The Kentuckian

Released 2001


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Movie Summary

Burt Lancaster
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The Kentuckian is set in the wilderness of the Kentucky frontier in the 1820's. The film is an adaptation of the novel, "The Gabriel Horn" by Felix Holt, is directed by Burt Lancaster and is the feature film debut by Walter Matthau. Eli Wakefield (Burt Lancaster) is a rugged outdoorsman, and the Kentucky frontier has become too civilized for him, so he decides that he and his son, Little Eli (Donald MacDonald) are going to move to Texas where men can be truly free. Along the way, they encounter two separate women. One is an indentured servant, Hannah (Dianne Foster), who wants to come along. The second woman is a school teacher, Susie (Diana Lynn), who wants Eli to settle down and marry her. Eli and his son also encounter an ornery frontiersman named Stan Bodine (Walter Matthau), who presents a challenge to the travelers. Can Eli and his son make it to Texas and set up their new life or will fate tie them to another spot along the way?moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 50

    Time Out

    Carradine is good value as a garrulous doctor; but in general the direction tends to get bogged down in not very interesting characters and relationships while neglecting to delive...

  • 50


    The rather simple story of a pioneer father, his son and their dream of new lands is the basis for this adventure-drama. The footage is long and often slow, with the really high sp...

  • 40

    The New York Times Bosley Crowther

    Some outdoor scenes in excellent color and the expanse of CinemaScope give a bit of magnificence to a picture that lacks it in every other way.

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50s, Classics, Westerns, Thrillers, Military & War