The Legend of the Lone Ranger

Watch The Legend of the Lone Ranger

"The untold story of the man behind the mask, and the legend behind the man."
  • PG
  • 1981
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 4.9  (2,449)

The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a 1981 American Western movie directed by William A. Fraker and starring Klinton Spilsbury, Michael Horse, Christopher Lloyd, and Matt Clark. The film is a retelling of the Lone Ranger's origin story, following his journey from a young Texas Ranger named John Reid to the masked vigilante of the Old West, accompanied by his trusty Native American sidekick, Tonto.

The movie begins with John Reid and his brother Dan joining a group of Texas Rangers tasked with capturing the notorious outlaw Butch Cavendish. However, their mission goes awry when Cavendish and his gang ambush the Rangers, killing everyone except for John, who is rescued and nursed back to health by Tonto. The Native American warrior becomes John's mentor, teaching him the skills he will need to become the Lone Ranger.

As John and Tonto track down Cavendish and his men, they run into various obstacles along the way, including a corrupt businessman named Latham Cole (Christopher Lloyd), who is involved in Cavendish's criminal activities. Meanwhile, John struggles with his dual identities as a lawman and a masked outlaw, and as he becomes more skilled at fighting crime, he also has to grapple with the moral implications of his vigilantism.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a classic Western movie, with shootouts, horse chases, and sweeping landscapes. However, it also has a more modern sensibility, with John and Tonto's relationship being portrayed as a partnership of equals rather than a white hero being helped by a stereotype of a Native American sidekick. Michael Horse's portrayal of Tonto is especially noteworthy, as he infuses the character with a quiet strength and dignity that make him more than just a comic relief.

The movie's cast is generally strong, with Klinton Spilsbury making a convincing debut as the Lone Ranger. However, his performance is somewhat hampered by the fact that his voice was dubbed in post-production, reportedly due to his lack of acting experience. This decision has been a subject of controversy over the years, and while it may be distracting to some viewers, it ultimately doesn't detract from the overall quality of the movie.

Christopher Lloyd, meanwhile, is appropriately slimy as Latham Cole, bringing a sense of menace to the role without ever descending into cartoonish villainy. Matt Clark also stands out in his role as Dan Reid, John's ill-fated brother, playing the character with a stoic determination that makes his tragic fate all the more affecting.

The movie's action sequences are well-staged, with director William A. Fraker making good use of his experience as a cinematographer to showcase the film's beautiful outdoor locations. The soundtrack, composed by John Barry, is appropriately sweeping and heroic, and the movie's theme song, sung by Merle Haggard, is a classic ode to the Lone Ranger's enduring legacy.

Overall, The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a well-made Western movie that pays respectful homage to the classic character, while also updating his story for a modern audience. While it may not be as iconic as some of the older Lone Ranger adaptations, it still stands on its own merits as a solid piece of entertainment, with strong performances, thrilling action, and a strong sense of justice and morality.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a 1981 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.9.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.9  (2,449)