'True Grit': 1969 versus 2010

The Coen brothers keep insisting that their True Grit isn’t really a remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne, but rather an adaptation of Charles Portis’ novel. So when you see certain scenes from the two films put side-by-side, as they are in this video clip, you can go one of two ways: (1) Of course it’s a remake — the dialog and set-up are practically identical; or (2) Wow, you couldn’t imagine two more divergent schools of artistic filmmaking.

Does this contrast make you nostalgic for the original — or embarrassed for it?

Read more:
John Wayne vs. Jeff Bridges: Which one has more true grit?

Comments (101 total) Add your comment
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  • therealeverton

    It aint a remake; that 2 flms based on the same book have similar or identical dialogue at times is a big deal is NOT a shocker.

    • Amanda Kiwinerd

      The new one is better. Only old dried up people would think otherwise.

      • Teresa

        You have to realize that we “old dried up people” can sometimes be nostalgic. This original True Grit reminds me of my father and watching it with him on a Saturday afternoon. But also can’t wait to see the new one. Westerns are great, there should be more of them made, not just one every year or so.

      • chistosa

        Amanda, your immaturity is showing with your infantile response. We all may prefer one version over another for different reasons but our opinions are as valid as yours. But only those stuck in middle school mean girl spirit personally attack those with differing opinions. Please grow up and respect all who take the time to offer an opinion.

      • The Dude

        The old one is much better. Only a snot nosed kid would think otherwise. Watch a few decades of good cinema before you cast aspersions on your elders and betters.

      • val

        I also am old and dried up (53) and also remember watching the original with my now 90 dad. When I told him about the new version he refused to see it until I told him Matt Damon was in it (he loves the Bourne movies). I am nostalgic about the old version (though not a JOhn wayne fan) but love the purity and simplicity and witty dialogue of the Cohen Bros.

      • Christina H

        Amanda Kiwinerd: If your generation is so talented and creative, then why can’t they come up with something original instead of re-hashing classics?

      • Momo

        DANG. You just got served Amanda Kiwinerd. HAHA!

      • Torento

        Have you even seen the original, Amanda? There are very few people better than John Wayne, and the ending of the remake was b*** s***. I’ll dry you out. Go back to your kiwis, you nerd.

      • rachel

        You are not truly an American without respect for John Wayne and the original True Grit. Shame on you. Go away now.

    • Raphael

      I liked them both, for completely different reasons (and, mind you, I was prepared to HATE the remake). From the perspective of a fifty-something year old man, we all sort of take pride in our deference to the Duke…he fondly reminds us of many things we’ve lost over the years, never to be replaced. That said, fan though I am, I’ll be the first to admit that John Wayne’s acting skills could be a tad mono-dimensional at times. We didn’t care…he was America, and we were more than happy watching John Wayne “play” John Wayne in a really epic movie. Jeff Bridges, conversely, (along with very rich characterizations from the rest of the cast, totally immersed himself in the character of Rooster Cogburn, faults and virtues alike, as did seemingly everyone else, alike. This allowed the viewer to focus more on the story that was unfolding. It was a very powerful experience. Personally, I thought it rated an Academy Award, but it was beaten in deference to “Black Swan” with Natalie Portman. Well, what do I know. At any rate, the young lady who played the new Mattie Ross has no equal! I expect to see great things from her in the future.

  • Mary

    John Wayne is my fav actor, did not and will not see the new true grit.

    • Beepela

      Then you are missing out. Sad to close yourself off from new experiences like that.

    • Linney17

      What are you, five?

  • nikkido

    I love John Wayne, but the 2010 version is much better.

    • J. Davis

      Agreed. The 2010 version style seemed stilted by today’s standard, but compared to the old movie it is very natural. I don’t miss that old style at all.

    • Dan Phillips

      Ditto on John Wayne, and ditto on the 2010 version.

      The difference?

      Hailee Steinfeld.


  • ellie

    So what if it is a remake? The new version is better, and if John Wayne is your favorite actor, you either haven’t seen a lot of films, or don’t understand that actors are supposed to become their characters and make you forget that you’re watching someone perform

    • Christopher

      In my opinion, that’s a pretty limited view of what acting is.

      • Linney17

        I think his point is good though-John Wayne never let you forget he was John Wayne, even when he trying to pretend to be someone else.

      • Kelly Ann

        Ew I think your opinion of John Wayne’s acting is bullocks. He is was and always will be the best! Reason why his record for blockuster hit is STILL unsurpassed.

    • aj

      While I also prefer the new version of the film, I dislike your attitude about John Wayne’s acting abilty. I believe the performances that Ford and Hawkes got out of Wayne are some of the best ever captured on film, and while, yes the characters he played came across as iconic and bigger than life, this is what I think the film makers were going for, and therefore, why they used Wayne over and over, because he was the best at what he did. Plus, the man could wiggle his hairline!

    • Kelly Ann

      Ew I think your opinion of John Wayne’s acting is bullocks. He is was and always will be the best! Reason why his record for blockuster hit is STILL unsurpassed.

    • Christina H

      Are you saying John Wayne didn’t perform?

  • cam

    The 1969 Mattie is just awful… and the book is all about Mattie. Although I do think Hailee’s performance is over-praised.

    • bill

      Amen. She’s just okay in the part. She read her lines competently, but I’m not sure what she would have done without a Coen brothers script.

      • Linney17

        What’s it matter what she would have done with a non Coen brothers script? That’s the script she was given and she did it very well. If you watch an interview with her (which I have), she put a lot of work into her audition- learning her lines and making sure she knew what she was saying even though it’s an old prose. I think she’d put a lot of work into any script-she just has that discipline.

  • Kelly

    I just watched the older version and while I love both movies, I give the edge to The Duke for his performance, but I love the newer Mattie.

  • Canadian

    Just from those clips they don’t compare…..the 1969 True Grit will sink…

    • randy

      It’s been over 40 yrs., and it hasn’t sunken yet. Let’s see if we’ll be saying the same about the new version in 40 yrs. I saw the remake when it first came out…and I’ve forgotten it already. You probably have too.

  • Gabrielle

    I love all old Westerns. John Wayne, being the iconic western man, was not the greatest actor..but he was the heart of the wild west. True Grit was always my favorite movie as a little kid growing up, to the point where I insisted on getting a kitten and naming it rooster. The 2010 adaptation of this movie, was the best I’ve seen in a decade. It’s not a remake as much as a recreation. It’s not Jeff Bridges Vs. John Wayne, but Jeff Bridges plays John Wayne playing Rooster Cogburn. If Duke was here today, I have no doubt in my mind he would LOVE the newer movie immensely. Mary, eat a dick!

    • anonymous

      Actually its a bit of Jeff Bridges playing the Dude playing John Wayne playing Rooster Cogburn.

  • meToo

    Saw the old one on TNT this weekend, it was good but the new one is better. John Wayne is a legend and so is Jeff Bridges. Also the new girl Hailee (oscar nominated and she deserves it) is MUCH better

    • Ari

      I read the book first, then saw the 2010 version and then original. The original was okay, I enjoyed John Wayne even though I’m not a fan but I love the newer version. Hallie was great as Mattie. The original Mattie left me irritated.

      Plus I fell in love with the book and the newer version was more truer to it.

      • Ari

        Oops, delete the “more”.

      • Liz

        Interesting comment, since Charles Portis wrote the screenplay for the 1969 original film.

  • carol

    Who cast the original and thought “Glen Cambell and John Wayne, they go together”?

    • Melissa

      I’m pretty sure John Wayne hand-picked Glen Campbell. Campbell is the weak link in the movie, though Kim Darby is a close second.

  • Daddyoh

    John Wayne was my Favorite Actor but True Grit wasn’t even close to his best role! Glen Campbell stunk up the screen. New one better! McClintock better John Wayne!

    • Mari

      Yes- I love McClintock!

  • fromMarkHall

    They left out clips from ‘Winter’s Bone’. Nonetheless, apples and oranges eventually both ripen and rot.

  • RyanK

    It’s interesting comparing the musical scores of the two movies. I kinda forgot how distracting the music could be back then.

    • Terry

      Or how forgettable music can be now.

      • Kelly Ann

        oh yeah terry! I couldn’t agree more! That old true grit music is amazing… They use it all the time too.

  • Mr. Holloway

    I know everyone else has already said it, but Damon and Steinfeld >>>>>> Campbell and 1969 Mattie (she’s so bad, I don’t even feel like going on imdb to look up her name).

    Also, the chicken noises in the new version from the one henchman right before the gunfight was a fun touch.

    • Donald

      That “fun touch” was present in the 1969 version, and, if memory serves, the book.

      • Mr. Holloway

        That may be true, but I didn’t hear them in the 1969 version in this particular video.

  • Blair

    This is actually a false argument. Of course, scenes of exposition and major plot points are going to appear almost identical in both versions if both are true to the source material. It’s how the filmmakers get from plot point A to plot point B that would be more illuminating with respect to remake/reimagining.

    • who cares

      you’re so smart, you use such big words

      • TR

        i love when a##wipes (simple enough for you?) make fun of others for being able to articulate their point …

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