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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Western  |  22 April 1962 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 50,510 users  
Reviews: 213 user | 110 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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Murray ...


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


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


Drama | Western


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 April 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un tiro en la noche  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final film of Jack Perrin. See more »


Doniphon moves his head back just as Stoddard punches him. See more »


[first lines]
Ransom Stoddard: [descending from railway carriage and consulting pocket watch] Thanks, Jason. On time.
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Referenced in Veronica Mars: Papa's Cabin (2007) See more »


Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here!
(1879) (uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan from "The Pirates of Penzance"
Played in the score
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

113 of 151 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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