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300 Ratings

The Lusty Men

United States, 1952
Drama, Western


Jeff is a rodeo rider broken by one-too many steers and over-reaching for the American Dream. He falls in with a young rancher who has the two things Jeff could never grasp: a clod of earth and the love of a good wife. Yet the rodeo circuit’s fast money are also luring the couple.

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The Lusty Men Directed by Nicholas Ray, Robert Parrish
In his moving performance in The Lusty Men (1952), one of Nicholas Ray’s most beautiful and underrated films, Mitchum plays a has-been rodeo cowboy who ends up risking his life to save his friend, whose wife he has fallen in love with. His scenes with the fiery Susan Hayward are rich with a quiet yearning which his manner accentuates.
September 29, 2017
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Ray’s deepest sympathies are for outsiders, not for those who choose domesticity. But the film doesn’t sentimentalize the rodeo ethos and its peripatetic participants. Using documentary footage, the film provides us with a detailed and seamlessly integrated portrait of the stadium ambience… The Lusty Men is a small, poetic film with an emotional resonance that goes beyond its bare narrative.
February 25, 2015
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Ray dismantles the genre’s iconography with salt and rue, his contrasts are always surprising… A key American vision, with Ray’s sense of failure and transience and grace pulled together into Mitchum’s wink of soulful nonchalance. Peckinpah in Junior Bonner takes up the analysis.
November 10, 2014
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