Netflix R-Rated Western Gives Fan-Favorite Director A Dream Cast Of All-Stars

By Jacob VanGundy | Updated

While Sam Raimi may be best known for his early work in the horror genre and his later work in superhero movies, in 1995, he made one of the most fun and memorable Westerns ever made. The Quick and the Dead is a star-studded romp of a Western with a distinct visual style thanks to Raimi’s direction. While some of its dialogue comes across as corny, it’s a great revenge story that feels very 90s in the best possible way. 

Dueling In The Wild West

The Quick and the Dead centers around a dueling competition run by an outlaw mayor named John Herod. The protagonist, referred to as The Lady, is one of the duelists. Though she claims to be there for the cash prize, it’s gradually revealed that she has a personal vendetta against Herod. As the tournament progresses, the various characters’ motivations are revealed, and a tangled web of allegiances forms as the deadly contest continues. 

An Amazing Cast

Part of what makes The Quick and the Dead so memorable is its incredible cast of talented actors, who bring emotional depth to characters who could otherwise fall into forgettable archetypes. That cast includes Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Roberts Blossom, Kevin Conway, Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Tobin Bell and Gary Sinise. While the main cast of all-star actors kills it, smaller performances from Bruce Campbell and Jonothon Gill stand out in the movie even with so many A-List names in the spotlight. 

Sam Raimi Goes West

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One of the oddest things about The Quick and the Dead is its choice of director, as in 1995, Sam Raimi was known almost exclusively for the Evil Dead franchise. His involvement came from Sharon Stone’s insistence, refusing to star in the movie unless Raimi was hired as the director. The result is a movie that pays homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of the 60s while incorporating Raimi’s highly stylized distinctive filmmaking. 

A Box Office Disappointment But A Cult Classic Western

While The Quick and the Dead has been reappraised as a modern classic today, it was regarded as a failure in 1995. While not a complete bomb at the box office, it underperformed, earning $47 million on a $35 million budget. It was also a critical failure at the time, with many critics writing it off as a schlocky imitation of Spaghetti Westerns. 

However, as years have passed, fans have rediscovered the movie, and it has gained both a devoted fanbase and won many critics over. Much like Raimi’s work in horror, it became a huge success on the home video market largely due to rentals and gained a cult following as an all-time great modern western. Later critics also pointed to its female protagonist, stylized violence, and death game premise as elements that were ahead of their time. 

Streaming On Netflix


While The Quick and the Dead may not have the prestige of a Sergio Leone western, it makes up for it with stylized gun fights, memorable characters, and a fun premise. Movie fans who struggle with the slower pace of classic westerns and fans of Sam Raimi’s other work should give this delightfully 90s movie a chance. The Quick and the Dead is available to watch on Netflix.

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