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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Western  |  22 April 1962 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 48,173 users  
Reviews: 207 user | 108 critic

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

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Title: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. He had come to town many years before, a lawyer by profession. The stage was robbed on its way in by the local ruffian, Liberty Valance, and Stoddard has nothing to his name left save a few law books. He gets a job in the kitchen at the Ericson's restaurant and there meets his future wife, Hallie. The territory is vying for Statehood and Stoddard is selected as a representative over Valance, who continues terrorizing the town. When he destroys the local newspaper office and attacks the editor, Stoddard calls him out, though the conclusion is not quite as straightforward as legend would have it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Together For The First Time - James Stewart - John Wayne - in the masterpiece of four-time Academy Award winner John Ford

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un tiro en la noche  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several reasons have been put forward for the film being in black and white. John Ford once claimed it added to the tension, but others involved with the production said Paramount was cutting costs, which was why the film was shot on sound stages at the studio. Without the budget restraints, Ford would have been in Monument Valley using Technicolor stock. It has also been suggested that since both John Wayne and James Stewart were playing characters 30 years younger than their actual age (Wayne was 54 when the movie was filmed in the autumn of 1961 and Stewart was 53), the movie needed to be in black and white because they would never have got away with it in color. The age difference was particularly noticeable in Stewart's case, since he was playing a young lawyer who had only just graduated from law school and had moved west without even practicing law back east. See more »

Goofs

When Stoddard is setting the paint cans on the fence posts, they make a tinny sound that clearly indicates they're empty. Yet when shot by Doniphon, they discharge a great amount of paint. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ransom Stoddard: [descending from railway carriage and consulting pocket watch] Thanks, Jason. On time.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Family Guy: 3 Acts of God (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Camptown Races
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The passing of the old ways
30 August 2004 | by (Mountain Home, Idaho) – See all my reviews

Other reviewers, aside from seeing this as the end of the classic western, saw the plot as myth granting to one man that which was rightfully another's. I disagree. I see TMWSLV as a tale of a man stepping aside for the sake of a better man and a better world, at great personal cost.

I view Tom as someone who has lived a cynical life--kill it before it kills you. With the advent of Ransom he recognizes that there is a better way, and that Ransom, by defying evil from a position of weakness, is far braver than Tom, who has merely defied evil from a position of strength. Additionally, Ransom brings about an answer to the question "must the sword rule forever?" with a resounding "no," a denial that at first seems foolish to Tom, but who then realizes that things really should be Ransom's way.

And so Tom, knowing that one of them is the better man, allows that better man to receive the fame attendant to heroism; and in fact Ransom, for daring what Tom never did dare, is the true hero of the tale. Like all honest men must, Tom steps aside for the better man, knowing what it will cost him to do what is right.

An earlier reviewer said that the depiction of the politics was a parody; in fact, the politics of the early portion of the republics was even more lively (read: pugnacious) than is depicted in the film.


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