7.7/10
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154 user 55 critic

The Shootist (1976)

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cobb
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Beckum
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Serepta
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Dobkins (as Richard Lenz)
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Burly Man
Alfred Dennis ...
Barber
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Streetcar Driver
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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 when 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 | Romance | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

20 August 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Scharfschütze  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,987,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lauren Bacall, James Stewart, Richard Boone and John Carradine were all cast at John Wayne's request. See more »

Goofs

In the final shooting when the bartender shoots Mr. Books, the squib detonation wires are visible on the ground and leading up each man's leg. See more »

Quotes

Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido: The day they lay you away, what I'll do on your grave won't pass for flowers.
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Connections

Features Hondo (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Willow, Tit Willow
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Performed by John Wayne & Lauren Bacall
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User Reviews

 
A Legend Comes To Town
9 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

I've always felt that John Wayne at one point might have meant The Cowboys to be his farewell film. I'm sure that at some time we will learn he was having a health crisis then as he clearly is on this film, but that he recovered. Either The Shootist or The Cowboys could serve as his monument.

But in John Bernard Books, Wayne gives us one of his finest acted roles ever on screen, legendary gunfighter from the Old West who arrives in Carson City, Nevada to get a second opinion from Doctor James Stewart. It's a terminal cancer all right and it's going to be rough final trip.

News of Queen Victoria's dying is in the papers the day Wayne arrives in town. He admires the way she left the mortal coil and he resolves in his own mind a plan to go out the same way.

Wayne put a great cast together for The Shootist, some of them friends and colleagues he worked with over the years like James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, John Carradine, Harry Morgan, Hugh O'Brian and Richard Boone. If you read Lauren Bacall's memoirs you will be touched at the affection she felt for John Wayne, though their politics were light years apart. James Stewart was quoted as saying he was just honored to be in this film with the Duke.

One of John Wayne's best acted scenes ever in any of his films is with Sheree North who plays a former girl friend. She visits him and proposes marriage, but a little later it's learned that she's in cahoots with a 19th century tabloid writer Rick Lenz who wants to exploit his legend in a tell all memoir. To quote the Bard it was "the unkindest cut of all." I was more emotionally moved by that scene than with the final gunfight.

Which in itself is something. Wayne challenges local tough Bill McKinney, old enemy Richard Boone, and faro dealer and dead shot Hugh O'Brian to meet him. What happens you have to see the film for, but let's say that Wayne meets the dignified and courageous end we would expect of him.

In the three years left to him on earth it was rumored that John Wayne was interested in a few film projects, like maybe he was being saved for something even better. It didn't happen, sad to say, but they don't get better than The Shootist.

If they do, that'll be the day.


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