The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Watch The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

"Stories live forever. People don't."
  • R
  • 2018
  • 2 hr 13 min
  • 7.2  (166,764)
  • 79

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, is a collection of six Western vignettes set in the late 1800s. Each story is a unique tale that offers an inside glance into the Old West, from shootouts to bank robberies, and is treated with the Coen brothers' snappy and satirical sensibility. In the first episode, we meet Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson), a cheerful and sharp-shooting singing cowboy who roams from town to town in search of adventure. In the second story, "Near Algodones," a bank robber (James Franco) tries his luck with a rural bank, but finds himself in an unexpected predicament. The third tale, "Meal Ticket," revolves around a traveling entertainer (Liam Neeson) and his limbless companion (Harry Melling), for whom he borrows from one tent to another's carnival. In the fourth entry, "All Gold Canyon," an aging prospector played by Tom Waits is determined to strike gold in a beautiful, yet rugged valley.

The fifth episode, "The Gal Who Got Rattled," is the most dramatic of the six, following Alice (Zoe Kazan), a woman traveling to Oregon with her brother. When tragedy strikes, she is left to navigate the terrain with the help of a stranger (Bill Heck). Finally, in the sixth story, "The Mortal Remains," a coach journey featuring five riders who discusses religion, politics and life itself as they make their way to their ultimate destination.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a stylish and visually breathtaking movie that features the Coen brothers' characteristic combination of satire and bleak humor. The cast is exemplary, with Tim Blake Nelson, Clancy Brown, and Willie Watson unsurprisingly particular standouts.

The cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel brings beautiful location photography that highlights the rocky landscape of Western America, setting the perfect backdrop for each of the stories. The musical score, composed by frequent Coen brothers collaborator Carter Burwell, perfectly captures the atmosphere of the Old West, with a mix of sweeping orchestration and jaunty folk songs.

At its core, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is about the human condition, the fragility and resilience of the characters that inhabit the old frontier. The six individual stories carry with them an endless amount of emotion and empathy towards flawed and relatable characters.

Ultimately, this movie is a triumph, both for the Coen brothers and for the Western genre. It offers a rollicking good time for those seeking mindless entertainment, yet offers deep contemplation of morality, death, and human nature for more discerning viewers. It is a beautifully shot, acted, and written movie that should not be missed.

In conclusion, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a film that manages to evoke a range of emotions in the viewer, profoundly compelling and thought-provoking. With its playful mix of humor, drama, and tragedy, the movie is a brilliant, eclectic collection of stories that showcase the Coen brothers' unique, unrivaled style. It is a must-watch for anyone, with or without a penchant for Westerns, who enjoys good storytelling, indelible characters, and timeless themes that continually resonate in the human experience.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a 2018 western with a runtime of 2 hours and 13 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 79.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Where to Watch The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Netflix. Some platforms allow you to rent The Ballad of Buster Scruggs for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 13 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (166,764)
  • Metascore