Open Range



Some killing, shooting violence in old-fashioned Western.
  • Review Date: January 20, 2004
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 138 minutes

What parents need to know


Very intense shoot-outs, characters killed. A tense shoot-out scene.


Reference to whores, some passionate kisses.


A few strong words.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and cigars, chewing tobacco.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Open Range has intense shoot-out violence, and characters are killed, but most of the violence isn't particularly bloody or over the top. There's some strong language, including a brief reference to a whore. Characters drink and smoke.

What's the story?

In OPEN RANGE, Boss (Robert Duvall) and Charley (Kevin Costner) are decent men who have worked together for ten years, driving cattle across the prairie. Also working for Boss are Mose (Abraham Benrubi) and Button (Diego Luna), a teenager he took in as a young orphan. They come to an area they have been through before, but something has changed. A man named Baxter (Michael Gambon) now owns the land and most of the town, and he does not want cattle grazing on his land. The law is no help -- Baxter owns the whole town, including the sheriff. The nearest federal marshall is too far away to arrive in time to make a difference. Boss, Charley, and Baxter will have to sort it out themselves. When Baxter's men come after Mose and Button, Boss and Charley have to respond, not for their cattle or their fortunes, but because they cannot allow anyone to bully them. Townfolk are drawn into the conflict, including stable manager (Michael Jeter) and a doctor with a strong, brave sister (Annette Benning). Ultimately, there is a terrible conflict, but one that has been honestly earned by the characters and the story-tellers. The same can be said of the ultimate resolution.

Is it any good?


Open Range is an old-fashioned western that takes its time, but by the end of the movie the cattle, the characters, and the audience are all where they need to be. One thing this movie does well is showing us the way individuals struggle with the past and try to set a course for the future in a land where new physical and social structures are being created by people who came out west to get away from both. Stories set in the old west fascinate us because they take a group of people with no access to established civilization and give them a conflict to resolve.

Costner the director does well by his actors, particularly Duvall, and the shoot-out is tense and kinetic. The dialogue feels authentically old without being stilted. Today's audiences may get squirmy in the slow early stretches, but those who are patient will be rewarded with a respectful saga that pays tribute to America's past as a foundation for its future.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how conflicts get resolved in an isolated setting like this one.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 14, 2003
DVD release date:January 19, 2004
Cast:Annette Bening, Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall
Director:Kevin Costner
Studio:Buena Vista
Run time:138 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 2 year old Written bygerbowski November 26, 2012

Good western with some excellent characters

This film may be a little slow for younger viewers, but all in all it is a good western with a classic western ending. Those who are fans of the genre will probably enjoy it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bysarge123 May 25, 2015

Bloody and intense. 15+

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bysgt123 May 25, 2015

A very underrated western. Dark and violent, best for 15+


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