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The Shootist (1976)

 -  Drama | Western  -  20 August 1976 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 15,494 users  
Reviews: 141 user | 43 critic

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

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Shootist (1976)

The Shootist (1976) on IMDb 7.7/10

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Bill McKinney ...
Cobb
...
Marshall Thibido
...
Beckum
...
Serepta
...
Dobkins (as Richard Lenz)
...
Moses
Gregg Palmer ...
Burly Man
Alfred Dennis ...
Barber
Dick Winslow ...
Streetcar Driver
Edit

Storyline

John Books an aging gunfighter goes to see a doctor he knows for a second opinion after another doctor told him he has a cancer which is terminal. The doctor confirms what the other said. He says Books has a month maybe two left. He takes a room in the boarding house and the son of the woman who runs it recognizes him and tells his mother who he is. She doesn't like his kind but he tells her of his condition she empathizes. Her son wants him to teach him how to use a gun. Books tries to tell him that killing is not something he wants to live with. Books not wanting to go through the agony of dying from cancer tries to find a quicker way to go. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's got to face a gunfight once more to live up to his legend once more. To win just one more time.

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 August 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Scharfschütze  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,987,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although now widely regarded as one of the finest final movies of any star, along with The Misfits (1961) starring Clark Gable and On Golden Pond (1981) starring Henry Fonda, this was never actually intended as John Wayne's last movie, particularly since it was not until January 1979 - three years after filming had begun - that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. In July 1978, after recovering from open heart surgery, he announced that he was intending to make a movie called "Beau John" with Ron Howard, but for some reason it never happened. Wayne was ill throughout "The Shootist," and his generally poor health made it difficult for him to get insurance for additional film projects. See more »

Goofs

Pulford kills the gambler with a shot through the heart that covers the length of the saloon. Such a wound should have only resulted in a relatively small amount of blood. Yet, when he hits the floor, he is literally covered with blood down to his legs. See more »

Quotes

Dr. E.W. Hostetler: [pointing to Books' pillow] Well if I wanted to go around town unnoticed, I wouldn't carry *that* around with me.
John Bernard Books: [smiling] Stole it from a whore house in Creed.
See more »

Connections

Features Red River (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Maple Leaf Rag
(uncredited)
Music by Scott Joplin
[Portion whistled by Ron Howard]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's what we call a fall spring
9 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Shootist is a great swan song to the film career of John Wayne and a great movie on its own merit. The parallels between Wayne's life at the time the film was made and the character(J.B.Brooks) he plays in the movie only add a poignant sadness. This sadness is part of the film, it never lets up. The first jolt of sadness comes when we see Wayne visiting with the town doctor, played by Jimmy Stewart. Wayne is diagnosed with an incurable cancer. This news seems to trouble Stewarts character as much as it does with Waynes. As both characters try to come to grips with this diagnosis, I was left wondering: am I watching the work of two gifted actors play acting in a movie or am I watching two old friends bringing their reality into the movie?. Whatever the case, the scene is very moving.

Also in the cast is Lauren Bacall as the recently widowed inn keeper. She helps keep Wayne's character fulfilled and feisty during his last days. Ironicly, this job was something she was familiar with, as she did this in real life with her late husband Humphrey Bogart.

There are many good performances by the rest of the cast. But it is the circumstances under which they were filmed for Wayne, that make his a truly unbelievable performance. There are two of his scenes that stand out for me: 1) Listening to John Wayne and Scatman Crothers haggle over the selling price of Wayne's horse. Yeah, it might not sound like much here in print, but that's just a testimony of how well these two actors pull that scene off. Just great. 2) Seeing John Wayne enter the saloon with a purpose for the last time. Truly one of the most bone chilling cinematic moments of all time.

If you love John Wayne then I'm certain that you love this film already. If you can take or leave John Wayne, you might at least like this film. But if you don't care for Wayne or for that matter, if you don't like westerns, you'll probably still like this film. At least I hope so. 9/10.

Clark Richards


13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Who else thinks Books went way overboard with Dobkins the reporter star_in_the_zenith_79
help please! final shot circleofstars2
Question about a line... samwise_fan1965
I can't figure the ages of the characters. hightp
A very ominous film driver_8
what does john wayne say to the robber lopezmarcus31
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