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The Quick and the Dead Cast: An Exciting Exploration of Their Thrilling Roles and Star-Studded Careers

A Detailed Retrospective of the Wild West Ensemble and Their Cinematic Destinies


Off-screen camaraderie translates into a splendid visual ensemble as Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, and Gene Hackman strike a pose in their iconic characters' garb from The Quick and The Dead. This cheering promotional picture captures the powerhouse quartet in a moment of relaxation, exuding a spirited charm that perfectly complements their spellbinding on-screen dynamics.

Sep 23

by Abigail Grace Irons

Sam Raimi's Wild West classic, The Quick and The Dead, an enduring favorite that has captivated audiences over the years with its raw gun-slinging showdowns, nerve-racking atmosphere, and the unstoppable force of the memorable characters at the center of the eroding town of Redemption.

This journey takes us through the dusty planes not just for the thrill of the plot, but also to pay homage to the powerhouse ensemble. From Sharon Stone's vengeful gunslinger to Gene Hackman's ruthless tyrant to a young Leonardo DiCaprio's impetuous cowboy and Russell Crowe's repentant yet lethal preacher; each actor delivered performances that have echoed through cinematic history. Now, sit back and let's get reacquainted with the remarkable characters of this timeless classic.

1. Sharon Stone as Ellen


Sharon Stone, her icy blue eyes reflecting her hardened resolve as Ellen in The Quick and The Dead. The gun she firmly grasps becomes a symbol of her fearlessness, as her blonde curls frame a face etched with the determination to end tyranny. Amid the grit and grime of the Wild West, she stands tall as an embodiment of female strength and redemption.

Ellen, referred to as "The Lady," is a mysterious figure with a thirst for vengeance, brilliantly portrayed by Sharon Stone. Her character's determination, braveness, and skill with a gun broke the typical female stereotype in westerns, making her a standout character. Stone blended strength, vulnerability, and a burning desire for revenge wonderfully, earning widespread recognition.

Previously, Stone had gained massive international fame due to her role as Catherine Tramell in Paul Verhoeven's erotic thriller, Basic Instinct, where her performance was as seductive as it was enigmatic. Her infamous interrogation scene in the movie became one of the most paused moments in film history, making her a household name.

Following The Quick and The Dead, Stone continued her successful career, earning critical acclaim in Martin Scorsese's Casino. She demonstrated her versatile acting skills further with performances in films like The Muse and Broken Flowers. Stone continues to bewitch audiences, with upcoming projects like Beauty and What About Love on the horizon.

2. Gene Hackman as John Herod


Caught in a moment of chilling serenity, Gene Hackman's John Herod appears as the embodiment of a ruthless ruler. Underneath the shadow of a black hat, his eyes are obscured, adding to his character's ominous persona. As he lights a cigar with a match, the flames serve as a haunting reminder of his fiery and unyielding reign in The Quick and The Dead.

Gene Hackman's John Herod is the perfect villain - cold, ruthless, and uncompromisingly brutal. His tyrannical rule over the town, coupled with his cruel manipulation of the gunfight contests, made Hackman's Herod a character viewers loved to hate, boosting his reputation as a versatile actor.

Before he took up the guns in The Quick and The Dead, Hackman's gritty portrayal of detective Jimmy Doyle in William Friedkin's The French Connection had earned him an Oscar. In Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, his portrayal of a paranoid surveillance expert showcased his unique ability to get under a character’s skin.

Post his chilling role as Herod, Hackman didn't slow down, continuing his string of unforgettable performances. He appeared in popular films like Tony Scott's Enemy of the State and Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums, for which he bagged a Golden Globe. Although retired now, Hackman's illustrious career is a testimony to his extraordinary talent.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio as Kid


Leonardo DiCaprio, exuding youthful exuberance and brazen cockiness as the Kid in The Quick and The Dead. His signature smirk is as lethal as the gun he carries with effortless charisma. Donning a hat and neck bandanna, he perfectly encapsulates the reckless bravado of a young gun eager to outshine his daunting heritage.

Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of the cocky, impulsive Kid added a fresh dynamic to The Quick and The Dead. His character's brash confidence, coupled with a deep-seated desire to outshine his father, Herod, made DiCaprio's Kid unpredictable and fascinating to watch.

By the time he played Kid, DiCaprio had already made a strong impression in his breakthrough role as Arnie Grape in Lasse Hallstrom's What's Eating Gilbert Grape. His riveting portrayal of a young boy with a developmental disorder earned him his first Academy Award nomination.

In the years that followed, DiCaprio's career took off astronomically. With iconic roles in James Cameron's Titanic, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, and Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant, he has firmly cemented his status as one of the finest actors of his generation. We will soon see DiCaprio take up the mantle of an enigmatic TV psychologist in Martin Scorsese's upcoming film Killers Of The Flower Moon.

4. Russell Crowe as Cort


Caught in the epicenter of an expectant crowd, Russell Crowe's Cort stands unflinching, his bloody knuckles a testament to his past and unwavering resolve. Hand resting on the hilt of his holstered gun, his tranquil gaze belays the brewing storm within. He embodies the dichotomy of a feared outlaw turned calm preacher, an embodiment of redemption in The Quick and The Dead.

Russell Crowe's performance as the guilt-ridden Cort was as enigmatic as it was powerful. Crowe's depiction of Cort's struggle between his violent past and his newfound piety resonated deeply with audiences, making his character deeply engaging.

Before his role in The Quick and The Dead, Crowe had gained plaudits for his blistering portrayal of a neo-Nazi leader in Geoffrey Wright's Romper Stomper. It was a performance that caught the attention of many in Hollywood, including The Quick and The Dead's director, Sam Raimi.

Crowe's career trajectory took a steep climb post his role as Cort. He delivered a string of powerful performances, including his Oscar-winning portrayal of Maximus in Ridley Scott's Gladiator and his Oscar-nominated work in Michael Mann's The Insider. Most recently, we saw Crowe in Julius Avery’s The Pope's Exorcist. He's sure to dazzle audiences in future projects like The Georgetown Project and American Son.

5. Kevin Conway as Eugene Dred


Kevin Conway, donning a bowler hat in The Quick and The Dead, exudes an eerie charm as Eugene Dred inside the saloon. His face, obscured by layers of sly makeup, becomes a chilling mask, reflecting the duplicitous nature of his character, a henchman hiding behind an air of outward respectability.

Kevin Conway’s portrayal of Eugene Dred, a ruthless henchman, served as an unforgettable antagonist who perfectly heightened the tension of the film. His character’s eagerness to win Herod’s favor and ruthless manipulation added several layers of complication, enhancing the overall narrative.

Prior to his role in The Quick and The Dead, Conway had charmed audiences with significant characters in television series like The Outer Limits and the HBO miniseries The Civil War. He had already established himself as a talented actor, engraving his niche portraying historical figures.

After his performance as Eugene Dred, Conway continued his success with films like Barry Levinson's Wag the Dog, and Taylor Hackford's Thirteen Days. He most notably voiced the title character in The Incredible Hulk. Throughout his career, Conway consistently showcased his flair for subtly delivering impactful performances, something he continued until his passing in 2020.

6. Keith David as Sgt. Cantrell


Keith David, pictured in timeless black and white, masterfully embodies the no-nonsense Sgt. Cantrell in The Quick and The Dead. His formidable mustache complements his stern facial expression, while his poised gun points to the impending enactment of justice. Stripped of color, this image shines a spotlight on the character's relentless determination, leaving a bold monochromatic imprint in the history of cinema.

The no-nonsense, principled Sgt. Cantrell, played to perfection by Keith David, presented another fascinating character to the mix. His character's robust moral compass and impressive ability with a gun managed to captivate audiences while being an integral part of the storyline.

David, recognized by his deep, distinctive voice, hit the ground running with a breakout role as Childs in John Carpenter’s hair-raising thriller, The Thing. His meritorious performance as a tough, no-nonsense mechanic fending off an alien infection in the frigid Antarctic wilderness was both terrifying and captivating. He reunited with Carpenter in the 1988 cult classic They Live, where he delivered another memorable performance as Frank, a diligent worker uncovering a global alien conspiracy.

Post The Quick and The Dead, David continued his impressive career. He gave memorable performances in films such as Armageddon, Pitch Black, and Requiem for a Dream. He also ventured into voice acting, most notably giving voice to the character of Goliath in the popular animated series Gargoyles and The Arbiter in the Halo video game series. David continues to enthrall audiences, with future projects including the TV series Smiling Friends.

7. Lance Henriksen as Ace Hanlon


With a dash of color amid the grim West, Lance Henriksen, crouched in vigilance, makes a flamboyant statement in The Quick and The Dead. Adorned in a costume that screams playing card symbols, his portrayal of Ace Hanlon is nothing short of electric. The goatee adds a layer of cunning sophistication and the revolver in hand, an imminent promise of action - a striking antithesis to the classic cowboy imagery.

Lance Henriksen brought the flamboyantly dressed, amusingly boastful Ace Hanlon to life. His character’s skewed morality and sly demeanor added a touch of humor and intrigue to the intense proceedings of the film.

Before he saddled up as Ace Hanlon, Henriksen was best known for his role as the sympathetic synthetic human, Bishop, in James Cameron's Aliens. His unforgettable portrayal of a mechanical being with more humanity than the actual humans around him yielded a cult following.

Henriksen's career took an interesting turn post The Quick and The Dead, with roles in movies like Scream 3 and the TV series Millennium. He has also lent his uniquely textured voice to video games, such as Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. With a career that spans more than six decades, Henriksen continues to delight fans, with appearances in the 2022 series Bring Me the Head of Lance Henriksen.

8. Pat Hingle as Horace


Pat Hingle, as Horace in The Quick and The Dead, dons a bowler hat symbolic of his dual roles - the bartender and the undertaker. In this tender moment, he is comfortiin, exuding warmth and kindness in an unforgiving world. The image is a poignant reminder of the resilience of humanity, a facet of his character that eases the bleakness of the wild west.

Pat Hingle's Horace is a beloved figure in The Quick and The Dead. This colorful bartender doubles as the town's undertaker, adding a fascinating duality to his character. Hingle's warm performance as Horace, coupled with his character's interesting profession, lent depth to the canvass of the eroding town.

Before becoming Horace, Hingle had wowed audiences as Commissioner Gordon in Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, a role that saw him reprise for four of the franchise’s films. His portrayal of the honorable lawman still ranks amongst the best interpretations of the character.

Post his role in The Quick and The Dead, Hingle stayed active in both film and TV, notably lending his voice to Disney’s The Land Before Time II. He continued to entertain with engaging performances until his passing in 2009, leaving behind a legacy of diverse characters that have enriched the world of cinema.

9. Gary Sinise as Marshall


Gary Sinise, in a haunting portrayal of Marshall in The Quick and The Dead, suffers an agonizing ordeal as he hangs in a perpetuating limbo between life and death. His distressed expressions etch a chilling narrative of pain and unjust consequences, contributing immeasurably to the merciless reality of Redemption's hardboiled backdrop.

Gary Sinise's Marshall is a character largely spoken about but seldom seen, his presence looming large over the narrative. His portrayal of the ruthless enforcer and father of Ellen's character though limited onscreen, was chillingly impactful, further substantiating the actor’s reputation for his dramatic prowess.

Prior to his role in The Quick and The Dead, Sinise was most recognized for his heart-wrenching performance as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Robert ZemeckisForrest Gump. His empathetic portrayal of the Vietnam Veteran struggling with his post-war reality earned him an Academy Award nomination and won hearts worldwide.

Following his brief yet impactful appearance in Raimi’s western classic, Sinise continued to deliver powerful performances in films like Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes and Frank Darabont's The Green Mile. Audiences fondly remember him for his role as Detective Mac Taylor in the long-running TV series CSI: NY. Sinise’s exceptional prowess is on display in his reel, including recent roles in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and 13 Reasons Why. Gary Sinise continues to captivate audiences with his upcoming work in Good Joe Bell, slated for release later in the year.

10. Tobin Bell as Dog Kelly


A gritty close-up of Tobin Bell in The Quick and The Dead showcases the raw, visceral persona of Dog Kelly. His rugged appearance, amplified by his mesmerizing blue eyes, offers a fascinating study of a man marked by the harsh realities of the Wild West. Bell's memorable portrayal adds a shade of macabre sophistication to the ensemble of Redemption.

An actor often synonymous with dark, mysterious roles, Tobin Bell's portrayal of Dog Kelly in The Quick and The Dead further bolstered his reputation. Though his screen-time was limited, Bell's performance as the fearsome dog-loving cowboy was entrenched in audience's memories, perfectly adding a touch of the macabre to the ensemble.

Bell had started to make waves in Hollywood well before his role in this western classic. He had appeared in thrillers such as Andrew Davis's The Fugitive and Alan J. Pakula's The Firm, showcasing his versatility and marking his first steps towards becoming a highly regarded character actor. His performance as the eerie Rasta Man in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers was especially unforgettable, hinting at his gravitation towards complex, edgy roles.

Following The Quick and The Dead, Bell's career took a thrilling detour. He landed on a breakout role as John Kramer in James Wan's Saw films. His chillingly convincing portrayal of the intellectually brilliant yet sadistic antivillain, also known as Jigsaw, thrilled audiences worldwide, turning him into a horror icon. Bell also lent his talents to renowned series such as 24 and Criminal Minds. As of today, Bell continues to captivate audiences with his undeniably riveting performances, including an upcoming appearance in Taylor Chien's horror-thriller The Bunker. His bold choices and unwavering commitment to character exploration ensure that he'll always leave a lasting impression, regardless of the size of his role.

11. Sven-Ole Thorsen as Gutzon


Sven-Ole Thorsen, his bearded face a mask of inscrutable strength, casts a longing gaze at the instrument of power ensconced in a box - a finely crafted gun. In sober contemplation of violence as Gutzon in The Quick and The Dead, Thorsen's portrayal teeters on the edge of brutality and honor as he embodies the harsh realities of the era.

The hulking, tattooed figure of Gutzon is brilliantly brought to life by Sven-Ole Thorsen in The Quick and The Dead. A quiet character with brooding menace, Gutzon's impressive physicality and intimidating presence definitely caught the viewer’s attention, enhancing the raw, macho culture within the town's fierce inhabitants.

Before his intimidating appearance in Redemption, Thorsen was already making his presence felt in Hollywood. This Danish actor, stuntman, and bodybuilder had made a lasting impression with memorable turns as Togra in Conan the Barbarian and as a Security Man in Lethal Weapon. Notably, his towering physique and imposing presence made him a popular choice for action-packed roles.

After his role in The Quick and The Dead, Thorsen continued to illuminate cinema screens with stunning performances, playing a moai (Stone) Guard in Kull the Conqueror and a Guard in Ridley Scott's Gladiator. He also lent his talents to the TV realm with a role in Charmed. Even though he officially retired in 2003, Thorsen's cinematic archive, filled with burly characters, continues to thrill audiences worldwide.

12. Roberts Blossom as Doc Wallace


Roberts Blossom, adorned with a pristine white beard and a black hat, lends an aura of sage-like wisdom to his character Doc Wallace in The Quick and The Dead. Standing, yet potent in his simplicity, Blossom's portrayal remains an enduring symbol of steadfast loyalty in the face of lawlessness.

Roberts Blossom made a unforgettable impact in The Quick and The Dead with his portrayal of Doc Wallace. The character’s stoic nature and enduring loyalty to Ellen’s character combined with Blossom’s seasoned acting skills, providing a dramatic anchor to the storyline and making the story even more compelling.

Prior to stepping onto the barren landscape of Redemption, Blossom was no stranger to the silver screen. He enthralled audiences with several noteworthy performances. Perhaps his most recognized role was as "Old Man" Marley in Chris Columbus's iconic Christmas movie, Home Alone, where he portrayed a seemingly sinister character who eventually became a hero, much to the delight of audiences everywhere.

After his role as Doc Wallace, Blossom continued to grace TV screens and cinema halls with his acting skills. He appeared in the television series Chicago Hope, and his final on-screen appearance was in The Quick and the Dead. Following his retirement from acting, Blossom devoted his time to poetry until he passed away in 2011. Beyond The Quick and the Dead, Blossom's career continues to immortalize him in the annals of cinema, with his memorable roles a testimony to his exceptional talent.

13. Mark Boone Junior as Scars


Mark Boone Junior, his face etched with the battle scars of a hard life, paints a compelling picture as Scars in The Quick and The Dead. These weather-beaten marks add an element of silent storytelling, symbolic of his troubled past and the merciless world he inhabits.

Recognizable for his weather-beaten look and burly figure, Mark Boone Junior projected an intimidating presence as Scars in The Quick and The Dead. Even though his role was limited, his distinctive appearance and the grim intensity of his character added a vivid stroke of color to the canvas of the film.

Boone had already showcased his acting prowess prior to this western classic. He delivered an impactful performance in Christopher Nolan's Memento, playing a crooked motel clerk who tricks Guy Pearce's character into paying for multiple rooms, thereby showcasing his knack for playing crafty characters.

Following The Quick and The Dead, Boone's work in film and television included a remarkable series of performances, including a reuniun with director Christopher Nolan in Batman Begins. He is probably best known as Bobby Munson in the critically acclaimed series Sons of Anarchy. His ruggedly charismatic performance in Kurt Sutter's beloved motorcycle club saga earned him a legion of devoted fans. Boone continues to build a formidable body of work and we will soon see him in James Healey’s upcoming American Desert.

15. Jonothon Gill as Spotted Horse


Caught at the height of a vital showdown, Jonothon Gill, hair wild as the western wind, aims with lethal intent in The Quick and The Dead. His grimacing expression is indicative of the high stakes, as he breathes life into Spotted Horse - the warrior who defiantly claims invincibility to bullets. A frame that captures, with raw intensity, the gritty spirit of Western showdowns.

Jonothon Gill's portrayal of Spotted Horse in The Quick and The Dead added an atmosphere of mystique and mystery to the ensemble. His character, an indomitable warrior with a bold claim of being invincible to bullets, added a touch of the supernatural to the traditional Western setting. Gill's performance brought astral depth to Spotted Horse, successfully making him an interesting puzzle in the network of robust narratives within the film.

Before stepping into the boots of Spotted Horse, Gill had brought his unique talent to a couple of significant roles. He made his mark with a memorable performance in Shining Blood, a gripping tale of brotherhood, sacrifice, and supernatural elements. Additionally, Gill appeared in Geronimo, an historical Western that delves into the life of the eponymous Apache warrior. His contributions to these films were notable, and his portrayal of Spotted Horse in The Quick and The Dead remains an enduring representation of his talent in the annals of Western films.



An intriguing study of contrasting energies, Russell Crowe's taciturn and chained Cort sits in contemplation on the steps in The Quick and The Dead, a stark contrast to Gene Hackman's jovial John Herod who chuckles beside him. The picture captures a compelling dynamic, one of a captive with inner freedom and his captor who remains shackled by his relentless thirst for power.

1. How old was Leonardo in The Quick and The Dead?

Leonardo DiCaprio was only 20 years old when he portrayed the character of "Kid" in Sam Raimi's The Quick and The Dead. This youthful cowboy was one of the early performances in DiCaprio's career, showcasing his talent at a young age. His performance in the film was palpably dynamic, marked by a cocky confidence mixed with underlying vulnerability, adding depth to his character. This performance, amongst his many others during his early career, helped him to transition into more mature roles and establish himself as one of Hollywood's predominant leading men.

2. Where was the 1987 Quick and the Dead filmed?

It's important to distinguish between the two films titled The Quick and the Dead. The 1987 film was a television movie directed by Robert Day, and the shooting locations of this movie starring Sam Elliot aren’t widely documented. However, the more prominent The Quick and The Dead, directed by Sam Raimi in 1995, which this article is dedicated to, was filmed predominantly in Old Tucson in Arizona, USA. This particular location, with its arid landscapes and traditional Western-town aesthetics, significantly contributed to the film's authenticity as a Western classic.

3. What movie is The Quick and the Dead based on?

The Quick and the Dead isn’t based on any specific movie. Instead, it was conceived as an homage to classic spaghetti westerns, with its trademark quick-draw duels and wonderfully over-the-top characters. Screenwriter Simon Moore penned the original script, incorporating distinct elements of the spaghetti western genre, but also introducing unique twists that made it a fresh, edgy take on the well-trodden path of western films.

4. Who was the female actress in The Quick and the Dead?

Sharon Stone played the lead female character, Ellen, also referred to as "The Lady", in The Quick and the Dead. Stone’s character was a departure from the typical female depictions in westerns, introducing a strong, skillful, and independent gunslinger heroine. Stone excellently executed her role, becoming an integral part of the ensemble cast and making a significant impact with her strong performance.

5. Why do they hate the preacher in 'The Quick and The Dead'?

Russell Crowe played the character of Cort, a former outlaw who found faith and transformed into a preacher. His past connection with the film’s antagonist, John Herod (Gene Hackman), generates hostility among the townsfolk. In addition, his violent history combined with his new-found piety creates confusion and suspicion among the inhabitants of Redemption, leading to a general sense of animosity towards him.

6. What happens in 'The Quick and the Dead'?

SPOILER ALERT The Quick and The Dead takes us to the dusty town of Redemption, where a gun-slinging competition, organized by the merciless John Herod (Gene Hackman), is underway. A variety of troubled individuals, each carrying their own unique baggage and motivations, partake in this deadly contest. Among them is a mysterious gunslinger named Ellen (Sharon Stone) who has a personal vendetta against Herod. The narrative unfolds with gripping contest scenes, spicy confrontations, and finally climaxes in a pulse-pounding shootout between Ellen and Herod, where it’s revealed that Herod was responsible for the death of Ellen’s father.

7. How does 'The Quick and the Dead' end?

SPOILER ALERT In the film’s climactic finale, Ellen confronts Herod in a classic quick-draw shootout. Although Herod manages to shoot her, Ellen has a metal plate hidden under her garments which saves her life. Herod, believing Ellen is dead, lowers his guard, giving her the opportunity to rise and shoot him, thereby avenging her father’s untimely demise. With Herod’s fall, the people of Redemption are liberated from his iron-fisted rule. The movie concludes with Ellen leaving the town, which now holds the promise of a fresh beginning.



In a stirring spectacle of raw emotion, Sharon Stone, as Ellen in The Quick and The Dead, screams into the merciless rain. Her hand grips the gun with unwavering intent, transforming her into the ultimate symbol of vengeance against the stormy backdrop. It's a moment of cinematic gold, showcasing the unyielding spirit of a woman in an unforgiving world.

As we ride off into the sunset, having retraced the intricate paths of the extraordinary ensemble of The Quick and The Dead, we gain a deeper appreciation of this wild west masterpiece. The true treasure of this cinematic narrative lies not just within the stark landscapes and intense shootouts, but within the fearless and flawed characters that brought this tale to life.

Each actor's distinctive performance - Sharon Stone's relentless gunslinger, Gene Hackman's ruthless tyrant, a fresh-faced Leonardo DiCaprio's brash youngster, and Russell Crowe's repentant preacher - brought an unmatched energy and depth to the screen. Beyond the confines of Redemption, their journeys in Hollywood continue to enthral audiences, validating the timeless magic of cinema. It's a constant reminder that the essence of a compelling story is not just in the plot, but also in those who breathe life into it, actors who capture our imaginations and keep us coming back for more.

Abigail Grace Irons

Abigail Grace Irons

Hey there! I'm Abigail Grace Irons, a cinema blogger with a passion for everything film-related. I enjoy diving into the world of movies, from the latest releases to timeless classics like Casablanca and Rear Window. Join me as we explore the enchanting universe of film together, and let's embark on this cinematic journey one story at a time. 🎬🍿✨