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Destry Rides Again (1939)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Western  |  29 December 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 7,362 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 32 critic

Kent, the unscrupulous boss of Bottleneck has Sheriff Keogh killed when he asks one too many questions about a rigged poker game that gives Kent a stranglehold over the local cattle rangers... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Winninger ...
Warren Hymer ...
Bugs Watson
Irene Hervey ...
Janice Tyndall
Una Merkel ...
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Judge Slade
Jack Tyndall
Tom Fadden ...
Lem Claggett
Virginia Brissac ...
Sophie Claggett
Edmund MacDonald ...
Rockwell (as Edmund Macdonald)


Kent, the unscrupulous boss of Bottleneck has Sheriff Keogh killed when he asks one too many questions about a rigged poker game that gives Kent a stranglehold over the local cattle rangers. The mayor, who is in cahoots with Kent appoints the town drunk, Washington Dimsdale, as the new sheriff assuming that he'll be easy to control. But what the mayor doesn't know is that Dimsdale was a deputy under famous lawman, Tom Destry, and is able to call upon the equally formidable Tom Destry Jr to be his deputy. Featuring a career reviving performance from Marlene Dietrich as bar singer Frenchie, which could well have been the inspiration for Madeline Kahn's "Blazing Saddles" character, Lili Von Schtupp. Written by Mark Thompson <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


THE GREATEST CAST EVER CORRALLED for a frontier drama like you've NEVER seen in all your born days! See more »


Comedy | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cidade Turbulenta  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The role of Tom Destry was originally intended for Gary Cooper, but he wanted more money than the producers were willing to pay him. It was then offered to James Stewart, who took it. See more »


When Destry first demonstrates his ability with a firearm by shooting at the knobs on the sign, he shoots a total of seven times. Although he is holding two Colt "Six-shooters", one in each hand, he fires only the pistol he holds in his right hand. Thus, he fired one round more than the gun could hold. See more »


Washington Dimsdale: Frenchy, am I really Sheriff?
Frenchy: Sure you are!
Washington Dimsdale: Then I'm off the liquor. A man's got to choose between the bottle and the badge.
See more »


Referenced in House Calls: The Weatherbys Ride Again (1982) See more »


Roth's Dream
Written by Aleth Hansen
See more »

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User Reviews

Western comedy with George Marshall's inspired direction
25 May 2010 | by See all my reviews

A peaceful and milksop cowboy named Johnnny performed by James Stewart cleans up an uncontrollably lawless Western town called Bottleneck . The mild Johnny is appointed as deputy by the drunk but crusading sheriff well played by Charles Winninger . These were the adventures , fighting , laughing and brawling from Tombstone to Bottleneck . The film starts with a label captioning ¨ Welcome to Bottleneck ¨ and a traveling leads to a Saloon called ¨ Last Dance ¨ where rules the powerful nasty played by Brian Donlevy . There James Stewart/Johnny meets Frenchie/Marlene Dietrich . Johnny makes Marlene change her brand . A hard-boiled Dietrich with a difference -rouged but rugged- who fights , yells, yodels her way , sharp-nailed to love.

This is a classic Hollywood Western , it turns out to be a mixture of action , fights, shootouts and humor. Lovely acting of Marlene Dietrich as the impulsive Saloon girl, she sings on the bar vintage songs as ¨ See what the boys in the back room will have ¨ and ¨ Little Joe the wrangler ¨ by Frederick Hollander and Frank Loesser and musical score by Frank Skinner. Dietrich , in her post-Stemberg moment , was labeled as Box-Office poison but this brawling Western turned her movie career all around the world and became her a hot actress again . James Stewart ideally cast as unarmed sheriff shows his usual delicious fair play for comedy , in a similar interpretation to ¨ Mr. Smith goes to Washington ¨ who recently starred. This spirited realization that never flags results to be a potpourri of Western , comedy , irony and action .

This is the second of four adaptations based on the novel by Max Brand , the first was titled by American exhibitors as ¨ Justice rides again (1932) ¨ with Tom Mix and the third version released in 1951 under title ¨ Frenchie ¨ and fourth take on exhibited in 1954 also directed by George Marshall with Eddie Murphy and Marie Blanchard in similar characters to James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich.

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