Down 268 this week

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Western  |  22 April 1962 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 50,021 users  
Reviews: 211 user | 109 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.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


10 Best Action Heroes

We consulted IMDb's Highest-Rated Action-Family Films to came up with 10 scene-stealing action figures your kids can relate to, look up to, and be inspired by.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 34 titles
created 20 Dec 2011
a list of 25 titles
created 11 Feb 2012
a list of 26 titles
created 13 Jul 2012
a list of 37 titles
created 01 Feb 2013
a list of 36 titles
created 1 week ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

User Polls

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Searchers (1956)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles
Rio Bravo (1959)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson
Stagecoach (1939)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
True Grit (1969)
Certificate: M Adventure | Western | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell
El Dorado (1966)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan
High Noon (1952)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A marshall, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan
Red River (1948)
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
The Shootist (1976)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard


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


Approved | See all certifications »

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
See  »

Did You Know?


First occasion of John Wayne calling someone "Pilgrim". See more »


When teaching his students, Ransom asks what the supreme law of the land is. When a pupil (Pompey) gives the correct answer of the Constitution, he incorrectly tells him the right answer is the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is a statement of principles and a justification for the colonies' rebellion, but certainly not law in any way. See more »


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


Referenced in Full Metal Jacket (1987) See more »


Home on the Range
(1904) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel E. Kelley
Played in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend".
2 August 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend". - Maxwell Scott, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance In John Ford's most mournful tale, the legendary director asks the question "How did this present come to be? Just how did an inferior race of men whose only weapon was that of law and books defeat the old gunslingers of the great West? Just what exactly happened to the Western heroes portrayed by John Wayne when law and order came to town? How did the wilderness turn into a garden? In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, John Ford depicts a world where everyone has got everything they wanted, but nobody seems happy with it… sound familiar to anyone? Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) arrives to Shinbone on a train with his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) to visit the funeral of an old friend named Tom Doniphon (John Wayne, remarkably the film opens where this iconic star is dead). The newspaper men have never heard of him, so why would such a powerful political figure visit the town to attend this funeral of a "nobody"? Through the use of a flashback, Stoddard tells us the tale of how he came to the town as a young lawyer but was immediately attacked by the psychotic villain Liberty Valance (terrifyingly played by Lee Marvin) who teaches him "Western law". The rest of the film tells the tale of how the man of books eventually defeated the race of the gunslinger and what sacrifices had to be made for that to happen.

In truth, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is more of a melodrama than a Western. Gone are the vibrant landscapes of Ford's landmark movie The Searchers six years earlier, which was so proudly promoted as being in VISTAVISION WIDESCREEN COLOR and instead the film has given way to a bleak, claustrophobic black and white tale, with so many enclosed sets and not one shot of Monument Valley.

There's a lack of a real bar scene, lack of shots of the landscape, lack of horses, lack of gunfights. It's a psychological Western, probably unlike anything ever filmed until maybe Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.

Why is this movie so good then? In basic terms, it's about the sadness of progression and without giving way too much away the film tells a remarkable tale which truly does examine what Ford's view of the West as promoted in his earlier work truly meant. It's a tragic and pessimistic movie but it's a rewarding one, with huge replay value and one that leaves you with so many more questions than it does answers.

Do we prefer the legendary tale of our heroes or the truth? Are tales of people such as 'The Man With No Name' just more interesting than Wyatt Earp? Is living a lie as a successful guy better or worse than quietly dying as a hero? The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is one of the most complex Westerns that has ever been put on film and is a remarkable film when you consider it was directed by a guy who made his living telling grandeur tales of the American West. Well acted, very well written and is one of the most rewarding Westerns for replay value in the history of the genre.

Matt Holmes


65 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Age of actors versus roles bob-larrance
Ah, so this is the film in which John Wayne constantly says "Pilgrim"` Spade_Weeks
Liberty's sidekicks JackBluegrass
Who would you cast in a remake? chillman4130
Would Tom have gotten Hallie if? 398
Lee Marvin gbromberg
Discuss The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page