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Cat Ballou (1965)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance, Western | 24 June 1965 (USA)
3:29 | Trailer

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



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Directors: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, and 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Shouter / Sunrise Kid (as Nat King Cole)
Stubby Kaye ...
Shouter / Sam the Shade
Tom Nardini ...
Sheriff Cardigan
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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A gen-u-ine movie first! A way-out whopper! A funny movie? YOU BET IT IS...! See more »


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?


Ann-Margret was first choice for the title role but turned it down. See more »


When Catherine is on the train at the beginning, she addresses her teacher as "Mrs. Parker", but when talking to Jed a minute later she refers to her as "Miss Parker". 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

The opening Columbia logo is followed by the first verse of the "Cat Ballou" song, sung by Nat 'King' Cole and Stubby Kaye, complete with scenes of the town. We then see go to the opening credits. See more »


Referenced in Halloween II (2009) See more »


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

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User Reviews

The only reason Fonda got top billing is because it was called "Cat Ballou"
21 October 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Let's face facts -- Fonda was OK in this movie, but Lee Marvin was in his glory as over-the-hill gunslinger Kid Shelleen. Add to that his second role as as the noseless Tim Strawn. Toss in the matter-of-fact way the Kid reveals that he and Tim had been brothers.

And leave us not forget my favorite scene -- the "suiting up" of the Kid prior to the ultimate showdown. It's almost like the investiture of an ancient high priest, down to the acolyte-like functioning of Jackson Two-Bears (played to perfection by Tom Nardini). Absolutely no dialogue, and set, as I recall, to music reminiscent of the Spanish corridas.

If anyone draws up a list of Lee Marvin's best films, they'd have to be nuts to not put this in the top three. His "Best Actor" Oscar for this film was well-deserved.

And equally high marks to whomever did the stunt work for Marvin. The antics on horseback during the last scenes, with a "drunken" Kid Shelleen in the saddle, have to be seen to be believed.

By all means, see this movie. Be ready to cheer for the "bad guys" as they seek revenge against the "badder guys". But do NOT, under any circumstances, think for a minute that the movie as shown on TNT is complete. The last time they aired it, they actually CUT part of the above-mentioned dressing scene -- an unforgivable sin of omission, in my book. Rent (or buy) the video or DVD instead.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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