Burt Lancaster’s Marshal Jared Maddox is also the basic template for my character the gunfighter Cincinnati. He has a code and a set a rules he calls the law and no amount of reason or sense can sway him from it. Maddox is so blinded by the law he’s created he becomes more of a mindless killer than the mindless killers he’s after. Robert Ryan plays Marshal Cotton Ryan, an old acquaintance of Maddox who tries his hardest to be the level-headed go-between for the bloodthirsty lawman and the reasonable rancher who employs the men he’s after. At one point Ryan tries to sway his marshal counterpart’s decision by saying, “There’ll be dyin’.” Maddox simply replies, “It’ll be their doin’.”
Lawman is dirty, it’s harsh and its ending will catch you so off guard that it’ll keep your mind busy for days. I absolutely love this movie and wish more people would get to know it. If you’re a fan of the darker Eastwood films like High Plains Drifter and Unforgiven, Lawman is a no-brainer.
Director: Michael Winner
Writer: Gerald Wilson
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb