Watch Arizona Raiders
- 1 hr 37 min
Arizona Raiders is a Western film that was released in the year 1965, directed by William Witney and starring Audie Murphy, Michael Dante, and Ben Cooper. Set in the aftermath of the Civil War, the story follows a group of Confederate soldiers. They are forced to disband and resort to a life of banditry, stealing from Union soldiers and sympathizers in the Arizona territory. The group is led by Clint (Murphy), who is seeking revenge against a Union officer who abandoned him on the battlefield and left him for dead.
One day, Clint and his gang rob a stagecoach and kidnap a Union officer's fiancÃ©e, along with his commanding officer's sister, whom Clint had recently met and fallen in love with. The officer, Captain Andrews (Dante), gathers a posse of Union soldiers and goes after the bandits. But when the two groups finally meet, they face a common enemy, a group of marauding Apaches. Together, they must work to protect themselves and fight off the attackers.
The movie is a classic Western flick, with plenty of gunfights, horseback chases, and cowboy hats. The characters are well-drawn, and the performances are solid, particularly Murphy, who conveys Clint's sense of disillusionment and moral ambiguity, without ever losing the audience's sympathy. Ben Cooper as "Tracy," one of the Confederates, is another standout, his easy charm and charisma providing a nice counterpoint to Clint's brooding intensity.
Aside from the action-movie tropes, the movie also touches on themes of betrayal, loyalty, and redemption. There are moments of genuine emotional depth, as well as some surprisingly dark moments of violence and brutality. The Apaches, while not exactly portrayed sympathetically, are given a degree of respect and agency that was unusual for Western movies of this era. The film also has some interesting things to say about the legacy of the Confederacy and the aftermath of the Civil War, without necessarily endorsing or condemning either side.
The cinematography, by Jack A. Marta, is another strong aspect of the film, with plenty of sweeping vistas of the Arizona countryside. The music, by Richard LaSalle, is also well-done, providing a rousing and memorable score that complements the action onscreen.
Despite its many strengths, Arizona Raiders is not without flaws. The pacing can be slow at times, and the movie occasionally dips into melodrama, particularly in the romantic subplot between Clint and the commanding officer's sister. Some of the dialogue is also a bit cliched, with characters spouting heavily stereotyped "Western" phrases that can be cringe-inducing to modern ears.
Overall, however, Arizona Raiders is a solid Western movie that should appeal to fans of the genre. Its themes and characters are more complex than one might expect from such a straightforward action movie, and the performances and cinematography are top-notch. While not a classic on par with The Searchers or High Noon, it is nevertheless an enjoyable and well-crafted film that deserves a place in any Western fan's collection.
Arizona Raiders is a 1965 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9.