7.4/10
4,587
56 user 23 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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,041 ( 5,594)

On Disc

at Amazon

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

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An ambitious lumberjack abandons his saloon girl lover so that he can marry into wealth, but years later becomes infatuated with the woman's daughter.

Directors: Howard Hawks, William Wyler, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Edward Arnold, Joel McCrea, Frances Farmer
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner join Major Rogers' Rangers as they wipe out an Indian village. They set out for Fort Wentworth, but when they arrive they find no soldiers and none of the supplies they expected.

Directors: King Vidor, Jack Conway, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A lad with a penchant for trouble is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Indiana. Though he's not happy about the arrangement at first, his love of horses and his affection for a young ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Walter Brennan, Jeanne Crain, Charlotte Greenwood
The Plainsman (1936)
Certificate: Passed Biography | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Wild Bill Hickok attempts to stop an Indian uprising that was started by white gun-runners.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison
Dodsworth (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A retired auto manufacturer and his wife take a long-planned European vacation only to find that they want very different things from life.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Paul Lukas
Kentucky (1938)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Romeo and Juliet story set amidst horse racing in Kentucky. The family feud of lovers Jack and Sally goes back to the Civil War and is kept alive by her Uncle Peter.

Director: David Butler
Stars: Loretta Young, Richard Greene, Walter Brennan
Sergeant York (1941)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A marksman is drafted in World War I and ends up becoming one of the most celebrated war heroes.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After a career criminal is recaptured and knows he faces the guillotine, he offers to exchange his life for 100 hostages slated for execution by the Nazis.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Errol Flynn, Paul Lukas, Lucile Watson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A German-born engineer, his American wife and their children travel from Mexico to the United States to visit her family but their plans are complicated by a Romanian count.

Directors: Herman Shumlin, Hal Mohr
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Four outlaws come to New Jerusalem, a town full of courteous and religious people, to rob the bank. After shooting the president of the bank, only three make it out of town followed by the ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Walter Brennan
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An old man and a young boy who live in the southeastern Mississippi swamps are brought together by the love of a dog.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Walter Brennan, Phil Harris, Brandon De Wilde
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Unemployed cowhand Jim Garry is hired by his dishonest friend Tate Riling as muscle in a dispute between homesteaders and cattleman John Lufton.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston
Edit

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
Edit

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:

THE RAW UNTAMED ADVENTUROUS WEST...LIVES AGAIN! (original print media ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Westerner See more »

Filming Locations:

Green Valley, Arizona, USA See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is the first of five roles for Walter Brennan in support of Gary Cooper. The last was Task Force (1949) in 1949. See more »

Goofs

The farmers were portrayed as having filed homesteads to acquire their land in Texas when, in reality, there were no homesteaders in Texas. Because Texas, an independent republic, joined the Union in l845 with full statehood status from the beginning and never went through territorial status, there was never any federal government-owned land in the state to be open under the Homestead Act. 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Top Notch Western from Hollywoods' Golden Era May be Coop's Best
14 September 2010 | by oldblackandwhiteSee all my reviews

The Westerner will seldom make it on anyone's top ten westerns list, even one compiled by those of us who haven't succumbed to the garlicky charms of the Man with No Name. But this is one of the top notch hay-consumers of all time, make no mistake.

What can you say about Gary Cooper that has not already been voiced over and over. His beautifully understated acting style, the subtle twitches and raised eyebrows. His bearing. The way he sits a horse, as only someone who grew up on a Montana ranch can. The sure enough Western accent. Had he discovered the ear-pull yet, I didn't notice it in this one. Until watching this movie on a newly restored DVD tonight, I had not seen it in 20 years, and had come to think of it as more of a Walter Brennan movie. I was wrong. Brennan was there with all his fine tools, all right, and he royally deserved his best-supporting award, but that is what his role was. When it's a Gary Cooper movie, it's a Gary Cooper movie. Never having been a fan of High Noon, I had thought maybe Dallas or Vera Cruz were Coop's best westerns. But The Westerner gives us the definitive Gary Cooper.

The movie is handsomely turned out in the sensuously luminous black and white cinematography, fluid editing and silky-smooth scene changes we have come to accept as standard for top studio productions of the late 'thirties, 'forties era, and every cinematic effect is enhanced by a stirring Dimitri Tiomin score. The sets and costumes are superb with a much more authentic look and feel for the old west than most westerns before or since. The clothes of both the men and women, both the cowboys and the farmers, the gun leather, and the buildings, are all unusually accurate to the time and place. Refreshingly, the heroine of our piece, sensitively and strongly played by the beautiful but obscure Doris Davenport, wears a long, feminine dress and uses a wagon for transportation, rather than wearing men's jeans and riding astraddle a horse with her Tangee lipstick blaring as we see in so many great and small westerns. All the other characters, both male and female, come off like real 19th century men and women, not products of the time in which the film was made. William Wyler's direction is virtually flawless with just the right blend of action, tension, and humor. But considering the acting talent, the cinematographers, lighting specialists, art directors, and other technical help any director in the awesomely efficient big studio systems of the time had available, maybe he just knew how to stay out of the way.


21 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 56 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed