IMDb > The Shootist (1976)
The Shootist
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The Shootist (1976) More at IMDbPro »

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The Shootist -- 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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Up 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Glendon Swarthout (novel)
Miles Hood Swarthout (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Shootist on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 August 1976 (USA) See more »
He's got to face a gunfight once more to live up to his legend once more - TO WIN JUST ONE MORE TIME.
A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
REAL courage! See more (150 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Wayne ... J.B. Books

Lauren Bacall ... Bond Rogers

Ron Howard ... Gillom Rogers

James Stewart ... Dr. Hostetler

Richard Boone ... Sweeney

Hugh O'Brian ... Pulford

Bill McKinney ... Cobb

Harry Morgan ... Marshall Thibido

John Carradine ... Beckum

Sheree North ... Serepta

Rick Lenz ... Dobkins (as Richard Lenz)

Scatman Crothers ... Moses

Gregg Palmer ... Burly Man
Alfred Dennis ... Barber
Dick Winslow ... Streetcar Driver

Melody Thomas Scott ... Girl on Streetcar (as Melody Thomas)
Kathleen O'Malley ... School Teacher
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Johnny Crawford ... Books' Victim in Flashback (archive footage) (uncredited)
Chuck Dawson ... Extra (uncredited)

Duke Fishman ... Barfly (uncredited)

Christopher George ... Books' Victim in Flashback (archive footage) (uncredited)

Jonathan Goldsmith ... Book's Victim (uncredited)

Leo Gordon ... Books' Victim in Flashback (archive footage) (uncredited)

Charles G. Martin ... Murray the Bartender (uncredited)

Ricky Nelson ... Books' Fellow Lawman in Flashback (archive footage) (uncredited)

James Nolan ... Gambler (uncredited)
Henry Slate ... Pulford Confidant (uncredited)

Bob Steele ... Books' Victim in Flashback (archive footage) (uncredited)
Ralph Volkie ... White-Haired Bartender (uncredited)

Directed by
Don Siegel 
Writing credits
Glendon Swarthout (novel)

Miles Hood Swarthout (screenplay) and
Scott Hale (screenplay)

Produced by
M.J. Frankovich .... producer
William Self .... producer
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein 
Cinematography by
Bruce Surtees (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Douglas Stewart 
Production Design by
Robert F. Boyle  (as Robert Boyle)
Set Decoration by
Arthur Jeph Parker  (as Arthur Parker)
Makeup Department
Joe DiBella .... makeup artist (as Joe Di Bella)
Dave Grayson .... makeup artist
Vivienne Walker .... hair stylist
Production Management
Russell Saunders .... executive production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joseph C. Cavalier .... assistant director (as Joe Cavalier)
Joe Florence .... second assistant director
Art Department
Bill Dietz .... property master
Richard Lawrence .... assistant art director
Joseph M. LeBaron .... construction coordinator
William Cruse .... set designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Les Fresholtz .... sound re-recordist
Michael Minkler .... sound re-recordist
Al Overton .... sound mixer (as Alfred J. Overton)
Arthur Piantadosi .... sound re-recordist
Jerry Whittington .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Augie Lohman .... special effects
David Domeyer .... special effects (uncredited)
Denny Arnold .... stunts (uncredited)
Jim Burk .... stunt double (uncredited)
Jim Burk .... stunt double: John Wayne (uncredited)
Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
Steven Burnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Roydon Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
Terry Leonard .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Henry Wills .... stunts wrangler (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Kenneth Adams .... key grip
Thomas Del Ruth .... camera operator (as Tom Del Ruth)
Charles Holmes .... gaffer (as Chuck Holmes)
Richard A. Mention III .... camera assistant (as Rick Mention)
Timothy E. Wade .... camera assistant
Robert Jason .... electrician (uncredited)
Dave Sutton .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Luster Bayless .... costumes: men
Moss Mabry .... costumes: Miss Bacall
Edna Taylor .... costumes: ladies
Editorial Department
Jerrold L. Ludwig .... assistant editor
Music Department
Dan Wallin .... score mixer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Chris Haynes .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Jack Casey .... publicist
Eudie Charnes .... production coordinator
Dino De Laurentiis .... presenter
Al Horwits .... public relations
Betsy Norton .... script supervisor
Buzz Barton .... horse wrangler (uncredited)
Robert S. Birchard .... dailies projectionist (uncredited)
Martha Manor .... stand-in (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
100 min
Black and White | Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Australia:NRC (original rating) | Finland:K-16 | France:Tous publics | Norway:16 | Singapore:PG | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (1991) | USA:PG | USA:TV-PG (cable rating) | West Germany:16 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Lauren Bacall's character's first name was a reference to Ward Bond.See more »
Continuity: Books' hair goes from being parted on his left to his right then back to his left after he tells Marshal Thibido he (Books) is going to die when they first meet while in Books' room.See more »
John Bernard Books:First things, first, Doc. I almost forgot to ask you. How much do I owe you?
Dr. E.W. Hostetler:You're a man after my own heart, Books. Most of them ask that last, if at all. Well, let's see. We'll make it four dollars for the two visits plus one dollar for that.
John Bernard Books:What's that.?
Dr. E.W. Hostetler:They call that laudanum, a solution of opium and alcohol.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in State of Grace (1990)See more »
Maple Leaf RagSee more »


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53 out of 72 people found the following review useful.
REAL courage!, 17 May 2003
Author: Zen Bones from USA

I've never had much use for the swaggering, tough-as-nails `heroic' John Wayne. Perhaps that style of heroism was all one needed to get by in the ‘old west', but even then, death was not an easy thing to face (I bet most gunslingers and sheriffs' boots were filled with liquid just moments before they bit the dust). Finally, here is a film that looks at what courage is really made up of: the ability to accept limitations, to accept change, to have humility, and to be able to say, `I'm afraid'. The Duke is dying of cancer, in reality and within the plot of this film. He is also a living myth in reality and within the plot of this film. That he chose to play out his swan song as a human legend instead of as a mythic one, must have taken a lot of courage. Imagine the Duke propped on a dainty red pillow upon his saddle! Imagine him showing all the physical signs of the wear and tear that illness and age have bestowed on him. Imagine him allowing us to hear the weakness of his infirm body slipping in the bathtub. Imagine his groans of agony. `Death is a very private thing', his character John Books says, but he is man enough to show us how to do it and do it with dignity, despite the fear. Just imagine The Duke admitting that he's afraid of the dark!

At the period in which this film is set, gunslingers – or `shootists' – were soon to go the way of the horse and buggy. The queen (Victoria) had just died. Electricity, modern plumbing, modern commerce, modern transportation, and creature comforts were beginning to take over (check out the electric ceiling fans and mosaic tiles in the saloon!). Forward to ‘real life'. It is 1976. One by one, the mythic legends created by dime novels and Hollywood movies are being demystified. From Billy The Kid to Buffalo Bill, to Bonnie and Clyde, audiences have been shown for over decade how legends have always been manufactured. There are some who may see this demystification as a negative thing, but when people start adoring soldiers, celebrities and gangsters as something more than human, it's time to set the record straight. That's what all the best films of the seventies did. They broke the myths but they did not break the spirit, for what they did was let US, not the supermen on the screen, become the heroes. We could be afraid, old, young, ill, or weak, and we could feel pain and humiliation. In the process of confronting our limitations we become stronger. To be a stronger human being is to become civilized. Like this film shows us, we CAN reject the gun and join civilization. This film is John Wayne's gift to us. He is enabling us to grow up, to look at the past with respect, but to face the future with responsibility. His John Books is worth more to us than all his superheroes put together. We're all gonna die, we're all afraid, and pain is very, very real. It is in the process of surrendering to this fact with dignity and humility that we in a sense become immortal. To try to live as a superman is to die a fool. Only cowards (and very dangerous people) embrace myths over reality. That dainty red pillow has made The Duke sit very tall in his saddle indeed!

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