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Details At A Glance

Category Western Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0
Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby City Trailer
Year Released 1985 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 127:15 minutes Other Extras Featurette - The Making Of Silverado (37 mins)
Filmographies - Cast & Crew
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (78:33)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Lawrence Kasdan

Columbia TriStar
Starring Kevin Kline
Scott Glenn
Rosanna Arquette
John Cleese
Kevin Costner
Brian Dennehy
Danny Glover
Jeff Goldblum
Linda Hunt
RRP $34.95 Music Bruce Broughton

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s) 
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No

Plot Synopsis

    A western and you want a plot - you are joking, surely? This entire film was designed to be a homage to the western, long a staple of the film industry but a genre that had fallen out of favour by the eighties. This was designed to include just about every western cliché that you can think of - and Lawrence Kasdan must have done a fine job because this is one fine film.

    The broad plot involves Paden (Kevin Kline), left for dead in the desert after being robbed of everything bar his long johns, being discovered by Emmett (Scott Glenn) and teaming up to reach the town of Turley where Emmett's brother, Jake (Kevin Costner) awaits. Along the way, Paden recovers his horse from the thug that stole it. The arrival of the duo in Turley leads to a slight case of mistaken identity with the leader of a wagon train heading for Silverado, such train including the wagon of Hannah (Rosanna Arquette) and her husband. Seeking a quiet drink and lodgings in the local saloon is Mal (Danny Glover), but there is a no African American policy in the saloon, which leads to a little scuffle interrupted by Sheriff Langston (John Cleese), who recommends that Mal leave his jurisdiction. Emmett now finds out that Jake is to be hanged the next morning for murder, so determines to break him out of jail that night. Paden in the meantime gets thrown into jail for killing the guy who stole his hat, so naturally when the break out happens next morning all three head off as wanted men - teaming up with Mal along the way.

    You sure you want the plot? Eventually, after a short interlude involving the rescue of money stolen from the wagon train, they arrive in Silverado, a peaceful town run by a crooked Sheriff Cobb (Brian Dennehy), who so happens to be a former companion of Paden's. All sorts of mayhem ensues with all sorts of injustices to be righted. Along the way, the entire deputy corps of the town is killed, as well as assorted personnel of the local crooked rancher, but ultimately we all live happily ever after when Paden kills Cobb in the obligatory shoot out in the main street.

    Told you this contained every cliché in the western book. But Kasdan has done a superb job weaving the clichés into one of the best westerns you will see. After the heights of The Big Chill, it comes as something of a surprise that this is equally as good, with a number of familiar faces carried over from that film, both in front of the camera and behind. At least Costner's role was not cut out of this effort! This really is a greatly entertaining film.

Transfer Quality


    Columbia TriStar have given us some great transfers, but the one word that comes to mind when watching this transfer is gorgeous, especially for a film that is now well over ten years old.

    The video transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. In this regard, we are fortunate as the original Region 1 release is only a 1.78:1 transfer.

    The transfer throughout has a glorious sharpness to it, with a clarity to it that I have rarely seen. The transfer has some quite wonderful definition to it. The transfer is only let down by some marginally grainy sections later in the film. Shadow detail was in general very good, although not quite up to the very best standards of more recent films.

    The colours are what really impress here, being a beautifully natural palette, not overly vibrant but capturing the feel of the New Mexico location exceptionally well. There is no hint of oversaturation at all. Rarely have I seen a palette of natural colours so exceptionally well captured.

    This is a quite clean transfer and there were no MPEG artefacts seen, and there were no apparent video artefacts to mar the transfer either. After the first couple of minutes, there were virtually no film artefacts at all, and even in the first few minutes these were not at all intrusive.

    The disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change at 78:33. Whilst the change is noticeable, it is not disruptive to the film at all, and definitely better than getting up and turning the disc over.


    This is a particularly good audio transfer and has been in general well remastered.

    There are five soundtracks on the DVD, with the default being English Dolby Digital 5.1. The other soundtracks are French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound. I listened to the English default.

    Dialogue was usually clear and easy to understand, although there were occasional lapses that I believe are inherent in the original film and do not represent mastering problems.

    There did not seem to be any audio sync problems at all with the transfer.

    The music score to the film is provided by Bruce Broughton, and a wonderfully complementary score it is - it earned an Oscar nomination. The theme music is probably well known even to people who do not know the film well.

    This is a nicely balanced soundtrack, although not especially well detailed, and you really feel as if you are in the middle of the action. The rear surround channels were not that prevalent in the mix, but this was not missed at all.

    The subwoofer is really given a workout especially during the action music. Personally, I feel there is a little too much bass in the mix, and you might be better reducing the audio level of the subwoofer for the film.


    Another pretty decent collection of extras, although I am not certain it warrants Collector's Edition status.


    Although still lacking any animation or audio, this is definitely one of the better looking menus that Columbia TriStar have come up with. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical trailer

    Comes with a choice of German, French, Dutch, Spanish or Italian subtitles.

Featurette - The Making of Silverado

    This is an interesting look at the reasons behind the making of the film, and worth the 37 minutes needed to view it. Some very interesting details about the building of the set and the rigours of filming in New Mexico in winter. This is presented full frame (with film excerpts in 1.78:1 ratio) with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The same subtitle options exist as for the trailer.


    Not especially remarkable filmographies for the main cast members and director/writer Lawrence Kasdan.

 R4 vs R1

    There is apparently no difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases, so the deciding factors would have to be the incorrect framing of the Region 1 release and the superior PAL system used in Region 4. Seems that Region 4 is the way to go.


    Having never seen the film before, I did not know what to expect. Suffice to say that I am now a fan of the film, and that has been aided by the gorgeous transfer. Thoroughly recommended despite the slightly bass heavy soundtrack.

    A wonderful video transfer with hardly anything to detract from it.

    A good audio transfer, although a little bass heavy.

    A decent collection of extras, that adds to the enjoyment of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
5th September 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL