7.6/10
36,662
310 user 87 critic

Shane (1953)

Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 1 October 1953 (Japan)
Trailer
1:57 | Trailer
A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.

Director:

George Stevens

Writers:

A.B. Guthrie Jr. (screenplay), Jack Sher (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,437 ( 398)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Ladd ... Shane
Jean Arthur ... Marian Starrett
Van Heflin ... Joe Starrett
Brandon De Wilde ... Joey Starrett
Jack Palance ... Jack Wilson (as Walter Jack Palance)
Ben Johnson ... Chris Calloway
Edgar Buchanan ... Fred Lewis
Emile Meyer ... Rufus Ryker
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Stonewall Torrey
Douglas Spencer ... Axel 'Swede' Shipstead
John Dierkes ... Morgan Ryker
Ellen Corby ... Mrs. Liz Torrey
Paul McVey ... Sam Grafton
John Miller John Miller ... Will Atkey - Bartender
Edith Evanson ... Mrs. Shipstead
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Storyline

Shane rides into a conflict between cattleman Ryker and a bunch of settlers, like Joe Starrett and his family, whose land Ryker wants. When Shane beats up Ryker's man Chris, Ryker tries to buy him. Then Shane and Joe take on the whole Ryker crew. Ryker sends to Cheyenne for truly evil gunslinger Wilson. Shane must clear out all the guns from the valley. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's A Score To Settle...and This is it ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Features Brandon De Wilde's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »

Goofs

Prior to Shane and Calloway's fight in the bar, in the side and rear shots of Shane, Shane's left arm is in a straight position with the palm of his hand flat on the bar. From the front view of Shane the arm is bent and Shane is leaning on his elbow. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joey: Somebody's comin', Pa!
Joe Starrett: Well, let him come.
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Crazy Credits

Introducing Brandon De Wilde See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was shot in Academy Ratio (1.33:1 or 4:3), but this was done around the time widescreen filmmaking was coming around. As such, many theatres cropped the film into a widescreen ratio to take advantage of this, with many DVDs being cropped as well. The 2013 Blu-ray Disc release is in the proper Academy Ratio. See more »


Soundtracks

Abide With Me
(uncredited)
Music by William H. Monk (1861)
Hymn by Henry F. Lyte (1847)
Played on piano and sung by many at a meeting
Also played and sung at a funeral
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User Reviews

 
Shane is a beautifully photographed film with excellent performances.
16 January 1999 | by Slim-4See all my reviews

Shane is an awesome film. Loyal Griggs' cinematography uses the Grand Teton Mountains as a scenic backdrop in framing a simple story of ranchers vs. homesteaders in early Wyoming. Alan Ladd stars as the enigmatic gunfighter named Shane. Ladd has seldom been better. He sides with a homesteader family (Van Heflin, Jean Arthur and Brandon DeWilde) against local ranchers named Ryker (Elisha Meyer and John Dierkes). The Rykers hire a gunfighter (Jack Palance) from Cheyenne to drive off the homesteaders. Shane tries to put down his gun and start a new life, but the plot inevitably forces him to a fateful climax with the Rykers and the hired gun.

The film has a darkly realistic look. Grafton's saloon is dark and moody, far different from the brightly lit and colorful dance halls in other Westerns. The film is alternately bright and dark. The sadistic killing of the homesteader by the gunfighter is a dark moment even though it occurs in broad daylight. Director George Stevens took advantage of an afternoon thunderstorm and plenty of mud to make one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. The thunder provides an appropriate backdrop to the confrontation between Torrey (Elisha Cook, Jr.) and the gunfighter. This is little more than an execution and the gunfighter goes about his business with a cool, detached professionalism. Although small, Jack Palance's performance as the gunfighter from Cheyenne is one of the most memorable in the film.

Shane's background provides plenty of questions but few answers. "Where will you go", Marian Starret (Jean Arthur) asks. "One place or another. ..someplace I've never been," Shane says. All we know is that he's a gunfighter. It becomes clear that he knows about gunfighting. He's even heard of the gunfighter hired by Ryker. Chris Calloway (Ben Johnson) and another cowboy are playing cards in Grafton's saloon when Shane walks in. Calloway starts to pick a fight. The other man gets up and says "Deal me out. . .Let's just say I'm superstitious." Does he know Shane? More than likely he does, but we'll never know for sure. Shane's mysteriousness is one of the film's strengths.

This is a film about personal relationships. Shane and Joe Starret (Van Heflin) become friends. The relationship between Shane and Marian Starret defies description. Is it love? Respect? Whatever it is, it becomes clear in the late moments of the film that her husband has observed it, too. There is also a close bond between Shane and Little Joe Starret (Brandon DeWilde). The film is told through the eyes of the boy.

This is a film about good and evil, but good and evil sometimes overlap. Jack Palance represents evil. His black hat, black gloves and black vest leave little doubt which side he's on. The Rykers are bad, but they are not all bad. Rufe (Emile Meyer) tries to make a deal with Starret and speaks with sincerity and feeling about his right to the range. The homesteaders are good, but one of them, Torrey, is a hot head. Shane is a good guy. Or is he? Marian Starret tells him in one memorable scene that she won't be happy until all the guns are out of the valley--"even yours". Shane realizes this. Despite his attempts to start a new life, he tells Brandon DeWilde after the final showdown at Grafton's: "Tell your mother that there are no more guns in the valley."

The image of death stalks through this film in many forms. The scene where the gunfighter rides into town makes it clear that he is the messenger of death. Shane tells Marian Starret that "a gun is a tool", but she knows that it is an engine of death. "Guns aren't going to be my boys life," she says. The scene where Shane shows Little Joe how to shoot demonstrates the power of the gun. The shooting of the homesteader in the dark, muddy street is followed by his burial in a cemetery on a bright, sunny day set against the grandeur of the mountains. In the final frame Shane rides out of the valley and through that same cemetery. Death once again rides a horse.

I really enjoy Victor Young's musical score. The opening melody, "Call of the Faraway Hills", has been frequently recorded and is only a little less familiar than "The Magnificent Seven". It is unfortunate that no-one has seen fit to make the score for this film available to collectors. I keep hoping.

Shane is a memorable film with fine performances. The story of cattlemen vs. homesteaders is a familiar one, but it is told here with originality and feelings. The characters, whether good or bad, are vivid and deep. I'll never get tired of watching it. I only wish they'd make a wide-screen version available.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1953 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

George Stevens' Production of Shane See more »

Filming Locations:

Teton Range, Wyoming, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)| 3 Channel Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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