The Westerner

The Westerner

William Wyler (1940)

U Certificate


Our Score
Director William Wyler cut his teeth on westerns and here brings all his professional skills to bear in a fine example of the genre. In the lead is the star who always looked at home in the West, lanky Gary Cooper, in a tale based on the life of the notorious Judge Roy Bean, played by Walter Brennan who won a third best supporting actor Oscar for his ferocious performance. The story itself may be fable, but Bean's celebrated obsession with Lillie Langtry was real enough, and the clever screenplay makes good use of it, particularly at the climax. It's best described as a western for people who don't usually care for them, and is as distinguished as other such Wyler/Goldwyn classics as Wuthering Heights and The Little Foxes. The latter also featured the work of the great cameraman Gregg Toland, whose work here is exemplary.


A wandering cowboy gets mixed up in a range war between cattlemen and homesteaders in 1880s Texas, antagonising the notorious Judge Roy Bean in the process. He manages to escape the death sentence thanks to a quick-witted con - but is forced to take drastic action to bring the lawman's tyranny to an end. Western, starring Gary Cooper and an Oscar-winning Walter Brennan.

Cast & Crew

Cole Hardin Gary Cooper
Judge Roy Bean Walter Brennan
Jane-Ellen Mathews Doris Davenport
Caliphet Mathews Fred Stone
Chickenfoot Paul Hurst
Southeast Chill Wills
Mort Borrow Charles Halton
Wade Harper Forrest Tucker
King Evans Tom Tyler
Lily Langtry Lillian Bond
Bart Cobble Dana Andrews
Director William Wyler
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video