensibly with a no-nonsense Indian tribe). Still, the hand and gun bouts are fully charged with adrenaline, and there's a genuine feel for these sad, meandering people that recalls strong sections from other westerns, particularly "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". A bumpy film, but not a bad one at all. **1/2 from ****


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Sioux | Cantonese

Release Date:

1 December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wild Bill See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$987,515, 3 December 1995

Gross USA:

$2,193,982

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,193,982
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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