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6.61 h 24 min1956PG
A gunman and a widow search for the lone survivor of an Apache ambush, who has fled with a fortune in stolen gold.
John Sturges
Richard WidmarkDonna ReedWilliam Campbell
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Supporting actors
John McIntireBarton MacLaneHarry MorganEdward Platt
Aaron Rosenberg
Universal Pictures
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4.5 out of 5 stars

124 global ratings

  1. 69% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

The CinemaScope CatReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 December 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars
A gem of a western still waiting for rediscovery
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When you think director John Sturges and the western, you probably think of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN or GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL or possibly even HOUR OF THE GUN but this strong effort is seldom mentioned which is unfortunate as it's quite good. A man (Richard Widmark) is searching for the murderer of the father he never knew and a woman (Donna Reed) is searching for the gold left by the husband who abandoned her and they join up together when they suspect the man they're looking for may be the same person. The tight screenplay is by Borden Chase who wrote such western classics as RED RIVER and WINCHESTER 73. The film doesn't lack excitement what with gunfights, Apache attacks and cattle range wars but it's the personal stories and the relationship between Widmark and Reed that form the basis of the film's core. It's nice to see Reed in a strong, integral part rather than the "girl" that populates so many westerns. The wide screen SuperScope cinematography is handled well by Irving Glassberg (TARNISHED ANGELS) but the pedestrian score by Herman Stein adds little to the proceedings. With John McIntire, William Campbell, Barton MacLane, Harry Morgan and Roy Roberts.

The British Optimum release boasts an excellent 2.00:1 transfer.
34 people found this helpful
BlackBrigandReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 May 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of my personal top ten western films
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BACKLASH 1956 Region 2/PAL DVD 2009

Back in the 1980s I replaced most of my collection of 8mm movies with VHS and now I am going through a same process of upgrading everything to DVD. This also gives me the excuse to revisit films which I have not seen for some time.

BACKLASH is one of Richard Widmark's better westerns where once again he plays a tough and rather embittered character, Jim Slater, who is searching for the truth about his father's death in an Apache raid. There was single survivor which could be either Jim's father whom he never knew or Donna Reed's missing husband, either of whom could have abandoned their party to make off with a fortune in gold.

The film has plenty of action, fist fights, gun battles, Indian attacks and boasts a strong supporting cast including Harry Morgan, William Campbell and John McIntyre who gives one of his best performances.

The strong unusual story is adapted from the Frank Gruber novel Fort Starvation (1953) which has elements of both of Gruber's talent for the western and mystery genres. With a screenplay by Borden Chase and the film directed by John Sturges it has an impeccable pedigree, and was beautifully shot on location in Arizona; some of the scenery is totally spectacular.

This has always been on my top ten westerns list although I had not viewed it for some time until I obtained the DVD to replace my VHS tape and has confirmed it's place on the best western's chart.
2 people found this helpful
Spike OwenReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars
There's things a man has to know and has to do, and it's best that he does them alone.
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Backlash (1956) is directed by John Sturges and adapted by Borden Chase from the novel written by Frank Gruber. It stars Richard Widmark, Donna Reed, John McIntire & William Campbell. It's shot in Technicolor by Irving Glassberg on location in Tuscon, Arizona.

1870 Arizona, and Jim Slater (Widmark) is searching for the truth about what happened to his father during the Apache ambush at Gila Valley. This brings him into contact with strong willed Karyl Orton (Reed), who courtesy of her missing husband also has an interest in the events of that raid. Missing family members and missing gold, the can is now open and worms are pouring out every where.

It's about the writing and the characters here. From the off it should be known that this is no high octane actioner. We are dealing in a mystery, with what amounts to a detective story played out in a Western theme. It's a touch unusual but never less than interesting as Chases' unconventional script gives birth to a myriad of characters, some complex, others just stock genre story fleshers. There's some clichés spliced within the piece, but they are off set by some nice twists in the story. And while this is no Anthony Mann/Borden Chase psychologically tinted production, it doesn't cop out with its big decisions. Glassberg's cinematography is first class, really vibrant and bursting out from the screen as they nicely film it on location of where the story is set. The cast is real strong. Widmark is excellent as the tough as nails hero and Reed looks stunning whilst neatly essaying a prickly femme fatale type. McIntire gives another classy supporting turn and Campbell is enjoyably OTT as hothead gunslinger Johnny Cool.

The principals have all done far better work in the genre, but this is a nice change of pace for all of them. It's unlikely to raise the pulses of the action seeking fan, but for those of a more literary persuasion this should hit the spot. 7/10
2 people found this helpful
MACReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 November 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great western with great stars.....
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Based on the novel by Frank Gruber, directed by John Sturges,,a master of action and drama, all brought together in this classic Western from 1956, starring the unforgettable Richard Widmark, the beautiful Donna Reed, John McIntire who never fails to entertain in any western, Barton MacLane, William Campbell and Harry Morgan. With superb outdoor scenes of the Arizona desert, it tells the story of one man's journey in search of his estranged father and one woman's attempt to discover the truth behind the disappearance of her husband.....
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 October 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie
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Another wonderful western classic with Richard witmark.
Great movie, sound and picture.
dennisoconnorReviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 April 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars
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I really enjoyed this dvd, good quality, clear picture, thanks D.
NiemarReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 January 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Tight script and acting and directing
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Well done
SSSReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 April 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Four Stars
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Arrived on time and plays fine.
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