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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Western | 132 minutes
3,28 822 votes

Genre: Western / Comedy

Duration: 132 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Brendan Gleeson and Zoe Kazan

IMDb score: 7,2 (168.776)

Releasedate: 9 November 2018


The Ballad of Buster Scruggs plot

"Stories live forever. People don't."

Omnibus film divided into six chapters that all tell stories about the Wild West with the singing cowboy Buster Scruggs as the central figure. In "Near Algodones," an aspiring bank robber comes face to face with a bank teller. 'Meal Ticket' follows two weary itinerant men. One is an impresario, the other an artist without arms and legs. It recites texts ranging from famous poetry to the United States Declaration of Independence. In 'The Gal Who Got Rattled', a woman unexpectedly encounters love on a fairground wagon. In 'The Mortal Remains' three bickering individuals find themselves on a metaphysical journey, with no return.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Buster Scruggs (segment "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs")

Cowboy (segment "Near Algodones")

Alice Longabaugh (segment "The Gal Who Got Rattled")

Impresario (segment "Meal Ticket")

Prospector (segment "All Gold Canyon")

Mrs. Betjeman (segment "The Mortal Remains")

Clarence (segment "The Mortal Remains")

Thigpen (segment "The Mortal Remains")

René (segment "The Mortal Remains")

Trapper (segment "The Mortal Remains")

Reviews & comments


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avatar van Onderhond


  • 87261 messages
  • 12056 votes


The Coens and Westerns...I wasn't really into it that much. Fortunately they are going on a more cheerful tour here, I usually don't like the Coens who try to make grim and/or serious cinema.

That is also apparent, because it is mainly the beginning of this anthology that I liked, with the first movie as a clear outlier. A bit harder than the average Coen comedy, but in terms of humor quite fun and also very fresh.

I have to say that visually it looked good anyway. Nice use of light, color and framing. It means that the sad Western brown doesn't get the upper hand too much and that the film has something to offer visually. It is also necessary, because the acting is rather mediocre and the soundtrack doesn't add much either.

The stories are variable, with the first three being better and the last three a lot less. It's a shame to build/close your anthology like this, but you often have to do that if you want to put too much structure and consistency in a project like this. It could be a bit wilder and more varied in my opinion.

But there are plenty of fun moments in it and visually it's not too bad, only it gets a lot less towards the end. As with other Coens, the potential is much higher than the quality of the end result.


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avatar van mjk87

mjk87 (moderator films)

  • 13386 messages
  • 3955 votes

In between playing Red Dead Redemption 2, I made time for another piece of western.

Great movie further. Story collections still appear in books, but less so in film. But this one succeeded. Especially because the setting is always somewhere in the West and the stories are of such a nature, often also kept small, that no more time is needed. But above all, because the film sometimes entertains and sometimes moves.

The first short film is entertaining and a fine opener, but no more than that. And the last story, although very funny at times, I didn't really like in terms of atmosphere and tone and I still don't know what exactly they wanted to do with it. But those four stories in between are all gems. Good atmosphere, all very nicely filmed, production design is strong, acting above average, and above all moving. Nice music and the interludes with that book are nicely done. 4.0*.

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avatar van Fisico

Fisico (moderator films)

  • 8548 messages
  • 4794 votes

I entered the film completely blank and was therefore a bit surprised when I was presented with six stories. A bit of a shame, because I was charmed by the singing cowboy. The first episode was the most fun. Also typical for the Coen brothers, making fun of all kinds of things, absurd humor, some action violence, but above all entertainment cinema of the highest order. Great entertainment with a cross between Bobejaan Schoepen and Lucky Luke. Those songs were great. That first episode gets a deserved 4.0*.

The second fragment was also quite fun with that bank robbery with again some comic elements with the "pan-man". 3.5*. Part three is one with Liam Neeson traveling around with an arm and legless man. This part was quite repetitive and got a bit boring towards the end, but all in all ok. 3.0*. Tom Waits as a gold digger was of a higher level and entertained me again. Suddenly a different decor with the babbling brooks in the mountains. 3.5*. The caravan tour, like the other parts, always had that Coen factor and was quite entertaining. Each story is introduced through a large bulky book that immediately sucks you into the story. 3.5*. The Mortal Remains, in which a group of people chatted in a carriage, was dull and uninspired, however, and by far the weakness of all six. 2.0*.

On the whole a bit fickle and a mishmash of loose ideas. You don't have to expect depth with the short playing time of each chapter separately. One is a bit more successful than the other, but as a whole it certainly succeeded.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original