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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Western | 22 April 1962 (USA)
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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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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 See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

22 April 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un tiro en la noche  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
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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

At one point, hard-drinking newspaper editor Dutton Peabody refers to the bad guys as "Liberty Valance and his Myrmidons." The Myrmidons were figures of ancient Greek mythology, skilled warriors in Homer's Iliad commanded by Achilles. Because they were known for their fierce loyalty to their leader, the term came to be used in pre-industrial Europe almost as "robots" would be today. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term has since come to mean "hired ruffian" or "a loyal follower, especially one who executes orders without question, protest, or pity--unquestioning followers." See more »

Goofs

In the gunfight between Stoddard and Valance, Valance's hat falls off and lands in the dirt. During the flashback scene, the hat lands on the boardwalk. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in I Call First (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Little Brown Jug
(1869) (uncredited)
Written by Joseph Winner
Played in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Myth Over Reality.
7 October 2013 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

John Ford directs this western story that opens with Senator Ransom Stoddard(played by Jimmy Stewart) arriving by train in the town of Shinbone, to attend the funeral of old friend Tom Doniphon(John Wayne). He tells a local newspaper reporter about his first arrival in Shinbone by stagecoach, where it is robbed by a bullying ruffian named Liberty Valance(Lee Marvin, well cast) As a young lawyer left only with his law books, he gets a job in a local restaurant as a dishwasher, only to run afoul of Valance again, who is being used by local landowners who oppose proposed statehood. Stoddard is approached to be a representative, and after being challenged by Liberty, is elected, though Valance decides that only a showdown can settle things...

Thoughtful and effective film is more a showcase for Stewart than Wayne, much the same way Stoddard comes to overshadow Tom, though both actors are equally memorable, as are the characters they play.


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