Red Headed Stranger

Watch Red Headed Stranger

  • R
  • 1986
  • 1 hr 45 min
  • 6.5  (828)

Red Headed Stranger is a 1986 Americana western film directed by William D. Wittliff and starring legendary country singer Willie Nelson. The film is a retelling of Nelson’s best-selling album of the same name and marks his first lead role in a feature film. The movie also features great talents such as Morgan Fairchild and R.G. Armstrong.

The film follows the story of Red Headed Stranger, a gunfighter and a wandering musician who seeks refuge in a small town in Texas. The town’s people are all curious about the newcomer and his fascinating life story. They go to great lengths to get to know him better, and this is where the story begins to unravel.

As the Red Headed Stranger opens up to the townsfolk about his past, we learn that he was once a successful rancher who had a beautiful wife. However, due to a series of unfortunate events, he loses everything that he held dear. He’s left alone to wander the countryside with nothing but his guitar and a faithful horse.

The film's storyline is full of twists and turns that keep the viewers engaged from start to finish. Along the way, the Red Headed Stranger encounters different people who try to befriend him, and although he tries to keep everyone at a distance, he finds himself getting closer to some of them.

As the Red Headed Stranger settles into life in the town, he finds a new love interest in the form of Morgan Fairchild's character, the town benchwarmer, and widow. Her husband had been murdered, and she’s trying to run the family ranch and raise her son all by herself. The two strike up an unlikely friendship that soon turns to romance, and their connection helps the Red Headed Stranger heal some of the emotional scars from his past.

However, the peaceful existence of Red Headed Stranger and his new lover is threatened when a group of outlaws comes to town. The men are looking for nothing but trouble, and in a series of unfortunate events, they succeed in arousing the Red Headed Stranger’s bloodlust. He runs the band of criminals out of the town in a dramatic shootout.

Throughout the film, Willie Nelson performs and sings several songs that add to the overall ambiance of the western classic. As the Red Headed Stranger, Nelson is stoic, silent, and enigmatic, allowing his music and performance to speak volumes for the character. His followers won't be disappointed as he delivers a convincing performance that's both credible and moving.

Morgan Fairchild brings her considerable charismatic energy to her role as a widow rebuilding her family life. Her character's grace and grit alight with persuasive passion, especially in her scenes with Nelson. R.G. Armstrong, known for his iconic Hollywood western roles, delivers a brilliant performance as the town's preacher, offering evocative prose and commentary that emphasize the film's western spirit.

Technically, the film is well-crafted, with impressive cinematography and cinematographic choices, and the sound design captures the barren landscape perfectly.

In conclusion, the Red Headed Stranger might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's an authentic piece of Americana art. While the movie is not without its pacing issues and occasional cliché, the film conveys a moving story that’s full of heart, intrigue, and stunning scenic beauty. Willie Nelson's formidable acting debut elevates the movie to a must-see for western fans and music enthusiasts.

Red Headed Stranger is a 1986 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.

Where to Watch Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger is available to watch free on Peacock, Crackle, Plex, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Red Headed Stranger for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 45 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (828)