The Left Handed Gun (1958)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  6 June 1958 (Japan)
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Reviews: 38 user | 19 critic

After his employer is murdered by rival cattlemen, a troubled and uneducated young cowboy vows revenge on the murderers,



(screenplay), (play)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lita Milan ...
James Congdon ...
Colin Keith-Johnston ...
John Dierkes ...
Robert Anderson ...
Hill (as Bob Anderson)
Wally Brown ...
Deputy Moon
Ainslie Pryor ...
Martin Garralaga ...
Paul Smith ...
Nestor Paiva ...
Pete Maxwell


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


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Release Date:

6 June 1958 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Billy the Kid  »

Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cinematic directorial debut of Arthur Penn. See more »


Billy and the others are at a lake. You see the reflection of the moon in the water. One of them shouts "the moon" and they start shooting the reflection of the moon. When the camera zooms out, you see Billy and his pals are facing the camera, so the moon was in their back all the time. Hence there couldn't have been a reflection of the moon. See more »


Moultrie: [to Billy] What is it? What's wrong? You all right? You're not like the books! You don't wear silver studs! You don't stand up to glory! You're not him!
Moultrie: You're not him! You're not him!
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Version of Billy the Kid (1941) See more »


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

It Ain't Hud
27 June 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

I wonder what the mature Paul Newman thought of this early movie performance. Of course, 'mature' is a relative term since he's already 33 here, well beyond the 'kid' range. In my little book, it's the most mannered and misdirected acting of his long and distinguished career. It's almost like he's working at an excess of James Dean. That wouldn't be surprising since the screenplay's Billy comes across as more misunderstood youth than cold-blooded killer. I guess this is the first of director Penn's efforts at rehabilitating notorious American outlaws, leading up to the glossy Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

The movie itself is pretty good, the open range locations even looking like eastern New Mexico, while Penn uses them to good effect. But it's really James Best as the ill-fated henchman Tom who steals the film. His supporting role manages a certain poignancy that should have come from Billy, but doesn't. With the right breaks, I think Best could have carved a real niche in films. Speaking of supporting players, with the exception of the cartoonish Moultrie (Hatfield), they appear recruited from the many TV Westerns of the day, especially the familiar Denver Pyle and the classy John Dehner.

Penn establishes himself here as a moviemaker to watch with a number of nice touches— having Pyle squint into the sun just before the fateful moment, the lone boot left standing in the road, and others. I'm kind of sorry that the baby-faced Audie Murphy didn't get a shot at Billy's role. Visually, he's perfect. Plus, surprisingly for that boyish appearance, he could do a killer-stare to make you believe he killed 100 Germans during the war. Also, Murphy could have made that key facedown scene with Joe Bell (Pryor) as genuinely chilling as it should be. For whatever the charming Newman's considerable skills, being downright mean is not one of them. Anyway the movie remains an interesting entry on the road to 1960's-style rebellious movie-making.

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