The mid-eighties were not a good time for fans of western movies. The format had barely progressed since the sixties, and few film companies were prepared to invest in the genre. Silverado was an attempt to update the format, combining contemporary production and humour with an affectionate nod to the classic westerns of old.
The various plotlines converge at the town of Silverado, where the four main protagonists prepare to do battle with a crooked sheriff and his deputies, and free the town from his iron grip. As far as plot goes, Silverado is pretty standard fare, with western clich?s sharing ground with themes more commonly found in Eighties cop / buddy-movies.
Although not a comedy, there is plenty of humour in the film, handled deftly by a superb cast. In fact, the cast is really the film's key strength - a real who's who of eighties actors with the likes of Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda, Soapdish, Chaplin), an exuberantly young Kevin Costner (The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Dances With Wolves), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, The Colour Purple, Predator 2), an all-too fleeting appearance from John Cleese, and Jeff Goldblum (The Fly, The Tall Guy). Female interest is provided by the familiar face of Rosanna Arquette, and the crooked sheriff Brian Dennehy lays the groundwork for a role he would subsequently reprise throughout his career.
The film looks great, with rolling plains, unforgiving mountains and convincingly gritty towns, while the action sequences are well choreographed and gripping, with a classic, High Noon-style showdown rounding off this entertaining and unashamedly retro western.