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Cat Ballou (1965)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Western  |  24 June 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 9,881 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 32 critic

A woman seeking revenge for her murdered father hires a famous gunman, but he's very different from what she expects.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Frank R. Pierson) , 1 more credit »
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Title: Cat Ballou (1965)

Cat Ballou (1965) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Shouter (as Nat King Cole)
Stubby Kaye ...
Tom Nardini ...
Sheriff Cardigan
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
Sheriff Maledon
Paul Gilbert ...
Train Messenger


Cat(herine) Ballou's family farm is being threatened by the Rail Road. She sends for Kid Shelleen, finding him to be the drunkest gunfighter in the west. When her father is killed by the rail road magnate's gunman, she vowes to fight on. Shelleen manages to ride sideways in several scenes, while minstrels sing the ballad of Cat Ballou in between scenes. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Cat Ballou Is All A Ball! See more »


Comedy | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 June 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cat Ballou skjuter skarpt  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Even though everyone knew that they were making at least a good film, no one had any idea that they were making a classic. Jane Fonda recalled - "I have to admit, it wasn't until I saw the final cut of Cat Ballou that I realized we had a hit on our hands. I hadn't been around when they filmed Lee's horse, leaning cross-legged up against the barn in what's become a classic image, or when Lee tries to shoot the side of the barn." See more »


During the train robbery scene, there are both a single and a double set of railroad tracks shown. Most long shots show a single set and the close up shots show the double set. The scene ends with the actors brushing themselves off in front a double set of tracks. See more »


[first lines]
Professor Sam The ShadeThe Sunrise Kid: [singing] Well now friends just lend an ear for you're now about to hear the Ballad of Cat Ballou.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on the pages of a large book; an uncredited pair of hands turn the pages in time with the music. See more »


Referenced in Animaniacs: No Pain, No Painting/Les Miseranimals (1993) See more »


Shall We Gather at the River?
Written by Robert Lowry
Sung by the Townsfolk
See more »

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User Reviews

A modern, comedic western
27 February 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the best modern westerns made that John Wayne wasn't in. Jane Fonda is great as the schoolmarm-turned-outlaw Cat Ballou. When she begins to seek vengeance against the railroad for her father's death, you believe she's really going to get them.

I don't have to say much about Lee Marvin's performance; it's perfect all the way. His dual role, where he plays Kid Shelleen and his evil brother, Tim Strawn, gives him the chance to really stretch his acting talents. When Marvin plays the drunken Shelleen, he's a comic delight. Even his horse looks drunk. When he plays Strawn, the screen sizzles. If you need a reason to see this movie, Lee Marvin should be the reason.

Michael Callan is fine as Jane Fonda's love interest, and Dwayne Hickman steals the scenes he's in as Callan's "uncle"; he's really good in this film. John Marley is pretty funny, also, and Cat's father; his views on the Indian nation are revolutionary, to say the least. Tom Nardini is wonderful as the hired hand who goes along on Cat's quest, none too willingly.

All in all, this is a tour-de-force of acting and writing. Sharp, witty, warm and action-packed, this is a film everyone should see at least once. I've seen it many times, and it's never lost its luster for me.

31 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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