6.5/10
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40 user 19 critic

The Left Handed Gun (1958)

Approved | | Western | 17 May 1958 (USA)
After his employer is murdered by rival cattlemen, a troubled and uneducated young cowboy vows revenge on the murderers,

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Congdon ...
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John Dierkes ...
McSween
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Hill (as Bob Anderson)
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Deputy Moon
Ainslie Pryor ...
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Paul Smith ...
Smith
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Pete Maxwell
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Storyline

William Bonney - Billy the Kid - gets a job with a cattleman known as 'The Englishman,' and is befriended by the peaceful, religious man. But when a crooked sheriff and his men murder the Englishman because he plans to supply the local Army fort with his beef, Billy decides to avenge the death by killing the four men responsible, throwing the lives of everyone around him - Tom and Charlie, two hands he worked with; Pat Garrett, who is about to be married; and the kindly Mexican couple who take him in when he's in trouble - into turmoil, and endangering the General Amnesty set up by Governor Wallace to bring peace to the New Mexico Territory. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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All of a sudden, just for the kicks Billy would slip down to Mexico. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 May 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Billy the Kid  »

Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Newman was widely felt to be miscast as Billy the Kid since at 33 he was considerably older than the character. Billy was supposed to be 18 at the beginning of the film. See more »

Goofs

The "Englishman" describes his origins as from Ayrshire, a county in South West Scotland. In that case he would be a Scot and not English. See more »

Quotes

Pat Garrett: [about the fragility of the amnesty] One shot - one ten cent bullet, and that's it!
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Connections

Featured in Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
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User Reviews

 
This movie was terrible....and it's one of Newman's few misfires.
25 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

When the film began, I suddenly had very low hopes for it. That's because the opening tune was simply horrible--with bad lyrics and a cheesy quality that made me cringe. However, I assumed it would get a lot better. After all, almost anything Paul Newman did is well worth seeing (other than his first film, "The Silver Chalice"--which Newman himself often mocked when asked about it). Well, while this isn't as bad as "The Silver Chalice", it is pretty bad.

The biggest problem with the film is the direction. It seems that instead of making a simple western, the actors had been told to act as if they were at a workshop given by The Actor's Studio--and each of them was trying to out-emote each other. Imagine a film where EVERYONE is method acting and all trying to do it more broadly and noticeably than the last guy! Subtle, it was not--in fact, it was seriously funny at times. There were just so many scenes that were overacted horribly. I especially loved the death scenes and when folks got mad because they REALLY died spectacularly or got insanely angry! I especially loved Pat Garrett's (John Dehner) reactions in the film--they were downright funny.

The other big problem is that as a historical piece, the film bore no resemblance to reality! Like a lot of bad westerns, this one purports to be about an infamous western bandit (in this case, Billy the Kid) but isn't his life in the least. And, combined with the crap acting and direction, the film is just a complete mess. So, unless you like bad films or have no taste at all, steer clear of this one. Even with Newman, it's a dog.


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