The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

John Ford (1962)

118min
U Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Two of Hollywood's greatest stars are paired in this key late John Ford western - once unfairly dismissed for being shot in black-and-white in an era of colour. A top-billed James Stewart plays "Pilgrim" Ransom Stoddard, a US senator who returns to the town of Shinbone for the funeral of rancher Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). The bulk of the story unfolds in flashback, culminating in a twist that only a spoilsport would reveal. The skilfully written screenplay makes the complexity of its themes appear so simple, and the film clearly shows the impact of the arrival of literacy on an innocent, more primitive west. Wayne and Stewart create indelible western icons, and a superb Lee Marvin offers memorable support as the Liberty Valance of the title. But perhaps this neglected masterpiece is best summed up by its most famous quote, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend!"

Summary

A shy, naive lawyer falls foul of a gunslinger while on his way to the backwoods town of Shinbone. His life is saved by a local woman, and he in turn devotes himself to helping the townsfolk while searching for a way to bring the bandit to justice. However, he finally comes to realise that a more aggressive approach will be needed. John Ford's Western, starring James Stewart, Lee Marvin, John Wayne, Woody Strode and Vera Miles.

Cast & Crew

Ransom Stoddard James Stewart
Tom Doniphon John Wayne
Hallie Stoddard Vera Miles
Liberty Valance Lee Marvin
Dutton Peabody Edmond O'Brien
Link Appleyard Andy Devine
Pompey Woody Strode
Doc Willoughby Ken Murray
Major Cassius Starbuckle John Carradine
Nora Ericson Jeanette Nolan
Peter Ericson John Qualen
Amos Carruthers Denver Pyle
Reese Lee Van Cleef
Floyd Strother Martin
Director John Ford
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteGuidance: Some violence. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray
Drama