Johnny Guitar (1954)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Western  |  27 May 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 10,589 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 106 user | 71 critic | 4 from

A strong willed female saloon owner is wrongly suspected of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob, when she helps a wounded gang member.



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Complete credited cast:
John McIvers
Ben Cooper ...
Turkey Ralston
Marshal Williams
Mr. Andrews
Ian MacDonald ...


Vienna has built a saloon outside of town, and she hopes to build her own town once the railroad is put through, but the townsfolk want her gone. When four men hold up a stagecoach and kill a man the town officials, led by Emma Small, come to the saloon to grab four of Vienna's friends, the Dancin' Kid and his men. Vienna stands strong against them, and is aided by the presence of an old acquaintance of hers, Johnny Guitar, who is not what he seems. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Gun-Queen of the Arizona Frontier ! . . . and her kind of men !!!


Drama | Western


Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

27 May 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Johnny Guitare  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


In scenes where the horses rode near a waterfall, they were fitted with blinders. The animals were so afraid of the waterfall that they wouldn't go near it without the blinders on. See more »


In the beginning of the film, when Johnny Guitar passes by the miners riding, his shadow is projected to his left side. In the next shot it is projected to his right side. See more »


Vienna: I intend to be buried here - in the 20th century!
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Referenced in Videoclub (2013) See more »


Old Joe Clark
Played on the guitar by Sterling Hayden (dubbed)
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User Reviews

Color, Color, Everywhere!
9 September 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

This deservedly legendary western has to be seen to be believed. Directed by Nicholas Ray in blazing color, courtesy of Harry Stradling, Jr., it's western featuring the rivalry between two women, Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge, as they quarrel over two men, Sterling Hayden and Scott Brady, and shake things up in the Old West, Hollywood style, 1954. The film is for all practical purposes experimental. Ray is indulging himself in color, composition and space, nudging the viewer toward laughter at every twist and turn of its convoluted plot. As a purely visual exercise the film is a rousing success. Although Victor Young's music is nice, and the late Peggy Lee does a good job with the title tune, this one's better with the sound off. It is a movie to see, to experience, and very hard to discuss. Lord knows, I've tried. If you can make sense out of it, I'll buy you dinner. My best guess is that Ray was taking all the aspects of film that are traditionally ancillary and incidental, and putting them ahead of everything else. What I like most about Johnny Guitar is the way Joan Crawford's saloon is designed, the undergound cave, the waterfall, the cabin on top of the hill, the moments of intimacy and emotion as they occur in these places, and how the viewer is encouraged to suspend his disbelief of what the story is about and give into his emotions, as the characters give into theirs', and let the devil take the hindmost. Ray succeeded marvelously here, as there's nothing else quite like this one; and the movies in general as far as I'm concerned are still lagging behind it, by several decades.

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