Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinergaroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Kentucky (1938)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Romeo and Juliet story set amidst horse racing in Kentucky. The family feud of lovers Jack and Sally goes back to the Civil War and is kept alive by her Uncle Peter.

Director: David Butler
Stars: Loretta Young, Richard Greene, Walter Brennan
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An ambitious lumberjack abandons his saloon girl lover so that he can marry into wealth, but years later becomes infatuated with the woman's daughter.

Directors: Howard Hawks, William Wyler, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Edward Arnold, Joel McCrea, Frances Farmer
Drama | War | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The pacifist attitude of a Quaker family is tested as a result of the American Civil War.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, Anthony Perkins
Comedy | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A good-natured saddle tramp traveling with his sidekick, is mistaken for a ruthless outlaw with a price on his head.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Gary Cooper, Loretta Young, William Demarest
The Letter (1940)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson
Sergeant York (1941)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A hillbilly sharpshooter drafted in WW1 despite his claim to be a pacifist, who ends up becoming a war hero.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 1885, a Texas Ranger travels to Canada to arrest a trapper who's wanted for murder and who's stirring up the Natives in a rebellion against the Canadian government.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll, Paulette Goddard
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo rides into town to find his true love, who doesn't want to see him. He hasn't come looking for trouble, but trouble finds him around every corner.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell
Dodsworth (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A retired auto manufacturer and his wife take a long-planned European vacation only to find that they want very different things from life.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Paul Lukas
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a beautiful socialite masquerades as a maid, she becomes involved with an unpretentious, plain-spoken cowboy who's unaware of her true identity.

Directors: H.C. Potter, Stuart Heisler, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Gary Cooper, Merle Oberon, Patsy Kelly
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Doris Davenport ...
Jane Ellen Mathews
Fred Stone ...
Caliphet Mathews
...
Wade Harper
Paul Hurst ...
Chickenfoot
...
Southeast
...
...
Hod Johnson
...
Mort Borrow
...
Shad Wilkins
...
King Evans
Lucien Littlefield ...
The Stranger
Edit

Storyline

Cole Harden just doesn't look like a horse thief, Jane-Ellen Matthews tells Judge Roy Bean as she steps up to the bar. Cole says he can't take it with him as he empties all of his coins on the bar to buy drinks for the jury. He notices two big pictures of Lily Langtry behind the bar. Sure, Cole has met the Jersey Lily, whom the hanging judge adores, even has a lock of her hair. Hanging is delayed for two weeks, giving Cole time to get in the middle of a range war between cattlemen and homesteaders and to still be around when Lily Langtry, former mistress of Edward VII who became an international actress, arrives in Texas. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Outlawed! But fighting for an empire! Era of flaming feuds and new frontiers! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le cavalier du désert  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is the first of five roles for Walter Brennan in support of Gary Cooper. The last was Task Force (1949) in 1949. See more »

Goofs

The farmers were portrayed as having filed homesteads to acquire their land in Texas when, in reality, there were no homesteaders in Texas. Because Texas, an independent republic, joined the Union in l845 with full statehood status from the beginning and never went through territorial status, there was never any federal government-owned land in the state to be open under the Homestead Act. See more »

Quotes

Judge Roy W. Bean: Mr. Harden, it's my duty to inform you that the larceny of an equine is a capital offense punishable by death, but you can rest assured that in this court, a horse thief always gets a fair trial before he's hung.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "After the Civil War, America, in the throes of rebirth, set its face West where the land was free. First came the cattlemen and with them "Judge" Roy Bean, who took the law into his own hands, administering justice according to his lights. That he left his impress on the history of Texas is tribute to his greatness. Then into his stronghold moved another army, the homesteaders, who ploughed the soil, fenced in fields, to bring security to their wives and children. War was inevitable, a war out of which grew the Texas of today." See more »

Connections

Featured in The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Classic Western about a range war with drifter Cooper defending homesteaders against judge Brennan
11 October 2011 | by See all my reviews

This is an outdoor epic about land war in which director William Wyler offers us a solid, absorbent and entertaining film . "The Westerner" is an intense and rewarding western , which is filmed on location in Arizona. Nominated for 3 Oscars (actor cast, art direction and original screenplay), won one (for Walter Brennan who sparkles as judge who dispenses frontier justice in the days of wild west). The film explores the tensions and fights faced by the old farmers and new settlers landowners engaged in the operation of small farms, erected through the efforts of their work . It focuses on the conflicting interests of the two groups, their diverse working methods , struggles and different visions of the country and world . Within this scenario is the showdown among two two antagonists , a drifter addicted to freedom named "Cole Harden¨ (featured by an unforgettable Cooper), a sly , soft spoken cowboy who champions Texas border homesteaders in a range war , Cole is a former outlaw and become socially integrated while legendary Judge Roy Bean (Brennan's Academy Award was his third playing a shrew piece of villainy) known as ¨The law west of the Pecos ¨ sentences Hardin hang as a horse thief . Cole then falls for damsel Jane Ellen (Doris Davenport) and stays in the area advocating for the rights of homesteaders ; Cole has to have an ending confrontation with the judge . With these characters, the film explores the misery and the greatness of the human condition. Gary Cooper was 39 years when he played in this movie and he was a very famous player . The film gave Cooper one of the best of his laconic , strong characters as the cowboy caught among opposing factions ; in other hand Walter Brennan composing the reply and gives a role of cruel judge but that is nice , capable at the same time, being brutal and relentlessly hanging whatever suspect . The film describes the institutional and administrative instability that prevails in wide zones of western border, underscores the friendship, companionship, honesty, sense of adventure, enterprise and justice sentence drills by unscrupulous and dishonest people.The narrative is vivid and vibrant. The story is presented polished, stylish and free of nonessential items. The dialogues are sharp and funny, peppered with humor. The film includes spectacular scenes, fast-paced and iconography amalgam of the old silent westerns with romantic references characteristic of modern western.It's also a comedy, Brennan and Cooper have a fun relationship during the first half hour of the movie, you think we will soon lead to a happy ending, which ultimately will result but one of the two dead. Furthermore, movie debuts of actors Dana Andrews and Forrest Tucker. William Wyler exceed film genres and built an excellent film from the first minutes the feeling of coherence and emphasis that produces the majority of which went over his career.

Amazing cinematography by Cregg Toland (citizen Kane) places an emphasis on the realism of the action and splendid frames , which is one of the best things of the movie, with spectacular scenes as the fire. Emotive and stirring musical score by the classic Dimitri Tiomkin . Wyler looking camera concealed positions that sees without being seen observed with curiosity and interest and look for the pleasure of seeing. The film, made by a young Wyler (37 years) is solid, absorbing and entertaining.There are moments, like burning down crops that technically is wonderful . Some rides from Cooper or fighting in the middle of the country , so are scenes impossible to forget.

The Bean 's role is based on actual events as Roy Bean (1825-1903) was a near-illiterate frontier justice of the peace who ran a combined court-saloon in the tiny railroad hamlet of Langtry in the West Texas desert between the River Pecos and the Rio Grande . He was known as the ¨Lay west of the Pecos¨ . He was running a saloon in a tent-town for railroad builders called Vinegaroon . Ben , backed by the Texas Rangers and the railroad , was appointed Justice of the peace , although he had never studied law . He managed to keep the peace with a strange brand of common and rough sense , often basing his ruling on a single law book . The stories about him are legion, most apocryphal . The fines usually stayed in his pocket and he acquitted accused on condition that he buy a round of drinks for the boys . The law of the Pecos was a law unto himself . He got himself elected Langtry's justice of the peace , holding court in his crude saloon called the ¨Jersey Lily¨ where he lived till his death in 1903 . In 1896 he brought fame to Langtry by staging the Fitzsmmons-Peter Maher heavyweight-boxing championship. He also performed marriages , ending the short ceremony with the worlds ¨I Roy Bean , justice of the peace , hereby pronounce man and wife . May God have mercy on your souls¨. Bean's ¨Jersey Lily¨ has been preserved by the Texas Highway Department and is now a tourist attraction.


8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Doris Davenport bjguilfoyle
fight scene luigimarchini
A very odd film, well acted thirsch-2
Rub O' The Brush scarver-1
Gregg Toland and William Wyler - genius jymn-365-224576
The cinematography Peterlh
Discuss The Westerner (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?