The Cowboys

The Cowboys
The Cowboys
  • PG
  • 2h 14m
  • 1972
Common Sense Media Iconage 13+
PRICING SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Confirm current pricing with applicable retailer. All transactions subject to applicable license terms and conditions.
John Wayne stars as a rancher who will lose his livestock after his ranch hands desert him to follow a gold strike unless he can transform a rag tag bunch of schoolboys into cowboys. Based on the novel by William Dale Jennings.

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

Common Sense Media
Barbara Shulgasser

Classic action-packed Western has lots of cursing, violence

June 25, 2017
Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Christopher Smith

A coming-of-age film of the toughest sort. Far from Wayne's best, but nevertheless a movie whose e...

June 21, 2017
Film Freak Central
Walter Chaw

A forgotten masterpiece.

June 21, 2017
Emanuel Levy

Warner Deluxe Edition, part of John Wayne's centennial celebration (May 2007), includes commentary...

June 21, 2017
More on Rotten Tomatoes

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 13+
Common Sense Says
Classic action-packed Western has lots of cursing, violence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Cowboys, a 1972 Western based on the novel by William Dale Jennings, is an ode to good values. Without evoking cliché, it embodies the rewards of hard work, loyalty, honesty, responsibility, treating others with dignity, and admitting mistakes. It presents adolescence as a time when such values are imprinted and first put into practice. Many other firsts are also represented. A tween boy discusses the first naked woman he's seen. The boys encounter a traveling troupe of prostitutes. Upon meeting their first black man, some white boys ask what color the man's genitals are. The boys have their first drinks, too, and suffer their first hangovers the next day. And they are called to be brave for the first time when ruthless rustlers kill a man and steal his herd. The bad guys are punished violently. One boy is killed in a stampede accident .A bloody fistfight is shown. A man bashes another's head repeatedly against a tree trunk. A noose is placed around a black man's neck and white men prepare to hang him. Men shoot each other to death. Boys kill people with guns. A wounded bad guy is dragged to death by his horse. Cattle are branded. Young boys are seen off by crying parents. Crossing a river with the herd, a boy on horseback falls into the river and is saved by another boy. Language includes: "s--t," "hell," "damn," "bitch," "bastard," "jackass," "t-ts," "old iron nuts," and several utterances of the "N" word.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
Positive Role Models
More on Common Sense Media

Additional Info

  • Genre:Action
  • Release Date:January 1, 1972
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
Resolution, color and audio quality may vary based on your device, browser and internet connection.Learn More

You Might Also Like...

New Releases

MIB: International
Head Full of Honey
The Secret Life of Pets 2
Disneynature Penguins
The Banana Splits Movie
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
Amazing Grace