High Plains Drifter


Action / Drama / Mystery / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh93%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright86%
IMDb Rating7.51056878


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Clint Eastwood Photo
Clint Eastwood as The Stranger
Geoffrey Lewis Photo
Geoffrey Lewis as Stacey Bridges
Jack Ging Photo
Jack Ging as Morgan Allen
Marianna Hill Photo
Marianna Hill as Callie Travers
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
881.84 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
P/S 3 / 13
1.67 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
P/S 5 / 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by classicsoncall10 / 10

"Well it's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid."

I'm perfectly willing to allow Clint Eastwood his pronouncement of ambiguity regarding the character of 'The Stranger', and have read with interest the many opinions offered in the reviews and threads on this site. I've seen the movie at least a half dozen times over the years, but today it was with the express intent of crystallizing my opinion. As I've felt all along, the character of The Stranger is indeed a mortal man, the brother of the slain town marshal Jim Duncan, and I'll get into that in a minute.

Let's keep in mind that Eastwood himself has had quite some time to reflect on his direction and portrayal in the film, and the subject of a ghostly apparition had time to take hold of viewer consciousness. The film itself has added to the controversy, at least twice via statements made by hotel owner Lewis Belding (Ted Hartley). The first time occurs right after he supervises the evacuation of his hotel, remarking disparagingly to the Preacher (Robert Donner) - "...they're emptyin' my whole hotel, throwing out paying guests right into the street just to make room for our new guardian angel". Later, when addressing Lago's citizens at a town meeting right after the dinner scene with The Stranger and Callie - "...couldn't be worse if the devil himself had ridden right into Lago". So right there you have the seeds planted for both an avenging angel and a demon bent on revenge.

There IS a real mystery to the film, but it's not the identity of 'The Stranger'. To fully understand, it's important to view the movie in it's unedited form via tape or DVD. Watching "High Plains Drifter" on TV, even a cable channel leaves too much out, particularly in the way of dialog, and especially regarding the character of Callie (Marianna Hill) and her relationship to the people in the town.

The movie offers two flashback scenes, the first by 'The Stranger' only about twenty minutes into the story, the second by Mordecai (Billy Curtis),again shortly after the evacuation of the hotel guests. In both flashbacks, one is able to recognize every citizen of Lago that we already know by name, EXCEPT ONE. About midway in each scene, a character is shown entering from, and then retreating back into the shadows, with half of a bearded face visible. It's the face of The Stranger. The reason Eastwood's character can recall with clarity what occurred on the night Marshal Duncan was killed is because he was there. The mystery then becomes why he was powerless at the time to intervene on his brother's behalf. Presumably he wasn't a citizen of Lago, or he would be recognized, so there must have been another reason for him to be there. Visiting his brother, certainly, but for reasons unknown and unexplored, 'The Stranger' did not become involved at the time of his brother's death.

The one person who had an inkling to The Strangers' identity I feel, was Sarah Belding, making reference to the dead marshal in an unmarked grave. But The Stranger wasn't biting, he intended to remain anonymous, a position he affirmed when he first checked into Belding's hotel and didn't register. Sure he could have used a phony name, but then some of the mystique he was attempting to establish would have been compromised.

I'm quite intrigued reading some of the threads maintaining certainty regarding The Stranger being a 'spirit' citing reactions the character has, as if one could actually know how a spirit would go about his business. But since we're playing that game, I'd offer two reasons why he couldn't be a spirit or a demon. On the ride into town, The Stranger's reflection is shown on one of the store front windows as he goes past. Then in the first bar scene, The Stranger's arm casts a shadow on the wall as he takes his beer. Granted, most of my spirit and demon lore has come from other movies and popular literature, but I believe that both of those occurrences aren't possible with beings from the other side. What REALLY intrigues me now is if Eastwood was clever enough to consciously plant those things in the film to keep everyone and his brother (no pun there) guessing. Oh, and one last thing - if The Stranger really WAS a ghost, then who's ghost was the horse he rode in on?

When I first entered a rating for this film on IMDb, I gave it a strong '8' as one of the upper echelon film Westerns, right up there with "High Noon", "Shane", and Eastwood's own "Unforgiven". However now, after having so much fun watching and re-watching the movie, and reading some of the great discussion on this site, that has to warrant at least two bonus points, I'm re-establishing my rating as a '10'.

One last thing - if you're interested in hearing Clint Eastwood himself describe who/what the character of The Stranger represents, head over to his website at http://www.clinteastwood.net/welcome2.html

Follow the links to the movie, and then click on the audio icon for "High Plains Drifter".

Reviewed by Robert_duder9 / 10

Completely disturbing, dark, violent western with an interesting Supernatural element

High Plains Drifter is one of the many Westerns I have seen as of recently. So far it is the most unique, and the most dark, twisted story yet. Clint Eastwood directs but this is far from usual tale. High Plains Drifter is perhaps one of the most unique westerns in existence because of it's Supernatural suggestions and it's disturbing theme. Nonetheless you'll be captivated by it's mood and style and when it's all said and done you'll likely have many questions and want to see it again although it will leave you feeling truly afraid for the first time of The Man With No Name.

Clint Eastwood directs and stars as the mysterious stranger who rides into a small town one day and faces a group of gun slingers hired to keep trash out of the small town. But in true Eastwood style he makes short work of them and suddenly becomes the only gun slinger in town to protect them. But is he protecting them?? This time Eastwood's stranger is disturbed, vicious, violent, completely off the deep end. Whereas the strangers in his previous films have been far more cool and collective there is something evil about this man. As the film is hyped in the first 20 minutes he commits three murders and a rape and takes control of the town. Seeing Eastwood in this role is a little jarring always having pictured him as the Western Hero but still he plays the role to it's fullest and makes this what it is. Billy Curtis plays Mordecai, the man who becomes the stranger's wing man so to speak. Curtis is more of the hero than anyone in town and is mostly under rated by everyone there. He does a great job of adding the overall feeling of gloom to the small town. The rest of the cast that make up the small town including Verna Bloom, Mitch Ryan, Robert Donner, Jack Ging, and Stefan Gierasch do a great job. They all have this distinct air of being dirty, evil, no good, and as the history of this town unfolds we discover their individual sins and deeds that they have committed. Terrific character actor Geoffrey Lewis plays Stacey Bridges, the typical Western villain riding himself into a completely not typical western town where sin is being rectified. When Eastwood is the most evil thing in the Western you'd have to be a good actor to still come across as a bad guy and Lewis does that perfectly. He's a worth adversary to Eastwood's stranger.

High Plains Drifter is one Western I could debate and discuss on for hours and hours. I think Eastwood is a ghost or some sort of angel of Vengeance sent to this town to make them pay for allowing a good man to be whipped to death in front of them in order to hide their shady business dealings with a mine that belonged to the Government. There is so much depth and hidden story to this film that it is just amazing!! The entire back story of this town unfolds while we are watching Eastwood exact his revenge and turn this town into Hell, literally. We don't know exactly what the town has done until it's nearly all over but he gets his vengeance and makes them pay. Without a doubt a disturbing and twisted film and an absolute must see for anyone who loves cinema and wants something different from a classic, tried and true genre like The Western and leave it to Eastwood to pull it off. I think High Plains Drifter is probably one of the most underrated films of all time. The tone of the film and message and story is so disturbing I'm not sure I'd ever watch it again and yet that being said it was so brilliant. I know many have said that Eastwood has explained numerous times the stranger in this film and that he was completely human but I like to look at it from a Supernatural angle because there is a sincere shiver up my spine when Mordecai says to Eastwood's stranger "I don't even know who you are" and Eastwood says..."Yes you do" and rides off into the sunset until he literally vanishes into thin air. It's completely different and a must see!! 9/10

Reviewed by MartinHafer8 / 10

Far from perfect but oh so entertaining

This is a post-"Spaghetti Western" Clint Eastwood Western. Because it is not one of these earlier films, the music (one of the best aspects of the films) isn't nearly as good and Eastwood doesn't wear the duds he wore in his three "spaghetti" films (i.e., Westerns made in Italy). However, it's still a dandy film--however, it is VERY important to understand this is NOT a film for kids!!! Apart from all the extreme violence, the language is pretty raw and there is a rape scene early in the film. This rape is very problematic, too, as with heightened awareness of sexual abuse, the rape was not handled well in the film--showing an old fashioned "she wanted it" view of rape.

The film begins with Eastwood coming into a very unfriendly town and killing three stupid thugs that try to pick a fight. The town is excited to see his skills with a gun and magnanimously ignore his raping a woman shortly after the shooting. While the lady was very nasty and I think Eastwood's character with no name might have been provoked enough to slap her,....he raped her!? The town's acceptance of this is just one of many indications that they are a town not worth saving. But, because they give Eastwood carte blanche to do ANYTHING he feels is necessary, he agrees to protect the citizens. Eastwood takes full advantage of this carte blanche and does him darnedest to upset the townsfolk--giving away liquor, making a malevolent midget the new sheriff AND mayor, and forcing the town to be painted red.

Why all this occurs and the despicable way the townspeople have behaved and will behave are a treat to see. I don't really want to discuss the reasons further, as it would spoil the film. However, exactly WHO Eastwood was and WHAT his motivation is are left intentionally vague. At the end of the film, the midget (Billy Curtis) asks him who is is,...and Eastwood tells him "you know". Really?! I have some ideas, but this is far from a certainly. This left the film with a mystical and strange quality I actually liked. In many ways, it was an interesting and bizarre take on the films HIGH NOON and BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK--two other films I strongly recommend.

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