Easily in my top 50 films of all time, 1985's SILVERADO is a modern American western classic for movie lovers of all genres.
Writer/Director Lawrence Kadsan (Body Heat, The Big Chill) spins a fantastic, fast-moving story, taking the standard "good guy v. bad guy in the west" tale and loading it with great characters, humor and emotion.
Kevin Kline is Paden, a former gunfighter looking to settle down when he meets Emmitt, played to perfection by 80's star Scott Glenn (The Right Stuff, Backdraft).
Emmitt is looking for his younger brother Jake, played by Kevin Costner in one of his first film roles.
When Mal (Danny Glover) crosses their path, the four become a united group of good men headed toward the promise of a town called Silverado.
There are no stereotypical characters here. Archetypes yes, but everyone is fleshed out by great writing and great acting.
John Cleese has some of the best lines as a by-the-book Sheriff in a small town where Jake's due to hang.
Jeff Goldblum is a quirky (who knew?) card-shark who moves allegiances as fast as he deals from the bottom of the deck.
Brian Dennehy (First Blood, Cocoon) damn near steals the movie as Cobb, the Sheriff/Saloon Owner in Silverado, who boldly crosses the line from white hat to black hat daily.
Linda Hunt is great as Stella the Saloon Owner, who makes up in guts & heart what she lacks in height.
Beautifully shot in New Mexico, it also features one of the best Western film scores of all time by Bruce Boughton (Tombstone).
From the film's opening three minutes with Glenn battling murderers in a tiny shack that morphs into the rousing title credits, SILVERADO is a great ride.
The final showdown in Silverado is about as good as it gets, even if you aren't partial to Westerns.
Kasdan wrote "Raiders of the Lost Ark", so its no surprise he can pen a great adventure, but this one blew me away in 1985 and plays just as well today. I'm not sure how he straddles the line between traditional and fresh so perfectly but he does.
Watching our four heroes ride into Silverado for the final battle with Broughton's score belting in the background is something you've seen 100 times, but NEVER executed this perfectly.
When Kasdan was writing the film, he said "Any story you want to tell, you can tell in a Western. It's just a very flexible, open canvas."
Damned if Kasdan didn't paint a masterpiece. SILVERADO gets an A+ and an often revisited spot in my all-time Top 100.