82 user 41 critic

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Western | 30 May 1957 (USA)
2:08 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Lawman Wyatt Earp and outlaw Doc Holliday form an unlikely alliance which culminates in their participation in the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.



(screenplay), (suggested by an article by)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A marshal tries to bring the son of an old friend, an autocratic cattle baron, to justice for the rape and murder of his wife.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones
Vera Cruz (1954)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the Mexican Rebellion of 1866, an unsavory group of American adventurers are hired by the forces of Emporer Maximilian to escort a countess to Vera Cruz.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Denise Darcel
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An arrogant Texas millionaire hires four adventurers to rescue his kidnapped wife from a notorious Mexican bandit.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Western retelling the tale of the Shoot-out at the OK Corral.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature
The Tin Star (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A cynical former sheriff turned bounty hunter helps a young, recently appointed acting sheriff with his advice, his experience and his gun.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Henry Fonda, Anthony Perkins, Betsy Palmer
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A one-handed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a town boss confiscates homesteader's supplies after gold is discovered nearby, a tough cowboy risks his life to try and get it to them.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Rock Hudson, Arthur Kennedy
Shane (1953)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A self-minded adventurer (Jeff Webster) locks horns with a crooked lawman (Mr. Gannon) while driving cattle to Dawson.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet
Elmer Gantry (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy
Broken Arrow (1950)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Tom Jeffords tries to make peace between settlers and Apaches.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget


Cast overview, first billed only:
Cotton Wilson
Charles Bassett
Shanghai Pierce (as Ted DeCorsia)
John Hudson ...


After a long career as a lawman that made him a legend, Wyatt Earp decides to quit and join his brothers in Tombstone, Arizona. There he would see them in a feud with the Clantons, a local clan of thugs and cattle thieves. When the showdown becomes inevitable, the help will come from Doc Holliday, a terminally-ill gambler who happens to be another Wild West legend. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Fiery Brilliance of 8 Great Stars... The Double-Barreled Excitement of 2 Mighty Action Spectacles! See more »


Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 May 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hall Wallis' Production of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although various articles list Stuart Lake's 1931 book Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshall as an additional source text for the film, the book is not credited in the SAB or any contemporary reviews. See more »


The film has Wyatt drinking whiskey like the rest of the guys. The real Wyatt Earp was noted for his teetotal lifestyle which he rarely deviated from. See more »


Cotton Wilson: There's $20,000 in it for you - cash!
Wyatt Earp: $20,000! The wages of sin are rising!
Cotton Wilson: $20,00 against a six foot hole in Boot Hill or a $20 a month pension - IF you live long enough to collect it.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Operation Double 007 (1993) See more »


Kingdom Coming
(1862) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Clay Work
Arranged by Jack Hayes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"A Law Bigger'n Any In The Book - Family Pride"
4 December 2000 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

One of Hollywood's major offerings of 1957, "Gunfight" contains all the ingredients one would expect of a blockbuster - big stars, big budget and a storyline calculated to capture the public's imagination. For me, however, the film doesn't quite work. In the final analysis, the whole thing is a little too sluggish, a little too formulaic.

To be sure, it contains fine things. Burt Lancaster is stolid and unyielding as hard lawman Wyatt Earp. Sturges films him with the camera at ground level as he rides onto the screen, making him seem superhuman in his larger-than-life moral certainty. He faces down the armed drunk without the faintest twitch of fear, the embodiment of a strong, righteous enforcer of the law. The friendship between the paragon and the wastrel is cleverly done, with Earp and Holliday (Kirk Douglas) each seeing something to admire in the other, very different, man. Character is also to the fore as a plot-driver when Kate Fisher (Jo Van Fleet) is forced by the dynamics of her relationship with the Doc into ever more wretched behaviour. By comparison, the Earp-Laura love story is cold and staid. Both Lancaster and Rhonda Fleming are terrific to look at, but hard to warm to. Though the film takes an eternity to get to the shoot-out which is its raison d'etre, when the climax finally comes the suspense is built superbly. In a nice symmetry, we see the women of both sides dreading the fatal clash as Ma Clanton and Virgil's wife separately mourn the departure of their respective menfolk. Douglas made a career out of playing generous-spirited bad guys, and one of the best things in this film is Doc Holliday's heroic effort of will, rising from his sickbed to stand beside his friend in the face of mortal danger. Shot in a rich Technicolor palette, the film's images are strong and clean, and at times even beautiful, for example the barn fire, or the approach of the Earp faction, with Cotton standing facing them, his body framed by the corral building.

Other elements are not so well done. Wyatt is too unrelenting a hard man to win the audience's unqualified sympathy, as in the scene when he tells the all-too-human Cotton, "If you can't handle it any more, turn in your badge." The Frankie Laine ballad, almost de rigeur in 1950's westerns, is simply not up to scratch ("Boot Hill, Boot Hill, so cold, so still ...") There is an ugly shadow eclipsing Ike Clanton's face throughout his most important scene. Billy (a very young Dennis Hopper) is 'converted' by Wyatt far too easily.

There exists a wide spectrum of opinion on the question of how loyal a work of fiction should remain to the historical event which inspired it. One camp would argue that the artist has total freedom to rework a popular legend such as The Gunfight, while the other extremity would insist on documentary accuracy. This film is interesting, in that it takes a well-known incident for which contemporaneous records abound, and virtually disregards the historical truth.

In the film, the decent, clean-shaven Earp boys are merely 'doing what a man has to do'. We know that the Clanton-McLaury gang is mean and duplicitous, and that there will have to be a showdown between Right and Wrong. The shoot-out, when it comes, happens over several minutes of time on a clear, bright day. There is an athletic battle of movement, with the Earps in particular manoeuvring for position, and finally trapping the Clantons in and around a burning wagon. The strategic intentions of the good guys are clear and easy to follow.

The reality of October 26, 1881 was quite different. Two gangs of walrus-mustachioed men confronted each other, standing face-to-face in a built-up street. The shooting lasted a maximum of 30 seconds, and when the smoke cleared, three of the so-called "cowboy faction" lay dead or mortally wounded, whereas the Earp faction sustained only minor wounds. Wyatt was totally unharmed. Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne, two of the cowboy leaders, had in fact run away when the guns opened fire.

This was no tussle between Good and Evil. Wyatt Earp was not a US Marshall, as the film tries to insist. He was Virgil's assistant with purely local authority, little more than his brother's pinch-hitter. Doc Holliday held no office of any kind. This was a clash between two Americas

  • the Earps representing the urban, northern, republican culture which had

won the Civil War, while the Clantons stood for the freebooting, democratic, open-range mentality whose sympathies lay with the vanquished South.

A motion picture has a span of something like 90 minutes in which to set out its stall. Perhaps such a narrow intellectual space imposes so many constrictions that the true flavour of a historic event can never be properly represented. Or maybe the limitations of the medium set the film-maker free to create a better, more poetic "reality". I don't know the answer. There probably isn't one.

27 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Who had the better career, Douglas or Lancaster?? binaryg
Who's the best in the role of Doc Holliday? manuelhruizg
Best Western or Second Best Western Ever Whiterim
Most historically accurate film about OK Corral moewadle
Why no mustache? jtbuzz-1
music soundtrack - sounds familiar! wilboluwd
Discuss Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: