Original: True Grit (1969)
Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Lee Corbin
The original True Grit is most noted for its legacy as the movie for which the legendary John Wayne finally won his first Oscar. That accomplishment aside, director Henry Hathaway's gritty western, about a drunken U.S. Marshall (Wayne) and a 14-year-old girl (Kim Darby) on the hunt for her daddy's killer, is still worthy of praise, engrossing viewers with its rich character development and superb chemistry shared between its leads.
Once again spot-on with their casting, esteemed directing siblings Joel and Ethan Coen called upon Jeff Bridges, hot off his Oscar-nominated turn in Crazy Heart, and teenage newcomer Hailee Steinfeld to portray Rooster Cogburn and Mattie Ross, respectively, and, together, the on-screen odd couple forged a solid rapport. With a pair of first-rate performances at their disposal, the Coens interestingly ignored their signature flourishes to craft a straightforward, traditional western, the kind that's rarely ever attempted nowadays.
For those True Grit having an established appreciation for John Wayne's brand of westerns serves as an added bonus.