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Winchester '73 (1950)

 -  Western  -  12 July 1950 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 10,182 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 42 critic

The journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another parallels a cowboy's search for a murderous fugitive.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Winchester '73 (1950)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Dan Duryea ...
Waco Johnny Dean
Stephen McNally ...
...
High Spade
Charles Drake ...
...
...
...
...
John Alexander ...
Steve Brodie ...
James Millican ...
Abner Biberman ...
...
Doan (as Anthony Curtis)
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Storyline

In a marksmanship contest, Lin McAdam wins a prized Winchester rifle, which is immediately stolen by the runner-up, Dutch Henry Brown. This "story of a rifle" then follows McAdams' pursuit, and the rifle as it changes hands, until a final showdown and shoot-out on a rocky mountain precipice. Written by Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Montana Winchester  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the laserdisc and DVD, James Stewart gives audio commentary about the making of the movie. It was the only such commentary he ever did. See more »

Goofs

When Lin was chasing Dutch at the end and they had just left Tascosa, they were riding through the desert full of Saguaro cactus which are native to Arizona. Tascosa is in the Texas pan handle near Amarillo. See more »

Quotes

Lola Manners: You never know when a girl might need a bullet.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's opening prologue states: This is a story of the Winchester Rifle Model 1873 "The gun that won the West" To cowman, outlaw, peace officer or soldier, the Winchester '73 was a treasured possession. An Indian would sell his soul to own one... See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Travels of a Magnificent Rifle
17 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1942 a film TALES OF MANHATTAN told a set of stories that were basically unrelated, but tied together with a suit of men's evening wear. Each story began when the "tails" were passed from one owner (Charles Boyer, for instance) to another (Ceasar Romero). WINCHESTER '73, a superior film, and a great western, has a similar plot twist. Initially it is about how Jimmy Stewart is seeking Stephen (Horace) MacMahon for some deadly grudge. But in the course of the film the two men get into a shooting contest, the prize (given by Marshall Wyatt Earp - Will Geer) being one of the new Winchester rifles. Stewart barely beats out MacMahon, but the gun is stolen from Stewart, and the chase is on.

The gun passes from hand to hand, including John McIntyre (as an arrogant trader who fatally does not know when to stop being arrogant), to Rock Hudson (in a surprising role - and a brief one at that), to Charles Drake, to Dan Duryea (as the delightfully deadly and psychotic Waco Johnny Dean), to MacMahon. Eventually it does return to Stewart.

The film is expertly directed by Anthony Mann. Every character has a wide variety of experiences. Duryea gets the rifle literally over Drake's dead body (Duryea forces the issue). But he loses it to MacMahon, who is faster on the draw - not that Duryea is stupid enough to fight for the rifle. As he and Shelley Winter look at MacMahon in the distance, Winter (who watched Duryea kill her former boy friend Drake) drops her distaste for the gunman momentarily to ask why he put up with MacMahon's bullying for the gun. Philosophically, Duryea explains he can wait. Some opportunity will come up later on (i.e., when he can safely kill MacMahon and get back the rifle).

The characters are remarkably human. Winters first appears as the future bride of Drake, but she sees a really big negative side to him - an unforgivable side. Drake is aware of this lapse, and it helps lead to his destruction. Other characters have realistic touches, such as J.C. Flippen as an army sergeant who fights an Indian attack with Steward and Steward's friend Millard Mitchell. Oh yes, and with Flippen's fellow soldier - Tony Curtis. Flippen makes one believe this soldier has been on a hundred battlefields before, since 1861 probably. Steward had showed emotions in other films. In IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE he showed a degree of anger at times, and also a near nervous breakdown when he thinks everything is wrong with his life. But here he showed a demonic anger - at the expense of a surprised Duryea (who normally would show such anger himself).

The parts of this film fit very neatly together, under Mann's competent hands. This is one western that never wears out, as the audience watches the travels of a Winchester rifle.


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