close [×]

Dear Flixster Community,

After seven fabulous years with you all, we are sorry to let you know that we're going to be retiring the Flixster Community site on September 30, 2014. Please note that you can still access your ratings, reviews, and quizzes on Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes using your same login. We have had so much fun building this community with you.

Thanks for all the memories,

Get movie widget Recommend it Add to Favorites

John Candy, Richard Lewis, John C. McGinley, Ellen Greene, Robert Picardo ... see more see more... , Ed Lauter , Rodney A. Grant , William Sanderson , Melinda Culea , Robin McKee , Russell Means , Charles Rocket , Joe Bays , Abraham Benrubi , Ryan Cutrona , Bud Davis , Thomas F. Duffy , Steve Eastin , Randy Hall , Chad Hamilton , Don Lake , Marvin J. McIntyre , Joel McKinnon Miller , Mauricio Martinez , Denver Mattson , Lochlyn Munro , Ethan Phillips , Jimmy Ray Pickens , Tony Pierce , David Dunard

Comedian John Candy, who died during the making of this poorly received comic western, plays James Harlow, a 19th century wagon master who is heading back east with a wagon train full of oddball chara... read more read more...cters who have had their fill of Western life. They include ex-doctor Phil Taylor (Richard Lewis), kind-hearted prostitute Belle (Ellen Greene), and a bookseller, Julian (John C. McGinley). Harlow is a drunken, washed-up leader who frequently gets lost. The travelers eventually discover that he was a member of the famous Donner party, which resorted to cannibalism when stranded in the mountains. Railroad magnates try to turn back the party, figuring it's bad publicity for people out East to learn that the West is not really a paradise. The tycoons hire gunfighters and villains to stop the expedition, but local Indians protect the wagons, because they are glad to see disgruntled white settlers leaving their lands. This "backwards" western was based on a story by Jerry Abrahamson. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Flixster Users

33% liked it

7,653 ratings


0% liked it

29 critics

PG-13, 1 hr. 47 min.

Directed by: Peter Markle

Release Date: August 26, 1994

Invite friends to see

DVD Release Date: June 18, 2002

Stats: 240 reviews

Your Rating

clear rating

Flixster Reviews (240)

  • January 20, 2013
    Wagons East is an entertaining and underrated film that was the last feature starring John Candy, who died on the set of the film. The film does boast some flaws, but is nonetheless fun, humorous and well acted. Although not as great as other Western comedies, this is a film that... read more still manages to overcome its flaws due to Candy's usually memorable screen presence. Wagons East is not as great as Blazing Saddles, but it manages to be a whimsical comedy that doesn't deserve the flack it has received. Although not the best John Candy film, this is not a bad movie either. In terms of a comedy, this is a humorous picture that definitely should be seen. The cast here are good and aside from John Candy, John C. McGinley is one of the standout aspects of the film as homosexual bookseller Julian. I thought he was very funny in his performance, and I always enjoy McGinley's work no matter what he does. Watching Wagons East, I don't understand all the hatred that the film has garnered upon its release and it definitely is an underrated movie that brings on a few good laughs, an interesting story and a few standout performances. Although it had its fair share of flaws, I quite enjoyed this comedy yarn and it doesn't deserve all the negative reviews it has received. Wagons East is no Blazing Saddles, but it makes a pretty mindless hour and a half of comedic fun that isn't that bad. This is one of those films that are underrated for what it is, and though it is far from the best Western comedy, it's not the worst. If you enjoy John Candy, give this one a shot. Unfortunately this was his final film, but at least he managed to make me laugh one last time with this one.
  • August 15, 2007
    A fun western wagon trek with John Candy. I liked the funny gay cowboy character.
  • November 8, 2008
    Meh, It's just so predictable and average. Very minimal laughs.
  • December 25, 2007
  • August 19, 2007
    Funny parody of what would have happened if the settlers couldn't "hack it" and decided to just come back.
  • August 2, 2009
    humorous western parody. Laugh out loud John Candy performance is little weak in comedy, but plausible.
  • July 2, 2007
    never take a bad script when you are unhealthy because you'll die duriing filming and go out on a bad film
  • June 17, 2007
    John Candy and Chris Farley both went out with mediocre Western spoofs. Attention hard living comedians: stay away from the Old West.
  • May 2, 2007
    John Candy stars as a trail guide leading a group of disgruntled western settlers back to the east. Corny movie, but still funny

Critic Reviews

Steven Rea
May 22, 2013
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

[An] anemic Blazing Saddles-wannabe. Full Review

Jay Boyar
May 22, 2013
Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel

A poorly focused and rhythmless collection of vignettes, Wagons East! does contain a few funny ideas and some decent performances that simply are not enough to rescue the movie. Full Review

Jonathan Rosenbaum
May 22, 2013
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

A stridently unfunny western comedy that is equally lame in its writing and direction. Full Review

Jeff Shannon
May 22, 2013
Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times

With credits that include such garbage as Hot Dog... The Movie, director and former hockey player Peter Markle displays an utter lack of comic sensibility. Full Review

Michael Wilmington
May 22, 2013
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

A sunshiney hodgepodge of bad jokes, nice scenery and reverse stereotypes. Full Review

Chris Willman
May 22, 2013
Chris Willman, Los Angeles Times

A typically rickety vehicle, just dumb enough that it actually submerges Candy's sweet, perky persona in what's basically a sullen, grizzled straight-man role. Full Review

Todd McCarthy
February 23, 2012
Todd McCarthy, Variety

Everyone's creative burners were on low heat for this woeful outing. Full Review

Lisa Schwarzbaum
September 7, 2011
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

[A] broken-down nag of a movie. Full Review

Tom Charity
January 26, 2006
Tom Charity, Time Out

The humour is sufficiently scattershot to hit the mark once or twice, but basically a no-brains comedy. Full Review

Stephen Holden
May 20, 2003
Stephen Holden, New York Times

Wagons East! has the distinction of being Candy's final film, and it is dedicated to his memory. That, unfortunately, is its only distinction. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by

Fresh (60% or more critics rated the movie positively)

Rotten (59% or fewer critics rated the movie positively)

More Like This

Click a thumb to vote on that suggestion, or add your own suggestions.

  • Almost Heroes
    Almost Heroes (80%)
  • Pumpkinhead
    Pumpkinhead (40%)
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West
    A Million Ways to Die in the West (100%)
  • Wild Wild West
    Wild Wild West (100%)


    • James Harlow: We leave at dawn! Noonish!
    • Clayton Ferguson: WOMEN!
    • James Harlow: I hear it's warm in Canada all year long

Wagons East! : Watch Free on TV

Wagons East! Trivia

  • john candy died while filming which film?  Answer »
  • Starred John Candy and Matthew Perry about the Old West.  Answer »
  • What was the movie actor John Candy died during filming?  Answer »
  • What was John Candy's last movie before he passed away?  Answer »

Movie Quizzes

No quizzes for Wagons East!. Want to create one?

Video Clips

No video clips yet. Want to upload one?

Recent News

No recent headlines. Got one?

Recent Lists

Most Popular Skin

No skins yet. Interested in creating one?