BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Lonely Are The Brave (1962) - Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Film Details

  • Art

Lonely Are the Brave

Lonely Are The Brave, starring Kirk Douglas, has a very poetic opening as a lone cowboy, sitting around a campfire, talks to his horse and then pushes his cowboy hat back on his head . . . to watch a passenger jet fly over his head.  Forget about open country, Charlie, this is a movie where fences and no trespassing signs rule the day with real rules, real lines, and real consequences for those who dare defy established social norms.

"Director David Miller’s western is a certified avant-garde masterpiece, challenging preconceived notions about westerns and independence"

For a film about stubborn characters, there’s no better beginning as the modern day means nothing to this guy.  That impactful opening is beautiful and ripe with contradictions as ranch hand Jack Burns (Douglas) wakes up and, after wrestling with his horse, Whiskey (actually Douglas’ own horse), dares to cross a busy highway to get to breakfast with Jerry Bondi (Gena Rowlands).  

When he finally gets across the highway, we find out what is on the other side and it is nothing but trouble.  Jerry has had it with men.  Her own husband is back in jail for harboring illegal immigrants.  She desperately needs a man to accept reality and give up the past.  Burns isn’t it and he knows this, but he is the type to get arrested solely to help her husband (Michael Kane) to break out.

Lonely Are The Brave dares for you to look the other way.  You can’t, though.  That’s due to some damn fine performances and a script, adapted by Dalton Trumbo from a book written by the one and only Edward Abbey, which is absolutely on fire, crackling with sharp dialogue and great characters.  Cleverly constructed with classic scenes, this western is for anyone who feels out of place in the modern world thanks to some unforgettable cinematography from Philip H. Lathrop (Experiment in Terror). 

Director David Miller’s western is a certified avant-garde masterpiece, challenging preconceived notions about westerns and independence.  The movie, co-starring a charmingly cantankerous Walter Matthau as Sheriff Morey Johnson and a very unlikable George Kennedy as Deputy Sheriff Gutierrez, is a film full of jarring and effective juxtapositions as Jack clashes with just about every rule he comes across, arguing for a world that doesn’t exist anymore..  Lonely Are the Brave

Get ready to have your mind expanded by this criminally ignored and severely underappreciated as one fiercely independent cowboy faces extinction at the hands of progress and civility while bucking and infuriating every cop he encounters.  From jail breaks to explosive finales, Jack’s the anti-hero that the cinema loves to worship.  His sunset is a slow burn of warmth, friendship, and loose ends.  

Featuring early glimpses of Bill Bixby and Carroll O'Connor, Lonely are the Brave is a masterpiece of mood and maturity.  It is now on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber.

5/5 beers

Lonely Are the Brave


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- May 19, 2020
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English SDH
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

From David Miller, the outstanding director of Flying Tigers, Sudden Fear, Midnight Lace, Captain Newman, M.D. and Executive Action, comes this contemporary western based on a novel by Edward Abbey (Fire on the Mountain) and adapted for the screen by the great Dalton Trumbo (Papillon). Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas (The Vikings) ignites the screen in his personal favorite role as a cowboy on a collision course with the modern world in Lonely Are The Brave. After landing himself in jail trying to break out his friend, Jack Burns (Douglas) finds himself alone and on the run from the law. Leading the manhunt is Sheriff Morey Johnson (Walter Matthau, Charley Varrick), who must bring Burns to justice despite his own sympathy for the fugitive. Co-starring Gena Rowlands (Gloria), George Kennedy (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot) and Carroll O’Connor (Point Blank) and featuring top-notch cinematography by Philip H. Lathrop (Experiment in Terror) with a rousing score by Jerry Goldsmith (100 Rifles), Lonely Are The Brave is an unforgettable portrait of a lawless man defying life in an orderly world.


Kino Lorber presents Lonely Are The Brave with a newly remastered print in 1080p.  With bold black levels and clear white levels, it is a perfectly balanced picture showcasing an unbalanced world of prairies and highways.  There are a couple of focus issues due to the clarity of the print but it should not bother most.  There are no scratches on the print, too, and the film looks better than previous releases.  The film feels fresh – especially 2.35:1 aspect ratio – and offers a depth in some of the scenes that previously felt too enclosed.  


The soundtrack – an engaging DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track – is free of hiss and other noise but is not as engaging as one could hope for.



  • Howard S. Berger and Steve Mitchell provide a fascinating commentary that fans of this movie will appreciate.

Special Features:

Kino Lorber Studio Classics loads this release with a tribute as Steven Spielberg, Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, and Michael Douglas discuss the film’s legacy.  Jerry Goldsmith is highlighted in another featurette and the film’s trailer rounds out the collection.

  • Lonely Are The Brave: A Tribute
  • The Music of Lonely Are The Brave
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars


Lonely Are the Brave

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
107 mins
: David Miller
Dalton Trumbo
Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau
: Western
Life can never cage a man like this!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Believe you me, if it didn't take men to make babies I wouldn't have anything to do with any of you!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 25, 1962
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 19, 2020
Synopsis: A fiercely independent cowboy gets himself locked up in prison to escape with an old friend.


Lonely Are the Brave

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes