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Face Off: Silverado vs. Tombstone

05.29.2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column put the two most popular X-MEN movies (before DAYS OF FUTURE PAST) against each other, and the majority of you disagreed with the notion that X-MEN: FIRST CLASS would be preferable to X2: X-MEN UNITED.

This weekend, "Family Guy" mastermind Seth MacFarlane pays a visit to the Old West in the new comedy A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST. Let's take a more serious look at the sixguns and tumbleweeds genre with a couple of modern classic Westerns, SILVERADO and TOMBSTONE.

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
STORY
In an untamed Old West town, four principled men deal with nefarious outlaws
In an untamed Old West town, four principled men deal with nefarious outlaws
HEROES
Misfit friends Emmett (Scott Glenn), Paden (Kevin Kline), Mal (Danny Glover), and charming wild card Jake (Kevin Costner)
Legendary lawman Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), his brothers Virgil and Morgan (Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton), and charming wild card Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer)
VILLAINS
Former criminal turned ruthless sheriff Cobb (Brian Dennehy) and his greasy psychopath henchman Tyree (Jeff Fahey), and callous cattle rancher McKendrick (Ray Baker) and his small army of enforcers
The Cowboys' honcho “Curly Bill” Brocius (Powers Boothe) and his serpentine gunslinger Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), and their gang of vicious desperadoes
LOVE INTEREST
Beleaguered frontier settler and recent widow Hannah (Rosanna Arquette), although there's more spark from the platonic relationship between Paden and diminutive saloon manager Stella (Linda Hunt)
Wyatt ditches his laudanum-addicted wife (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) to chase a spontaneous traveling actress (Dana Delaney)
SHOWDOWNs
Jake sneaks up on Tyree and guns him down while Emmett plants his horse's hooves across McKendrick's head, and Paden has a traditional Western duel with Cobb on the deserted main street of Silverado
Wyatt blasts away at Curly Bill in a river battle and Doc later steps in to take on Ringo, but the event that sets it all in motion is the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral
HEY IT'S THAT GUY
In addition to Jeff Goldblum as a shifty gambler and John Cleese as a tetchy sheriff, we get BLADE RUNNER replicant Brion James, Ray Baker (the doctor who implanted Arnie in TOTAL RECALL), James Gammon (MAJOR LEAGUE), known for his gruff drawl and walrus mustache, Earl Hindman, the fence-obscured neighbor Wilson on the sitcom “Home Improvement”, Richard Jenkins (CABIN IN THE WOODS) in his first movie role, and Amanda Wyss, who dumped John Cusack in BETTER OFF DEAD
TOMBSTONE is character actor heaven. Even besides Billy Zane as a flamboyant theatre performer, Billy Bob Thornton (getting slapped around by Wyatt Earp), “Lost” star Terry O’Quinn as Tombstone’s mayor and Jason Priestly as a young deputy, the Cowboys are a veritable wealth of "That Guy": Stephen Lang, Michael Rooker, Thomas Haden Church, John Corbett, Robert John Burke and Paul Ben-Victor (most recently seen on HBO's "True Detective"). And then screen legend Charlton Heston shows up for a cameo
DIRECTOR
Co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, whose previous credits included script work on THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and RETURN OF THE JEDI, and writing/directing THE BIG CHILL and BODY HEAT

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II director George P. Cosmatos – although star Kurt Russell later admitted that he himself was actually the puppet master calling the shots

(Kevin Jarre, who wrote the script, was initially directing the film but was fired early in the production)
EXTRA TIDBIT
Kevin Costner and Kevin Kline would both later revisit SILVERADO in a sense -- the town's set was reused for WYATT EARP (which reunited Costner with writer-director Kasdan) and WILD WILD WEST
Willem Dafoe was originally cast as Doc Holliday but Disney wanted Val Kilmer or wouldn't release the movie (producer Andrew Vajna also floated the idea of Russell playing Holliday with Richard Gere as Wyatt)
TOMBSTONE
Regardless of the outcome here, the sprawling and deliberate SILVERADO remains a great, gorgeous film with memorable characters and performances. But it simply can't compete with Russell's inevitable ferocity, Kilmer's iconic Doc Holliday ("I'm your huckleberry") and the over-the-top villainy on display. Both movies are wonderful, resilient examples of Westerns made at a time when it wasn't exactly the most popular genre in Hollywood (although UNFORGIVEN rekindled interest), filled with familiar faces and perfectly capturing the tone and aesthetic of classic Westerns, but TOMBSTONE is the rootin' tootin'-est of the pair.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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8:55PM on 05/31/2014
I love "Tombstone," but "Silverado" is like the "Star Wars" of westerns.
I love "Tombstone," but "Silverado" is like the "Star Wars" of westerns.
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+0
12:22AM on 05/30/2014
Of course this one belongs to Tombstone! One of my all-time favorites.
Of course this one belongs to Tombstone! One of my all-time favorites.
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+0
10:23PM on 05/29/2014
This is like a punch-up between Superman and Speedball. There was only way this was gonna go down. Putting "Tombstone" against most movies would reveal a similar result. It's a short list of flicks that do it better.
This is like a punch-up between Superman and Speedball. There was only way this was gonna go down. Putting "Tombstone" against most movies would reveal a similar result. It's a short list of flicks that do it better.
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4:16PM on 05/29/2014

no contest

i got two guns...one for the both of ya
i got two guns...one for the both of ya
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1:34PM on 05/29/2014
Tombstone is amazing. Val Kilmers best performance.
Tombstone is amazing. Val Kilmers best performance.
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11:34AM on 05/29/2014

Tombstone...

... Wasn't very good. I've watched it several times and have enjoyed it less with each viewing. On the other hand, Silverado gets better with each viewing. A very near perfect film.
... Wasn't very good. I've watched it several times and have enjoyed it less with each viewing. On the other hand, Silverado gets better with each viewing. A very near perfect film.
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10:24PM on 05/29/2014
I know opinions can't be wrong, but your opinion is definitely wrong.
I know opinions can't be wrong, but your opinion is definitely wrong.
10:53AM on 05/29/2014
Tombstone is one of my favorite western films. The script, the memorable scenes. The pacing, the depth of characters, everything was flushed out. You felt a real relationship between Wyatt and his brothers and Doc. It felt genuine (great performance by Russell and Kilmer). The romantic tension felt palpable. The villains were juicy. The script was impeccable. The editing sharp. Silverado was good, but Tombstone is timeless and legendary film making, in my opinion.
Tombstone is one of my favorite western films. The script, the memorable scenes. The pacing, the depth of characters, everything was flushed out. You felt a real relationship between Wyatt and his brothers and Doc. It felt genuine (great performance by Russell and Kilmer). The romantic tension felt palpable. The villains were juicy. The script was impeccable. The editing sharp. Silverado was good, but Tombstone is timeless and legendary film making, in my opinion.
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9:35AM on 05/29/2014

I saw the article title and thought

'It better be Tombstone.' Well done.
'It better be Tombstone.' Well done.
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8:44AM on 05/29/2014

Tombstone

Val Kilmer's performance alone as Doc Holiday wins this matchup for me. It's one of my favorite films of all time and has one of my favorite performances of all time with Kilmer's Doc Holiday.
Val Kilmer's performance alone as Doc Holiday wins this matchup for me. It's one of my favorite films of all time and has one of my favorite performances of all time with Kilmer's Doc Holiday.
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10:50AM on 05/29/2014
I guess he'll be your huckleberry.
I guess he'll be your huckleberry.
-1
8:42AM on 05/29/2014
Too close to call for me as these are two of my three favorite modern day westerns, with 3:10 To Yuma with Crowe & Bale being the third.
I do have to say though that based on the amount of times that I have watched these two since buying them on blu-ray....Silverado would be the winner.
Too close to call for me as these are two of my three favorite modern day westerns, with 3:10 To Yuma with Crowe & Bale being the third.
I do have to say though that based on the amount of times that I have watched these two since buying them on blu-ray....Silverado would be the winner.
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7:51AM on 05/29/2014
Tombstone is by far my favourite Western of all time. It has everything and more.
Tombstone is by far my favourite Western of all time. It has everything and more.
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7:48AM on 05/29/2014

SILVERADO was a fine movie

but TOMBSTONE has a permanent place in my DVD collection. 'Nuff said.
but TOMBSTONE has a permanent place in my DVD collection. 'Nuff said.
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7:42AM on 05/29/2014

Really?

Silverado is by far a better movie, imo. Great music, great cinematography, great actors(how the reviewer picked Tombstone cast over Silverado's cast is mind boggling). I agree with another poster that this movie made me love Westerns. You can see what a mess the behind the scenes that Tombstone had to overcome on the screen. They overcame the odds and made a movie that is solid, but nowhere in the class of Silverado.
Silverado is by far a better movie, imo. Great music, great cinematography, great actors(how the reviewer picked Tombstone cast over Silverado's cast is mind boggling). I agree with another poster that this movie made me love Westerns. You can see what a mess the behind the scenes that Tombstone had to overcome on the screen. They overcame the odds and made a movie that is solid, but nowhere in the class of Silverado.
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11:35AM on 05/29/2014
I concur, Sir!
I concur, Sir!
+1
7:17AM on 05/29/2014

Both good movies, but Tombstone....

Tombstone is one of the really good modern westerns to watch. Silverado is fun, but a little silly (and you never feel the characters are in actual danger). Val Kilmer was a perfect choice for Holiday. He just crushed the role....
Tombstone is one of the really good modern westerns to watch. Silverado is fun, but a little silly (and you never feel the characters are in actual danger). Val Kilmer was a perfect choice for Holiday. He just crushed the role....
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7:15AM on 05/29/2014
Two of my favorites. The opening scene of Silverado is amazing. That was the movie that got me into westerns.
Two of my favorites. The opening scene of Silverado is amazing. That was the movie that got me into westerns.
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7:13AM on 05/29/2014

TOMBSTONE

Man, who brings a knife to a gun fight? Apparently SILVERADO, because there's no way it could win this. TOMBSTONE, hands down.
Man, who brings a knife to a gun fight? Apparently SILVERADO, because there's no way it could win this. TOMBSTONE, hands down.
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+3
6:46AM on 05/29/2014

>>> It's Kevin KLINE not Kevin Klein

Both movies are very good westerns, but Tombstone wins this one IMO... Love 'em both but I got to go with Tombstone since it kind of feels more complete than Silverado in some parts... Kilmer totally nails his part as Doc Holiday... On the other hand "Klein" ;-) is awesome too... For anyone who loves westerns, both of them are a must-see.
Both movies are very good westerns, but Tombstone wins this one IMO... Love 'em both but I got to go with Tombstone since it kind of feels more complete than Silverado in some parts... Kilmer totally nails his part as Doc Holiday... On the other hand "Klein" ;-) is awesome too... For anyone who loves westerns, both of them are a must-see.
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4:16AM on 05/29/2014
This is a stupid comparison. A "Face-Off" comparing Tombstone vs. Wyatt would make sense, but this match-up is just silly. Why not compare The Right Stuff to Star Wars? Tombstone was a historical drama based on true events and people; Silverado was an action/adventure film about fictional characters and situations. The films have nothing in common other than the costume design.
This is a stupid comparison. A "Face-Off" comparing Tombstone vs. Wyatt would make sense, but this match-up is just silly. Why not compare The Right Stuff to Star Wars? Tombstone was a historical drama based on true events and people; Silverado was an action/adventure film about fictional characters and situations. The films have nothing in common other than the costume design.
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12:23AM on 05/30/2014
There's quite a bit of fiction in Tombstone, actually.
There's quite a bit of fiction in Tombstone, actually.
5:33AM on 05/29/2014
Tombstone was very much an action/adventure western that happened to be based on history. Wyatt Earp was a full blown historical drama that happened to take place in the west. Plus Wyatt Earp kind of sucked.

Tombstone was a kickass stylistic action/adventure western, just like Silverado was. These two films have far more in common.


Tombstone was very much an action/adventure western that happened to be based on history. Wyatt Earp was a full blown historical drama that happened to take place in the west. Plus Wyatt Earp kind of sucked.

Tombstone was a kickass stylistic action/adventure western, just like Silverado was. These two films have far more in common.


2:50AM on 05/29/2014
Tombstone for me. Kurt Russell kicks ass very much in that movie.
Tombstone for me. Kurt Russell kicks ass very much in that movie.
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+2
1:48AM on 05/29/2014
Silverado is good, but Tombstone is much, much better.
Silverado is good, but Tombstone is much, much better.
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2:27AM on 05/29/2014
True story.
True story.
+3
1:30AM on 05/29/2014

Love both of these movies

But Tombstone is my favorite. From Kilmer saying "I'm your huckleberry." to Russell's speech when they go after the Cowboys gang,
"All right, Clanton... You called down the thunder. Well, now you've got it! You see that? It says "United States Marshal."... Take a good look at him, Ike, because that's how you're gonna end up!... The Cowboys are finished, you understand me?! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! So run, you cur... RUN! Tell all the other curs the LAW'S coming!
But Tombstone is my favorite. From Kilmer saying "I'm your huckleberry." to Russell's speech when they go after the Cowboys gang,
"All right, Clanton... You called down the thunder. Well, now you've got it! You see that? It says "United States Marshal."... Take a good look at him, Ike, because that's how you're gonna end up!... The Cowboys are finished, you understand me?! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! So run, you cur... RUN! Tell all the other curs the LAW'S coming! You tell 'em I'M coming... and Hell's coming with me, you hear?! Hell's coming with me!"

Aw man, I need to go watch it now!!
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9:41AM on 05/29/2014
There were a number of great and memorable lines in Tombstone.

"Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe".
There were a number of great and memorable lines in Tombstone.

"Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe".
+2
1:16AM on 05/29/2014
Tough one, as both are great, but I agree, the belt goes to Tombstone!
Tough one, as both are great, but I agree, the belt goes to Tombstone!
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1:08AM on 05/29/2014

I disagree

Kevin Kline should have won an oscar. dude owned the film and role.
Kevin Kline should have won an oscar. dude owned the film and role.
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12:50AM on 05/29/2014

Two awesome westerns.

Now this is a real showdown! I completely agree with Tombstone being the winner.
Now this is a real showdown! I completely agree with Tombstone being the winner.
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+1
12:32AM on 05/29/2014
Damn straight.
Damn straight.
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