17 user 15 critic

Run for Cover (1955)

Approved | | Western | 14 May 1955 (USA)
Mistaken for train robbers, Matt Dow and Davey Bishop are shot at by the sheriff and his posse but they are cleared and hired as lawmen.


Nicholas Ray


Winston Miller (screenplay), Harriet Frank Jr. (story) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
James Cagney ... Matt Dow
Viveca Lindfors ... Helga Swenson
John Derek ... Davey Bishop
Jean Hersholt ... Mr. Swenson
Grant Withers ... Gentry
Jack Lambert ... Larsen
Ernest Borgnine ... Morgan
Ray Teal ... Sheriff
Irving Bacon ... Scotty
Trevor Bardette ... Paulsen
John Miljan ... Mayor Walsh
Gus Schilling ... Doc Ridgeway


Odd little Western that gets off to a snappy start when a man (Matt Dow) is mistaken as a train robber. After the town's sheriff shoots the kid he's riding with, Dow clears his name and ends up as the new sheriff. He romances a Swedish woman and settles in to a peaceful life only to find that the boy has a few secrets of his own. Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a man apart... who brought faith to a youth, love to a woman, justice to a land!




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Final film of Jean Hersholt. See more »


In the soundtrack in Spanish --in Spain distribution, at least-- the Swensons are throughout referred to as Swiss people, and their country of origin as Switzerland. See more »


Matt Dow: Why don't you stop feeling sorry for yourself? You think you're the only one in the world ever got a raw deal... There's a lot of people in this world who've had a tougher time than you or me. It comes with the ticket. Nobody guarantees you a free ride. The only difference is, most people don't run for cover. They keep right on going, picking up the pieces the best way they can. But you never hear of them. It's the ones who can't take it, like you - the ones looking for a free ride - who cause ...
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Referenced in Llegar a más (1963) See more »


Run for Cover
Music by Howard Jackson
Lyric by Jack Brooks
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User Reviews

Cagney as sheriff, Lindfors stiff, and Ray obviously on an off day in this mediocre drama
27 June 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Run for Cover (1955)

The first reason to see this is the simple fact it's a Nicholas Ray movie. Ray didn't direct many movies, but among those few are some of the best--or at least my favorites--in the whole history of Hollywood. "They Live by Night" and "In a Lonely Place" are moving and interesting masterpieces, and "Johnny Guitar" is completely bizarre and original and a wild ride. Only slightly less interesting to me but more iconic is "Rebel without a Cause," made the same year as this one.

"Run for Cover" is an awkward fit, a Western by a director of mostly urban dramas. James Cagney isn't really cast wrong, per se, because he's presented as an outsider in this typical rough frontier town, but he comes off a little superficial, using his razor fast approach as an end rather than a means. And I think this is because the story is weak. It sounds good on paper, but it unfolds a little obviously, with some filler and some seemingly requisite but boring views of beautiful landscapes. There are gunfights, a run-in with Indians, and deception. It's a story without emotional subtlety and Ray is best a peeling back layers in human interaction, not just showing the action.

Even the interesting Viveca Lindfors (who originally led me to the movie after seeing her in "Backfire," is oddly stiff, doubly odd because she's a Swedish immigrant playing a Swedish immigrant. You get the feeling she was never a poor farmer back home.

I don't mean to pile on criticisms, but it's worth saying that the direction isn't good, either. The filming is dull, there are a couple of odd moments like when a big log suddenly appears in the river to save someone, and sometimes the cuts don't match one to the next. I'm guessing there's a deeper story to the awkwardness here, but all we have is the awkwardness.

Not that it's a disaster. I watched the whole thing, and the key theme of being honorable even when being misunderstood is good. And a really nasty deception (or plain old ingratitude) is pulled off right before our eyes, more than once.. The filming location seems to be Colorado rather than California or Arizona (as many Westerns are), and that gives it a different feel. And there is a short section (out of nowhere) shot in an ancient Indian ruin in New Mexico, with good atmospherics. Plug your ears to some of the overdone music, and let the plot ride off a little on its own and there's a good chance you'll like a lot of this movie.

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Release Date:

14 May 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Colorado See more »

Filming Locations:

Bloomfield, New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »

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