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The Naked Spur (1953)

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A bounty hunter trying to bring a murderer to justice is forced to accept the help of two less-than-trustworthy strangers.


Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:


Howard Kemp is a bounty hunter who's been after killer Ben Vandergroat for a long time. Along the way, Kemp is forced to take on a couple of partners, an old prospector named Jesse Tate and a dishonorably discharged Union soldier, Roy Anderson. When they learn that Vandergroat has a $5000 reward on his head, greed starts to take the better of them. Vandergroat takes every advantage of the situation sowing doubt between the two men at every opportunity finally convincing one of them to help him escape. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Packed with Technicolor Thrills!


Thriller | Western


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 June 1953 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

El precio de un hombre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Finnish register number #39090 delivered on 22-9-1953. See more »


In the opening sequence when Jesse Tate turns to face Howard Kemp, in one shot (from behind him) his hands are low (behind him). In the next shot from behind Kemp, Jesse's hands are raised. See more »


Jesse Tate: [Expressing initial reluctance to accompany Kemp] Trail's as plain to you as it is to me!
See more »


Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: James Stewart (2011) See more »


Beautiful Dreamer
Composed by Stephen Foster (1864)
Instrumental version integrated into soundtrack
See more »

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User Reviews

On Ryan's Express
26 July 2008 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Looking at the IMDb "Awards" link will reveal this outstanding Anthony Mann western was nominated for a single "Academy Award", for the "Story and Screenplay" by Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom. The story (and much about the film) is excellent. Certainly, the writers deserved recognition for the intriguing story, and complex characters. But, to see "The Naked Spur" was not nominated for "Best Color Cinematography" is shocking. William Mellor's photography is truly superior. Perhaps, they felt one nomination was enough for a movie about greed...

James Stewart (as Howard Kemp), Janet Leigh (as Lina Patch), Robert Ryan (as Ben Vandergroat), Ralph Meeker (as Roy Anderson), and Millard Mitchell (as Jesse Tate) are an outstanding Colorado quintet. With Mann and Mellor directing, the small cast appears sprawling. Of the five, Mr. Ryan's intensely malevolent "Ben" reigns supreme; it's difficult to envision "The Naked Spur" without Ryan's psychological thorn throwing. Recipient Stewart is also at his best. The other three are great; though, more should have been to done develop and/or explain the relationship. Leigh had/has with Ryan and Stewart; she is underused. That, and a couple of continuity and/or editing problems may distract, slightly. We shouldn't be to be too greedy about great movies, after all.

********* The Naked Spur (2/6/53) Anthony Mann ~ James Stewart, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Ralph Meeker

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