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wagszilla

Red Dead Redemption II and Rockstar's movie influences

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wagszilla

The games that Rockstar Games makes have been inspired by countless movie franchises over the years.

 

This can be overt or covert from the subtle references such as "I Need Your Boots, Your Clothes, and Your Motorcycle" referencing Terminator 2 in Grand Theft Auto IV and the broken Sprunk cola sign in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas referencing the James Bond franchise to larger inspirations in the works of John Singleton in San Andreas and the likes of Scarface and Miami Vice in Vice City. 

 

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I posted something a long while back noticing Grand Theft Auto V's apparent influence by the Michael Mann movie Heat which turned out to be true although to a much less direct effect.

 

Lester is the closest comparison to Heat, a twisted and modernized version of the information broker character played by Jon Voight. While DeNiro struggled to keep a romantic relationship together, Michael DeSanto struggled to keep his family together, both while living a life as a hardened criminal. All in high-end light gray suits.

 

--

 

This all brings me to Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II.

 

The most clear inspirations to Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II belong to The Wild Bunch, The Man from the Alamo, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

 

The titles and poster for The Wild Bunch, intercut with RDR1 and RDR2 iconography.

 

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Since this is a prequel/sequel scenario, the two share common DNA.

 

The two games are almost as if Rockstar took The Wild Bunch and cut it in half.

 

They took the middle of it and put it in RDR1 as the "meat" in combination with the narrative spine from The Man From the Alamo as the "bread".

 

They then took the beginning and end from The Wild Bunch and slapped it between a big thick slice of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford for Red Dead Redemption 2.

 

The first game is an inversion of the story of The Man from the Alamo, instead of domestic agents in the form of turncoat soldiers controlling (see: ending) our protagonists life and family, we see government agents (Agent Ross and Agent Fordham) doing so under the guise of benevolence all the while Marston chases down his own turncoat soldiers in the form of his former gang members Bill and Dutch. Instead of our hero leaving the Alamo under questionable circumstances, he's shot by his former gang member friends.

 

In the Wild Bunch, the Old West is dying out, and the gang is forced to confront modernity or meet a bloody end. The plot starts with the gang fleeing a bank heist gone wrong the gang heads to Mexico and runs into a corrupt General of the Mexican Federal Army. Sound familiar? They also steal a shipment of weapons from a U.S. Army train.

 

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The Man From the Alamo starts with a murdered family and an angry protagonist whereas that is how Red Dead Redemption ends. In the Wild Bunch, the movie starts with a bank robbery gone wrong and ends with a bloody shootout.

 

Since Red Dead Redemption II is a prequel, Rockstar has no leverage to fiddle with the ending this time, so perhaps they will experiment with the beginning of the story?

 

I'm guessing that Red Dead Redemption II will start with the Blackwater bank robbery and the big heist gone bad leading to the gang riding over the mountains. This is almost 1:1 to The Wild Bunch except they are riding north to the snowy mountains instead of south to Mexico. Another inversion. They are being hunted down by the Pinkertons similar to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and similar to that story, they know they can't run forever and will eventually succumb. It remains to be seen how much Rockstar manipulates time but I think the dates in Trailer #3 is possibly a hint that they're comfortable doing so.

 

So, in short, we will see Arthur become John's father figure at some point. Arthur will be a benevolent Al Swearengen type who is tough and violent but also protective and strong and masculine in his own way. This recalls both the aforementioned Deadwood but also Death Rides A Horse.

 

 

We will see Arthur put his trust in Dutch's idealism and charisma only to have his trust betrayed something like in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. My speculation is that the gang "loses" the pinkertons only to be rediscovered after a big train heist.

 

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Which when the story comes full circle, we'll see that both Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2 are Arthur's story and John is really just an echo of him just as Jack is of John. The narrative arc between the two will the be both the destruction of the family (RDR2) and the individual by outside forces (RDR1) (Pinkertons, Temperance movements, religious cultists, and government) and the death of the outlaw. Red Dead Redemption also casts government in a dark light and I wonder if Rockstar will take their aim at enterprise / corporatism in Red Dead Redemption 2. 

 

Why do I think this? Because in RDR1, the relationship between John and his family and John and Dutch is woefully under explored and only presented in subtext in missions like "Women and Cattle" like linked above. We're only given "riddles", bits and pieces which make John an interesting and mysterious figure, but leaves the heavy lifting to the past. 

 

TL;DR:

  • I've seen a f*ck ton of Westerns (and movies)
  • Rockstar is drawing heavily from The Wild Bunch, The Man from the Alamo, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford with bits and pieces elsewhere filling in the gaps
  • RDR2 could be Arthur (idealism, community) vs. Dutch (pessimism, individualism)
  • Arthur will be John's father figure "teach him everything he knows" sort of thing

 

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TheOriginalGunslinger

Credit goes to @SneakyDeaky by posting this in the “Uncle Appreciation Posse Thread” but he’s right. Uncle is based off of “The Wild Bunch” character Freddie Sykes.

 

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This is a really great thread by the way!

Edited by TheOriginalGunslinger
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SneakyDeaky

Great post, Wagszilla!

The Wild Bunch is all over RDR. What about the character of Angel? He plays songs on a Spanish guitar in the gang's camp much like Javier does in RDR 2.

I've seen the Wild Bunch numerous times but I have never seen The Man from the Alamo, I will have to find a copy.

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wagszilla
14 minutes ago, SneakyDeaky said:

Great post, Wagszilla!

The Wild Bunch is all over RDR. What about the character of Angel? He plays songs on a Spanish guitar in the gang's camp much like Javier does in RDR 2.

I've seen the Wild Bunch numerous times but I have never seen The Man from the Alamo, I will have to find a copy.

Thanks!

 

It's way less prevalent than The Wild Bunch but interesting to think about in context of RDR. 

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BretMaverick777

There's a ton of classic Westerns I could draw from, and R* clearly does too; but I'll list some more recent ones here. 

 

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 Django Unchained and Cold Mountain proved that a Western can be set in the South and still click on all the cylinders of the genre.  Roughly a third of the leaked RDR2 map shows the Deep South -- Roanoke Ridge, Scarlett Meadows, and the Bayou/St Denis. 

 

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The Hateful 8 and The Revenant are likely the main source material for an RDR2 landscape that is rich in frozen wilderness and the unforgiving high mountain terrain of the Grizzlies. 

 

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Deadwood and Open Range are likely models for the small lawless towns of the plains and prairies. 

 

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And Hell On Wheels probably is prime source material for the train robberies, expansion of the railroad, and the greedy rail tycoons who run them. 

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H3nri3

These are awesome! Thanks for the share!! :)

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el capito

Somebody mentioned in general discussion topic a movie where was a bank robbery scene which was similar we have seen in one of the RDR2 trailers. What movie was that? 

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TheWhiteHat
12 minutes ago, el capito said:

Somebody mentioned in general discussion topic a movie where was a bank robbery scene which was similar we have seen in one of the RDR2 trailers. What movie was that? 

The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford.

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el capito
31 minutes ago, TheWhiteHat said:

The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford.

No it wasn't that.

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BretMaverick777
7 hours ago, el capito said:

Somebody mentioned in general discussion topic a movie where was a bank robbery scene which was similar we have seen in one of the RDR2 trailers. What movie was that? 

To some extent, I've seen similarities to Walter Hill's The Long Riders, which is another take on the James-Younger Gang story.  There's bank, stage and train robberies there that clearly influenced Rockstar's take on the heist mechanics. 

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el capito
41 minutes ago, BretMaverick777 said:

To some extent, I've seen similarities to Walter Hill's The Long Riders, which is another take on the James-Younger Gang story.  There's bank, stage and train robberies there that clearly influenced Rockstar's take on the heist mechanics. 

Bingo!, Thanks🤠

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wagszilla
8 hours ago, Am Shaegar said:

Wow! How should I feel about this? If this thread is simply about pointing out the movie influences then I will stop posting further, otherwise its not a good thing to lift so much from the movies and present it to the players who expect a bit of fresh, original ideas mixed with the established plot lines of the classics.

Lastly I want to thank OP for bringing a couple of western movies to my attention that I never knew. I am certainly going to watch them now 

I'm not criticizing Rockstar.

 

The red background / black silhouette foreground look is a classic in Western design.

 

Most famously in Sergio Leone / Clint Eastwood "Man With No Name" trilogy.

 

I think Red Dead Redemption is Rockstar's least original game, although that can be argued, but characters like Bonnie, Seth, and Nigel West Dickens are all pretty original, even if they are still archetypical for the genre and they did it stunningly well.

 

9 hours ago, BretMaverick777 said:

There's a ton of classic Westerns I could draw from, and R* clearly does too; but I'll list some more recent ones here. 

The thing about Westerns (and movies in general) is they tend to be influenced by those from the past.

 

The classics like Union Pacific, Stagecoach, Shane, etc. set the foundations which countless others exploited.

 

Django Unchained is of course based off the Corbucci movie Django.

 

The Hateful Eight owes much to Corbucci's The Grand Silence and Capitani's The Ruthless Four.

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TheOriginalGunslinger

I was gonna say Young Guns II but nah... although, the outfit of choice is pretty funny.

 

Red-Dead-Redemption-2-Official-Trailer-2

 

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Edited by TheOriginalGunslinger
  • Like 11

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H3nri3

Thank you for telling me about the Wild Bunch I watched it last night for the First Time it was so Amazing!!! Tonight I am going to Watch the Man from the Alamo!!! 

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ROCKSTAR MANIC

Mods should pin this thread so when the game is out, people can compare. Great job op, put in the effort. 

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Lock n' Stock

Marston's scars are based off Josey Wales.

 

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Evilbagelninja

How cool would it be if rockstar refernence Back to the future 3 in some let be a side mission where you help a scientist transport a unknown item or by you hearing people speak and describe Doc brown and Marty mcfly when they were in the old west or maybe by finding a deluxo but a delxo that looks like the Delorean from Back to the future 3.

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Thor Shreddington

Like @BretMaverick777 pointed out, I get a very strong Deadwood and Open Range vibe in a lot of the scenes. The Wild Bunch for sure. Magnificent Seven. 

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Mattdrenaline

I'll probably get suspended for this lol but I made a video that is a side by side comparison to Assassination of Jesse James and the train scene from the trailer. It's almost identical.

Have a look if you'd like. pls no ban

 

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VolumeRX

Awesome work dude! what a great thread!

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wagszilla
On 8/18/2018 at 11:09 AM, Lock n' Stock said:

Marston's scars are based off Josey Wales.

Nice find.

 

I always thought one of the inspirations for Marston was Jack Nicholson in One Eyed Jacks The Missouri Breaks

 

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Incidentally, Brando's performance in that flick is not unlike Irish. 😛 

17 hours ago, Evilbagelninja said:

How cool would it be if rockstar refernence Back to the future 3 in some let be a side mission where you help a scientist transport a unknown item or by you hearing people speak and describe Doc brown and Marty mcfly when they were in the old west or maybe by finding a deluxo but a delxo that looks like the Delorean from Back to the future 3.

 

Edited by wagszilla
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1898
39 minutes ago, wagszilla said:

Nice find.

 

I always thought one of the inspirations for Marston was Jack Nicholson in One Eyed Jacks

 
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I think you're confusing a couple movies here.

I'm not 100% sure what that is but it's not One Eyed Jacks.

OEJ starred and was directed by Marlon Brando. One of my all time favorites, unique in many ways. One not everyone has seen but everyone who has loves it.

Watch the Remastered Trailer

Edited by 1898

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wagszilla
1 hour ago, 1898 said:

I think you're confusing a couple movies here.

I'm not 100% sure what that is but it's not One Eyed Jacks.

OEJ starred and was directed by Marlon Brando. One of my all time favorites, unique in many ways. One not everyone has seen but everyone who has loves it.

Watch the Remastered Trailer

Yep, you're right. 

 

It's The Missouri Breaks.

 

Sorry, the Brando connection caused my brain to short circuit for a minute there. 

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SneakyDeaky

Kind of loose, but ever since I saw Arthur I thought his default look was reminiscent of William Munny.

unforgiven.jpg
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gonnaenodaethat

More to the point what films do they copy from as originality is not R*'s strongest attribute?

 

This game will be "influenced" by any Cowboy film that has Realistic Tumbleweed in it and serve as a classic homage to the great Western genre.

 

Oh aye and let's no forget the 'steak

 

C'mon the steak

 

 

  • fir thi bairns 2

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Boone_Tuva

Just stumbled on this topic, love the similarities out there folks are finding. Have thought this from the first trailer, Arthur reminds me a hell of a lot of a young Tommy Lee Jones. Not from any specific role, just his overall weathered look and attitude.

 

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DEADWOODZ
30 minutes ago, Boone_Tuva said:

Just stumbled on this topic, love the similarities out there folks are finding. Have thought this from the first trailer, Arthur reminds me a hell of a lot of a young Tommy Lee Jones. Not from any specific role, just his overall weathered look and attitude.

 

ZYMdR4o.png

I find he has similarities to Henry Fonda (Once Upon A Time in the West).

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wagszilla

I hadn't seen the remake of 3:10 To Yuma since it came out.

 

I watched it earlier this week. 

 

It definitely has some moments which inspired RDR and sound conceivably inspire RDR2. 

Edited by wagszilla

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Little Big Man
On ‎8‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 4:29 AM, wagszilla said:

Nice find.

 

I always thought one of the inspirations for Marston was Jack Nicholson in One Eyed Jacks The Missouri Breaks

 

You're definitely thinking of the sequel, The Two One-Eyed Jacks.

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