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The Left Handed Gun (1958)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,355 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 17 critic

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:
...
Lita Milan ...
...
Hurd Hatfield ...
Moultrie
James Congdon ...
Charlie Boudre
...
Tom Folliard
Colin Keith-Johnston ...
John Dierkes ...
McSween
Robert Anderson ...
Hill (as Bob Anderson)
Wally Brown ...
Deputy Moon
Ainslie Pryor ...
Joe Grant
Martin Garralaga ...
Saval
...
Paul Smith ...
Smith
Nestor Paiva ...
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

Plot Keywords:

amnesty | sheriff | revenge | murder | death | See more »

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 September 1958 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Billy the Kid  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

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. See more »

Goofs

The film is about western outlaw Billy the Kid, who was in fact right-handed. See more »

Quotes

McSween: [about the murdered Tunstall] Lord God, this was a quiet man. He lived the way a man ought to live. He did not lie. He did not hurt. He listened to any man who spoke to him.
See more »

Connections

Version of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Written by Augustus Montague Toplady
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User Reviews

 
Good for fans of Newman and Old West history.
22 November 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Not bad "psychological Western" based on Gore Vidal's take on the Billy the Kid story, written for the big screen by Leslie Stevens (of 'The Outer Limits' fame). Arthur Penn, director of such future classics as "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Little Big Man", makes his feature film directorial debut here, with Paul Newman in the role of Billy, taken in by kindly English gentleman / rancher Tunstall (Colin Keith-Johnston). He forms enough of a bond with this father figure to react with rage when the man is gunned down by his rivals, drawing two of his fellow ranch hands, Tom Folliard (James Best) and Charlie Boudre (James Congdon) into the ensuing drama. Newman may indeed have been too old for the role, but still creates a convincing enough portrayal of a man whose fate was determined early on and continues to maintain a wild child sort of personality. Unfortunately, things are destined to never go smoothly, as even when amnesty is granted by Gov. Wallace, Billy cannot leave well enough alone, and eventually damages his friendly relationship with easygoing Pat Garrett (John Dehner). With the exception of Garrett, none of the other roles are exactly what one would consider fleshed out, although the cast is solid right down the line, with Hurd Hatfield of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" fame cast as Jed Moultrie, the most interesting character of them all, the man intent on creating the Billy the Kid legend and then, ultimately, ending it. While the movie does drag in parts, it is indeed noteworthy for its attempt to put some sort of human face on a notorious real life personage, and it has quite a brooding quality for the duration - the low key finish is a literal portrayal of its underlying darkness. Best and Congdon, both highly exuberant, are amusing as Billy's sidekicks; one can even see hints of Best's future Roscoe P. Coltrane performance in one comedic sequence. Striking Lita Milan makes a pretty good impression as the young Mexican wife whose relationship with Billy only adds to his problems. Particularly strong among the supporting actors is the distinctively featured John Dierkes as the calm, caring McSween who tries to keep Billy under control. You'll also notice Best's future 'Dukes of Hazzard' co-star Denver Pyle as the character Ollinger. While the movie begins on a somewhat shaky note with that treacly theme song, it soon finds its footing and makes for compelling viewing. Previously filmed for the 'Philco Television Playhouse' series as 'The Death of Billy the Kid', which also starred Newman. Seven out of 10.


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