“Rio Bravo” is the comfort food of movie Westerns. The tale of a determined sheriff and his motley crew under siege in a Texas town, this 1959 picture directed by the great Howard Hawks (“The Big Sleep,” “Red River”) hearkens back to the days of strong heroes and uncomplicated moral codes.
John Wayne was never more endearing as lawman John T. Chance, who must stave off a band of guns for hire after he locks up the murderous brother of a wealthy rancher. Chance’s only allies are an alcoholic deputy (Dean Martin), a crotchety old jailer (Walter Brennan), a leggy dame (Angie Dickinson) and a guitar-strummin’ gunman (Ricky Nelson). “Rio Bravo” moves with relaxed assuredness, and it’s a swaggering good time.
Warner Brothers has assembled a two-disc special edition that does justice to this classic. Extras include three documentaries and a commentary by Time magazine film critic Richard Schickel and director John Carpenter, whose “Assault on Precinct 13″ was an unofficial, urbanized remake of “Rio Bravo.”