Johnny Guitar

  • PG
  • Nicholas Ray (1954)
  • US
  • 105 min
Johnny Guitar
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Although this simmering - and occasionally self-consciously camp - western from director Nicholas Ray subverts its notoriously conservative genre, the real purpose of his study in mob hysteria was to condemn the Communist witch-hunt then tearing Hollywood apart. Heavy with symbolism, Philip Yordan's script also crackles with repressed sexuality, as saloon owner Joan Crawford and vicious cattle queen Mercedes McCambridge cross swords over land and men (while eponymous hero Sterling Hayden laconically strums his guitar). Providing Crawford with one of her best roles and gloriously shot in Trucolor by Harry Stradling, this baroque bonanza fascinates on so many levels that it demands to be repeatedly viewed and reviewed.

Plot Summary

Cult western starring Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden and Mercedes McCambridge. Old conflicts and passions erupt when glamorous saloon owner Vienna employs the mysterious Johnny Guitar to help in her on-going battles with the local settlers.

Cast and crew


Joan Crawford
Johnny Guitar
Sterling Hayden
Emma Small
Mercedes McCambridge
Dancin' Kid
Scott Brady
John McIvers
Ward Bond
Turkey Ralston
Ben Cooper
Old Tom
John Carradine
Bart Lonergan
Ernest Borgnine
Royal Dano
Marshal Williams
Frank Ferguson
Paul Fix


Nicholas Ray

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Republic Pictures Int Inc
Available on video and DVD
Certificate PG