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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) Poster

Trivia

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Because of Chief Dan George's age, he would have trouble remembering his lines, so during takes, Clint Eastwood would begin to mouth his lines without realizing it and had to be told to stop because it would ruin the take. In a featurette on the DVD about making this movie, Eastwood says he'd have people drill Dan George on his lines, but when it came time to shoot the scene, he'd say "Chief, just forget about the lines, tell me the story about the man who rode over the hill." And Dan George, who was apparently a natural storyteller, would then tell the story perfectly.
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In her 1997 memoir "The Good, the Bad & the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey," Sondra Locke writes intimately about how Clint Eastwood capped off their first date, October 7, 1975, Wahweap Lodge and Marina, Page, Arizona: "Once at my door all that was necessary was another look at each other. There was no conversation, no maneuvering, it was all as natural as if it were happening for the thousandth time, but as exciting as any first time could be. He pulled me into his arms and kissed me gently, delicately. Then lifting me up, like some knight bearing his maiden, he carried me across the room to the bed. Physically I thought he was the most gorgeous man I had ever seen - his heroic face, his tall, lithe, muscular body. And in spite of his size and power, he was a gentle, affectionate, thoughtful, and yet intensely ardent lover. I thought of nothing except the moment. There was nothing in his past I wanted to know about, and nothing I wanted to tell, and certainly nothing I wanted to address about any future reality. We made love that night, not once, but several times. It was truly magic. Together, it seemed that, though we were two bodies, two hearts . . . in perfect accord we were one."
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According to famed Music Producer David Geffen, Clint Eastwood's tough reputation is well-deserved. When Geffen was a young executive at Warner Brothers, one of his assignments was to give notes on a screening of this movie. All of the other Warner Brothers executives were unanimous in their praise for this movie. Geffen liked this movie, but told Eastwood that perhaps this movie could be shortened by a half-hour. Eastwood calmly told Geffen that if he (Geffen) wanted the picture shortened by that much time ,then he could do it himself. Geffen then asked Eastwood where he would be . . . to which Eastwood replied: "I'll be across the street at Paramount cutting a new deal." Geffen was never asked to sit in on any other Eastwood movie after that encounter.
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Philip Kaufman started to direct this movie, but was replaced by Clint Eastwood on October 24, 1975, which was a controversial move that prompted the Directors' Guild of America (D.G.A.) to institute a ban on any current cast or crew member replacing the director on a movie: a rule which has ever since been titled the "Eastwood rule." According to biographer Marc Eliot, part of the acrimony between Eastwood and Kaufman was a result of both men asking female lead Sondra Locke out to dinner on the same night. Several members of the cast and crew were unhappy with Eastwood, and felt that Kaufman had done a lot of the work for which Eastwood later took credit. According to them, it was Kaufman who had chosen the locations, the costumes, and who had cast Chief Dan George, after seeing him in Little Big Man (1970).
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The movie received mixed reviews on its release, but it wasn't until a few years later that aficionado Orson Welles during a guest appearance on The Merv Griffin Show (1962) declared: "When I saw that picture for the fourth time, I realized that it belongs with the great Westerns. You know, the great Westerns of Ford and Hawks and people like that."
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Josey Wales' (Clint Eastwood's) two main handguns are Colt Walker 1847 Dragoon revolvers. They each hold six .44 caliber ball shots. The weapon featured larger cylinder chambers to allow more powder to be placed in the gun thus making them more powerful (hence why it was so popular twenty years later). The Colt Walker's one drawback was the weakness in the cylinder walls. If one broke, the whole weapon would blow up. This is referenced in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992).
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According to legend, this movie was based on the life of Thomas Atticus Hawkins, a Missouri farmer from Maries County.
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This movie received a lot of high praise amongst Native American viewers for its non-stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in this movie.
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The first of six movies made by real-life couple Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke.
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In the novel, Josey and Laura marry and have a son they name Jamie. This storyline was not included because Clint Eastwood was against the idea of ending up domesticated in one of his movies.
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Josey Wales kills fifty-five people. This gives Clint Eastwood his second highest body count after Where Eagles Dare (1968).
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Matt Clark plays the bartender Kelly serving Josey Wales in Santa Rio. He later played the bartender Chester in Back to the Future Part III (1990) in which he served "Clint Eastwood" a.k.a. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox).
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The only PG rated Western directed by Clint Eastwood even though it has lots of violence e.g., an attempted rape scene with brief nudity and a sex scene.
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This is the first Clint Eastwood movie that got nominated at the Academy Awards. It was nominated Best Original Score by Jerry Fielding.
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Horse Wranglers: This movie contains some of the most wild horse scenes ever recorded and kept in a movie. Two scenes in particular: 1) At the beginning of the cabin shoot-out, a horse jumps the stream and doesn't stick his landing. As a result, you watch him skate on his front legs for at least twenty to thirty feet. 2) About three minutes later, one of the women shoots at three guys on the side of the hill thereby knocking people off their mounts. The people and horses then slide down the hill all the way to the bottom.
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Clint Eastwood said on the 1999 DVD release that this movie is "certainly one of the high points of my career... in the Western genre of filmmaking."
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In the novel, Lone Watie is identified as the nephew of General Stand Watie, a Cherokee from Indian Territory, who was the last Confederate General to surrender at the end of the American Civil War in April 1865.
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The character of Josey Wales is thirty-two-years-old in the novel. Clint Eastwood was forty-five when he played Josey and forty-six at the time of this movie's release.
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The opening scene where Clint Eastwood practices firing guns was repeated in Unforgiven (1992) where William Munny practices firing guns.
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Sondra Locke was taken aback when Clint Eastwood shaved off the full beard he grew for this movie: "I had grown so accustomed to Josey, had actually fallen in love with Josey, and now Clint had stripped Josey away. For perhaps thirty seconds, there was a slight awkwardness between us - as if we had not met. But then it passed and the perfect and easy fit between us was powerfully recaptured."
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John Landis cast John Vernon in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) after seeing him in this movie.
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The character of Laura Lee is twenty-two-years-old in the novel. Sondra Locke was thirty-one when she played Laura and thirty-two at the time of this movie's release.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" edited by Steven Schneider.
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A little known sequel titled The Return of Josey Wales (1980) directed by and starring Michael Parks was released ten years later.
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John Mitchum and Clint Eastwood were in the first three Dirty Harry movies where Mitchum played Inspector DiGeorgio. He also had a cameo in the earlier Eastwood Western High Plains Drifter (1973) as a warden.
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Clint Eastwood reteamed with Sondra Locke and Bill McKinney for The Gauntlet (1977). Together with Jon Quade, the three of them would also be in the "Which Way" comedies in 1978 and 1980.
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Clint Eastwood plays a man who loses his family. In real-life, Eastwood has at least six families.
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Clint Eastwood and John Vernon appeared in Dirty Harry (1971).
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Reportedly country singer George Strait's favorite movie.
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Based on the book "The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales" by Forrest Carter. In reality, Forrest Carter was actually named Asa Carter who was a notorious segregationist from Alabama. Not only was Asa Carter the author of the "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever" speech by former Alabama Governor George Wallace, Wallace paid him under the table because even in 1960s Alabama, Carter's rhetoric was considered beyond pale for many in the state. After the end of the civil rights era, Carter went to Texas and assumed a new life under the name "Forrest Carter".
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Filming began October 6, 1975.
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Clint Eastwood and Sheb Wooley appeared on Rawhide (1959).
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Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke stayed at an unremarkable hotel in Oroville, California, when production moved there in November. On Thanksgiving night, postcoital, Eastwood suddenly and unexpectedly leapt out of bed, threw open the hotel room door, and standing stark naked for the world, shouted "Sveeeeeeeeeetie! I love you-u-u-u-u."
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There were three waves of release: June 23, 1976 in Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.; June 30, 1976 in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Denver; July 14, 1976 in Minneapolis and Los Angeles.
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This is the first Clint Eastwood-directed movie distributed by Warner Brothers. His prior ones were distributed by Universal Pictures.
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During shooting, Clint Eastwood got so frustrated with an uncooperative horse that he punched the horse in its jaw.
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The opening scene where Josey's family is attacked by soldiers is similar to the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider (1985) where bad guys run into a town and attack the innocent residents.
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Included amongst the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Non-showbiz acquaintances of Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke said when they took the couple horseback riding, Sondra couldn't even saddle a horse by herself. Someone had to do it for her.
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Clint Eastwood, William Connell, John Quade, and John Mitchum appeared in High Plains Drifter (1973).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Body count: one hundred thirty-eight.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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