Watch Lawman

"He gave the West justice right up to its neck... then rammed more down its throat."
  • PG
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 7.0  (5,726)
  • 52

Lawman is a gripping western drama from 1971 directed by Michael Winner and starring stalwarts of the genre Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Lee J. Cobb. The film is set in the fictional town of Sabbath in the old west, where local sheriff of Bannock City, Jered Maddox (Lancaster), is tasked with tracking down and bringing to justice seven cowboys who accidentally killed an innocent man in Bannock City during a drunken brawl.

Maddox, a man of unwavering principles, is determined to see justice done and travels to Sabbath with an arrest warrant for the seven cowboys. However, Maddox quickly discovers that the town is run by a corrupt and ruthless businessman named Vincent Bronson (Cobb) who has no qualms about using violence and intimidation to get his way. Bronson, who employs the cowboys and sees them as valuable assets, refuses to turn them over to Maddox, who is left with no choice but to pursue them through the town.

As Maddox attempts to persuade the cowboys to surrender peacefully, he is met with resistance at every turn. The cowboys, who are led by a hot-headed gunslinger named Vernon Adams (played by Robert Ryan), are determined to resist Maddox's authority and believe that they can negotiate their way out of trouble. Maddox, however, refuses to back down, setting up a tense and violent showdown between the lawman, the cowboys, and the corrupt forces that seek to protect them.

Throughout Lawman, the themes of justice, morality, and order vs. chaos are explored in depth. Maddox, who initially appears to be a strict and uncompromising figure, is revealed to have a sense of compassion and empathy, particularly towards the local barmaid, played by French actress Sheree North. Despite his professional duties, Maddox finds himself drawn to North's character and acknowledges that there is more to life than enforcing the law.

The character of Bronson, on the other hand, is portrayed as an entirely amoral figure who is solely interested in obtaining power and wealth by any means necessary. He represents the corrupt forces that Maddox must overcome in order to maintain law and order, and his interactions with Maddox form some of the most intense and gripping moments of the film.

The performances in Lawman are uniformly excellent, with Lancaster delivering a standout turn as the stoic and determined Maddox. His imposing physical presence and authoritative tone make him a commanding presence on screen, and his ability to convey a sense of inner turmoil and conflict adds depth to the character's moral struggles.

Ryan is also impressive as the complex and multi-layered Adams, who struggles with his loyalty to his fellow cowboys and his sense of right and wrong. His interactions with Lancaster are particularly engaging, as the two men attempt to reason with each other while also holding steadfast to their own values.

Cobb, as Bronson, is appropriately slimy and despicable, conveying a sense of genuine menace and calculating malice. His scenes with Lancaster are particularly memorable, as the two men engage in a battle of wills that highlights the film's central themes.

In terms of its visuals, Lawman is a well-crafted and atmospheric film. The dusty, sun-baked streets of Sabbath are captured in vivid detail, creating a sense of time and place that immerses the audience in the world of the film. The cinematography is also noteworthy, with director Michael Winner employing a variety of camera techniques to highlight the tension and drama of the story.

Overall, Lawman is a powerful and resonant western that explores complex themes with intelligence and sensitivity. Its excellent performances, gripping script, and atmospheric visuals make it a must-see for fans of the genre, and its timeless themes of justice, morality, and order vs. chaos ensure that it remains relevant and engaging to this day.

Lawman is a 1971 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 52.

Where to Watch Lawman
Lawman is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and YouTube. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Lawman for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (5,726)
  • Metascore