MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 53 this week

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

 -  Western  -  28 May 1962 (UK)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 43,283 users  
Reviews: 202 user | 96 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.

Director:

Writers:

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

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 15 Dec 2011
 
a list of 21 titles
created 01 Jan 2012
 
a list of 37 titles
created 11 Apr 2012
 
a list of 48 titles
created 30 Nov 2012
 
a list of 49 titles
created 10 months ago
 

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.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Rio Bravo (1959)
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
Open Range (2003)
Action | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A former gunslinger is forced to take up arms again when he and his cattle crew are threatened by a corrupt lawman.

Director: Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Diego Luna
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker
Broken Arrow (1950)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Tom Jeffords tries to make peace between settlers and Apaches.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget
Giant (1956)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Sprawling epic covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The neighbors of a frontier family turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiawa tribe.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Audie Murphy
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Character study of a Doctor who saves a local criminal from a mob who are trying to hang him, but then tries to control the life of the young man, realizing that he can exploit his secret.

Directors: Delmer Daves, Karl Malden
Stars: Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, Karl Malden
The Westerner (1940)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinergaroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad.

Directors: King Vidor, Otto Brower, and 5 more credits »
Stars: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The mother of a severely traumatized daughter enlists the aid of a unique horse trainer to help the girl's equally injured horse.

Director: Robert Redford
Stars: Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Neill
Hondo (1953)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Army despatch rider Hondo Lane discovers a woman and her son living in the midst of warring Apaches, and he becomes their protector.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Ken Murray ...
...
...
...
...
Carleton Young ...
...
...
...
Edit

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

Plot Keywords:

senator | funeral | law book | book | newspaper | See more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 May 1962 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance  »

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The last time John Qualen plays a Scandinavian character alongside a John Wayne lead. See more »

Goofs

When Tom tells Rance who really shot Valance, the election signs behind the door are totally different when entering the room to when he leaves. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

References Stagecoach (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

The Alphabet Song (A-B-C)
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung a cappella by children in Ransom's class
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

www.obsessedwithfilm.com


53 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Would Tom have gotten Hallie if? 398
Liberty's sidekicks JackBluegrass
'Nothing is too good...for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' holybuckeye
Lee Marvin gbromberg
Did anyone notice something about Pompey? santol321
The look on Hallie's face at the end dshivers
Discuss The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page