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Billy the Kid (1941)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Western | 30 May 1941 (USA)
In 1880 New Mexico, during a feud between cattle growers, former childhood friends Billy the Kid and Jim Sherwood end-up working for opposite sides.


, (uncredited)


(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Howard ...
Dan Hickey
'Spike' Hudson
Tim Ward
Ed Bronson (as Guinn Williams)
Cass McAndrews - Sheriff
'Buz' Cobb
Frank Conlan ...
Judge Blake
Pedro Gonzales
Mitchell Lewis ...
Bart Hodges
Dick Curtis ...
Kirby Claxton
Ed Shanahan


Billy Bonney is a hot-headed gunslinger who narrowly skirts a life of crime by being befriended and hired by a peaceful rancher, Eric Keating. When Keating is killed, Billy seeks revenge on the men who killed him, even if it means opposing his friend, Marshal Jim Sherwood. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


BULLETS...HIS ONLY LAW! REVENGE... HIS ONLY RULE! (original ad - all caps) See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Billy, el Niño  »

Box Office


$1,411,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Right-handed Robert Taylor spent weeks perfecting his ability to draw a gun with his left hand in preparation for this film. Ironically it was later revealed that the infamous photo of Billy the Kid with a gun in his left hand was mirrored and the famous outlaw was in fact right handed. See more »


Jim 'Holy' Sherwood: On the level, Billy. You ought to get off the bottle.
Billy: Bottle? I've never been drunk in my life.
Jim 'Holy' Sherwood: I don't mean liquor. I mean another kind of bottle - excitement... phony adventure. It's no good, Billy.
See more »


Version of Billy the Kid's Gun Justice (1940) See more »


Lazy Acres
Written by Ormond Ruthven (as Ormond B. Ruthven)
Played and sung by members of the Pickard family and John Raitt (uncredited) at the party
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User Reviews

The movie follows partially the events about William Bonney and the Lincoln County War
7 July 2008 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

This early film follows the exciting life of Billy Bonney . This is an interesting but flawed Western . With Robert Taylor in title role , in one of his first movies , and Donlevy as his friend and later marshal , but the movie fails to gel overall . Robert Taylor as the title character gives a decent performance . Right-handed Robert Taylor spent weeks perfecting his ability to draw a gun with his left hand in preparation for this film . Brian Donlevy as an alike-Pat Garrett is good , and Ian Hunter who plays a look-alike to Tunstall ; although some acting seem badly dated today . Sweeping and glimmer cinematography by William L. Skall . Great musical score by David Snell , including Mexican songs almost make you forget the screenplay ain't so hot . The director David Miller creates some fine action scenes , he posteriorly directed a classic Western, 'Lonely are the brave' .

Other known films about this legendary outlaw were the followings : 'Billy the Kid(1930)' by King Vidor with John Mack Brown and Wallace Beery; 'The left-handed gun (1958)' by Arthur Penn with Paul Newman; 'Pat Garret and Billy the Kid (1973)' by Sam Peckinpah; 'Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid' with Val Kilmer ; 'Young Guns(1988)' by Christopher Cain with Emilio Estevez ; and 'Young Guns 2(1990)' by Geoff Murphy.

The picture was partially based on real events . The actual deeds are the followings : The most famous outlaw-gunslinger of the South-west , Billy the Kid was known by several names, but mostly as William Bonney . Believed have been born in New York City , Billy moved west with his family and eventually became a cowboy in Lincoln county, New Mexico, for cattleman J.H. Tunstall (in the movie similar role played by Ian Hunter) . In February 1878 Tunstall was killed by a cattle rival (played by Gene Lockhart) and this started the Lincoln County war, in which Billy played a leading part and was one of the group that shot dead Sheriff Brady . After his preceptor has been murdered he seeks vengeance for his death . He became an outlaw with a price on his head. Pat Garret(named in the film as Sherwood and played by Brian Donlevy), a former friend of the Kid, was elected sheriff of Lincoln County and set out to capture the young outlaw . He caught him and sentenced to be hanged. But Bill, although shackled hand and foot, managed to escape from jail by shooting dead the two deputies guarding him . Garrett went after him again and on 15 July 1881 tracked him at Fort Sumner, and there shot him dead by surprise in a darkened room.

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