MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -2

Tombstone, Arizona, in 1897 is a thriving boom town. Law and order survives precariously in spite of "The Cowboys," a band of desperadoes led by Curly Bill (Powers Booth) and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn). Arriving in town to make their fortunes are the Earp brothers - Wyatt (Kurt Russell), Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton), and their wives. Their reputations as Kansas lawmen precede them, but they resist pressure from the townspeople to clean up the town. Instead, they operate a saloon and gambling parlor. Their old friend, Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), dying of consumption, has come to Arizona for the weather. He chooses to spend his last days in a drunken haze with his mistress. The four men find themselves drawn deeper into conflict with the Cowboys, and Wyatt falls hard for the beautiful actress, Josephine (Dana Delany). The mayor, secretly in cahoots with the Cowboys, pits the Earps against the outlaws, culminating in the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. TOMBSTONE is a very entertaining western, with fine cinematography and attention to historical detail. Val Kilmer's phenomenal portrayal of Doc Holliday should earn an Oscar nomination. The film's strength lies in its depiction of character relationships.

TOMBSTONE's also full of action, with heapin' helpin's of frontier violence and mayhem. Violence is inescapable in an accurate portrayal of the Old West. At times, though, it becomes excessively graphic. Many men are gunned down in skirmishes, dying moderately graphic and bloody deaths. Two men are shot in the forehead at close range. A man is forced to "eat" a pistol barrel. Thankfully, we don't see the results when the trigger is pulled. Strong language, including nineteen GD's, blankets the entire film. There is one scene of implied unconventional sex, with no nudity, involving Doc Holliday and his mistress. On a more positive note, the Earp brothers display a strong family bond, each willing to lay down his life for the other. Doc Holliday, despite his other moral shortcomings, nobly sacrifices himself in a confrontation with Johnny Ringo. TOMBSTONE is the best western to come along in quite a while. However, its graphic violence and offensive language will seriously disturb the discriminating viewer.

Preview Reviewer: Pete Zimowski
Hollywood Pictures, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (44) times - Mild 28; Moderate 16

Obscene Language: Few (2) times (f-word 1; s-word 1)

Profanity: Many (28) times - Regular 19; Exclamatory 9

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (graphic bloody killings; 2 men shot in the forehead at close range; pistol barrel forced into man's mouth, shooting occurs off-screen)

Sex: Unconventional sex implied once, no nudity

Nudity: Full frontal nude painting of a nude woman shown twice

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Much drinking and drunkenness, but not condoned; woman dies from accidental overdose of opiate

Other: Women use Tarot cards

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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