7.5/10
4,307
56 user 21 critic

The Westerner (1940)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | 20 September 1940 (USA)
Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinegarroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Jo Swerling (screenplay), Niven Busch (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Cole Harden
Walter Brennan ... Judge Roy Bean
Doris Davenport ... Jane Ellen Mathews
Fred Stone ... Caliphet Mathews
Forrest Tucker ... Wade Harper
Paul Hurst ... Chickenfoot
Chill Wills ... Southeast
Lilian Bond ... Lily Langtry
Dana Andrews ... Hod Johnson
Charles Halton ... Mort Borrow
Trevor Bardette ... Shad Wilkins
Tom Tyler ... King Evans
Lucien Littlefield ... The Stranger
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Storyline

Cole Harden just doesn't look like a horse thief, Jane-Ellen Matthews tells Judge Roy Bean as she steps up to the bar. Cole says he can't take it with him as he empties all of his coins on the bar to buy drinks for the jury. He notices two big pictures of Lily Langtry behind the bar. Sure, Cole has met the Jersey Lily, whom the hanging judge adores, even has a lock of her hair. Hanging is delayed for two weeks, giving Cole time to get in the middle of a range war between cattlemen and homesteaders and to still be around when Lily Langtry, former mistress of Edward VII who became an international actress, arrives in Texas. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Dangerous... Judge Roy Bean... who called himself "the law west of the Pecos"... the most dreaded man on the frontier! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le cavalier du désert See more »

Filming Locations:

Green Valley, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Cooper never liked the film and said "You can't make a western without a gunfight" He walked off the film and refused to start work on it. It was only after long battles with Goldwyn that he started work on it but always said that he wished he'd never made it. See more »

Goofs

The town was named for George Langtry, an engineer and foreman who had supervised a Chinese work crew building the railroad, and not for the actress Lillie Langtry. See more »

Quotes

Judge Roy W. Bean: I haven't worn this uniform since Chickamaugie, but it still fits right smart.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "After the Civil War, America, in the throes of rebirth, set its face West where the land was free. First came the cattlemen and with them "Judge" Roy Bean, who took the law into his own hands, administering justice according to his lights. That he left his impress on the history of Texas is tribute to his greatness. Then into his stronghold moved another army, the homesteaders, who ploughed the soil, fenced in fields, to bring security to their wives and children. War was inevitable, a war out of which grew the Texas of today." See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wily Western by William Wyler
14 June 2008 | by adrian290357See all my reviews

This intelligent Western contains many a wily comment on the savage mindset of frontier times. Walter Brennan as Judge Roy Bean thoroughly deserved his Academy award though it beats me why he picked up a supporting Oscar instead of a full one. After all, his part is about as long as Gary Cooper's. That aside, Gregg Toland's photography is a gem and the dialog well ahead of its time. The best thing about it all, though, is Wyler's disciplined direction. Yes, some would argue that the film does not accurately reflect history, that Judge Roy Bean died much later and not in a shootout but frankly there is enough prejudice, malice, and quirky humor in this film for one to know outright that Wyler never intended it as a historical account but, rather, as a comment on the difficulties of bringing law to the West. Some of it might be dated but Brennan will startle you, Cooper is darned slick, and it will keep you riveted. Don't miss it!


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