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Maverick (1994) is a Western comedy Film based on the 1950s television series of the same name, created by Roy Huggins. The film was directed by Richard Donner from a screenplay by William Goldman and features Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and James Garner.

Bret Maverick is a wisecracking gambler who wants to win a Poker championship - only partly for the money, but mainly to prove once and for all that he's the best at poker. However, complications keep arising. First, he starts off $3,000 short of the $25,000 entry fee for the contest. His efforts to make up the difference spark off much of the plot, as well as diversions caused by, and in the company of, three people he encounters at Crystal River: an antagonist named Angel (Alfred Molina), a young con-artist calling herself Mrs Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster), and legendary lawman Marshal Zane Cooper (James Garner, who played Bret Maverick in the original TV series). The first two are also rival poker players.

The three share a stagecoach (whose driver dies at full gallop), agree to help a wagon train of migrant evangelist settlers who have been waylaid by ruffians (for a fee which Maverick in the end is too big-hearted to accept), and are headed-off by a troop of Indians (who, unbeknownst to his companions, are good friends with Maverick), who agree to help Maverick collect the rest of the fee (by swindling a Russian Grand Duke). After this, though, Maverick's adventures get a little crazy, especially since somebody has good reason to make sure Maverick never makes it to the poker game...

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.


This movie contains examples of: Edit

  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Annabelle Bransford does this to Maverick twice in the same scene. The first time he notices and makes her give his wallet back, the second time he's so overwhelmed he doesn't notice and has to track her down later.
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Last song on the soundtrack. The three main characters sing it when their coach driver dies, for lack of anything to say about him (as they barely knew him).
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Skewered during the encounter with the tribe of Indians. Maverick speaks their language just fine (and the Indians know English) and "translates" for the rest of the group, saying that they have trespassed on sacred ground, and the Indians' gods demand a sacrifice. Meanwhile, the subtitles relate the actual conversation: the chief just wants to know if Maverick has come for the money he owes him.
    • And if Mrs. Bransford's "available".
  • Bank Robbery: Maverick is a bystander.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: The title character does this to some robbers.
  • Card Sharp: A few of the players at the game...but when they get caught, they're thrown overboard (one of which was Clint Black, who sang the song that plays over the poker playing montage.)
  • Chekhov's Gun: Maverick's attempts to pull a specific card out of deck. Introduced in the beginning as something he practices regularly, but it never works.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Played with. Maverick may be quick on the draw, but he rarely fires his gun, and even then, he's more likely to shoot a gun out of his opponent's hand.
  • The Dragon: Angel is this to the Commodore.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Marshal Zane Cooper.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Maverick shows off his quick-draw skills in a poker game. The man he faces off against is named "Johnny Hardin", AKA the Real Life outlaw John Wesley Hardin. Afterward, Hardin acknowledges that Maverick is fast.
    • He better be, he's a horrible shot.
      • Or so he claims. When we actually see him shoot, though, he appears to be an expert shot and his opponents only live because he lets them.
  • The Film of the Series
  • For the Evulz: It's revealed that Brett just enjoys the con game. When Annabelle robs them of half a million dollars, Brett doesn't mind. He states the fun is in getting the money back. Which makes sense, since Maverick seems to have little need for money.
  • Friends All Along: Maverick and the Indian tribe.
    • Also, Maverick and the bank manager he pulls a gun on.
      • For that matter, Maverick and Cooper.
  • Gambit Pileup: Angel and the Commodore vs. the Commodore and Cooper vs. Cooper and Maverick.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Chief Joseph to Maverick.
  • Gun Twirling: Maverick's flashy gunplay largely covers up the fact that he can't shoot.
    • Oh he can shoot all right. Just can't seem to hit.
    • It doubles as Foreshadowing as well; at the tournament, we see that Maverick and Cooper's gun twirling is exactly the same.
  • I Am One of Those, Too: Bret Maverick wants to expose/embarrass the con woman "Mrs. Bransford".

 Maverick: I can't quite place your accent. Where in the South are you from?

Mrs. Bransford: Ever been to Mobile? (pause) That's where I'm from.

Maverick: Mobile, Alabama? Hell, I've been there. I'll bet we know the same people. You start.

Mrs. Bransford: I've tried so hard to forget that place.

  • Injun Country: Lampooned. Joseph, Maverick's Indian friend, and his tribe play the role to the hilt... and when Maverick asks what all the drums and other such nonsense are about, Joseph explains that they're bilking a wealthy Russian duke who came to America wanting a stereotypical "Wild West" experience.
  • In Medias Res: The movie opens with Maverick about to be hanged, at about halfway through the overall story.
  • I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: The Danny Glover gag in the bank robbery scene.
  • Kiss of Distraction: This is a favorite technique of Annabelle, which she usually uses to steal things. Maverick is very Genre Savvy about it. An Aren't You Going to Ravish Me? moment leds him to say, "Are you crazy? I'm not going to sleep with you! I'd wake up with all kinds of things missing!"
  • Legacy Character: Played with. Cooper is actually Maverick's father, played by James Garner, who played the original Maverick on TV. So if the movie is a continuation of the show, it means the name "Maverick" is synonymous with conning and card-sharking.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: Played with. Subversion: Maverick is one card short of a royal flush, from which he deduces that the deck is stacked. He wins the game by getting someone other than the crooked dealer to deal him that one card.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Maverick refuses to confirm whether he cheated drawing the Ace of Spades to complete the Royal Flush by saying it was "magic". His father smiles, and it's evident it doesn't really matter in the long run.
  • My Favorite Shirt: Maverick gets angry (or possibly pretends to) when his shirt is damaged during a fight.
  • No Except Yes:

 Coop: See, my feeling is that if there weren't any women none of us would be here.

Maverick: What kind of sense does that make? If there were no men, we wouldn't be here either.

Coop: Are you mocking me?

Maverick: Don't get ruffled. Let's just say I was agreeing with you in a totally unusual way.

  • One Steve Limit: Near the end, when someone calls out, "Maverick?" both Brett and Coop answer "Yes?"
  • Professional Gambler: Several characters, including all of the travelers.
  • Remake Cameo: James Garner, the original Bret Maverick, plays Maverick's dad in the movie.
    • Which is also a bit of a Tomato Surprise, as it's not revealed until the end of the movie, though both know it (which puts the Take My Hand example below in a bit of a different light. In fact, it puts almost all of their interactions in a different light.)
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Maverick uses this ability to track the fake Indians.
    • Although most of it is parodied just to mess with Anabelle. Really he just follows the horseshoe prints.
  • Shout-Out: Danny Glover plays a bank robber who mutters "I am too old for this".
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Maverick's relationship with Annabell Bransford.
  • Something Else Also Rises: The Commodore's cigar during the final hand of the tournament.
  • Sword Over Head: Coop does this (with a stick) to the Commodore.
  • Take My Hand: Maverick accidentally falls over the edge of a cliff but barely manages to hold onto the edge. Marshal Zane Cooper offers to help him, but Maverick refuses because he despises Cooper. Maverick almost falls to his death and changes his mind, begging for help, and is pulled to safety.
  • The Wild West
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Maverick asks this of Annabelle.
  • You No Take Candle: The Russian duke insists that Joseph speak this way, to Joseph's great exasperation.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Commodore's plan. No matter who won that tournament, he knew he'd be splitting the money with them or arranging for them to be robbed.

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