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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 50,511 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?


Lee Marvin's first scene (the stage hold-up) presented problems for the actor--he couldn't seem to get a handle on his character. After several takes, John Ford instructed the stage driver not to throw down the cash box when Marvin demanded it. This had the effect of greatly notching up Marvin's anger, causing him to shout, "NOW!" The take was printed. See more »


One of the songs being played in the saloon was "Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight," but the song was written in 1896 by Theodore Metz, several years after the time the story is set in. See more »


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


Referenced in Veronica Mars: Papa's Cabin (2007) See more »


Main Theme
(1939) (uncredited)
from Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Music by Alfred Newman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Who's The Better Man Here? Answer: Neither.
22 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just read the comments of someone from August 30, 2004, who had reached the conclusion that John Wayne's character had stepped aside "for the better man," played by Jimmy Stewart. From my view, nothing could be farther from the truth. For all Ransom Stoddard's disdain for frontier violence, in the end, he was left with no choice but to pick-up a gun to finally silence Liberty Valance, something Valance knew better than to do with Wayne's Tom Doniphon. Call Stoddard the idealist and Doniphon the realist, but don't call him the better man. In 1946, John Ford directed My Darling Clementine, perfectly blending Wayne and Henry Fonda with his usual cast of characters to create a masterwork. Sixteen years later, he put Wayne together with Stewart (plus all the ol' gang) and made another peerless film. There was a time I didn't really "get" John Ford and John Wayne. One day, I awoke and now, the greatness of these two giants of the cinema is undeniable.

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