6.5/10
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47 user 22 critic

The Left Handed Gun (1958)

Approved | | Western | 17 May 1958 (USA)
After his employer is murdered by rival cattlemen, a troubled and uneducated young cowboy vows revenge on the murderers.

Director:

Arthur Penn

Writers:

Leslie Stevens (screenplay), Gore Vidal (play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Billy The Kid
Lita Milan ... Celsa
John Dehner ... Pat Garrett
Hurd Hatfield ... Moultrie
James Congdon James Congdon ... Charlie Boudre
James Best ... Tom Folliard
Colin Keith-Johnston ... Tunstall
John Dierkes ... McSween
Robert Anderson ... Hill (as Bob Anderson)
Wally Brown ... Deputy Moon
Ainslie Pryor Ainslie Pryor ... Joe Grant
Martin Garralaga ... Saval
Denver Pyle ... Ollinger
Paul Smith ... Smith
Nestor Paiva ... Pete Maxwell
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Storyline

William Bonney - Billy the Kid - gets a job with a cattleman known as 'The Englishman,' and is befriended by the peaceful, religious man. But when a crooked sheriff and his men murder the Englishman because he plans to supply the local Army fort with his beef, Billy decides to avenge the death by killing the four men responsible, throwing the lives of everyone around him - Tom and Charlie, two hands he worked with; Pat Garrett, who is about to be married; and the kindly Mexican couple who take him in when he's in trouble - into turmoil, and endangering the General Amnesty set up by Governor Wallace to bring peace to the New Mexico Territory. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All of a sudden, just for the kicks Billy would slip down to Mexico. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

17 May 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Billy the Kid See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Bros. reportedly interfered with the production and would not allow Penn to shoot the ending he wanted. In addition, the director was cut out of the editing process. See more »

Goofs

The film is about western outlaw Billy the Kid, who was in fact right-handed. See more »

Quotes

Pat Garrett: This is my wedding, Billy. You try to start something, I'll take it hard.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Gunfighters of the Old West (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
See more »

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User Reviews

Too Flat and Boring
26 January 2016 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Left handed Gun (1958)

** (out of 4)

William Bonney (Paul Newman) is the subject of this Western who seeks revenge for the death of a friend and becomes known as Billy the Kid. As he goes for his revenge the young gun slinger meets Pat Garrett (John Dehner) and the two strike up a friendship.

THE LEFT HANDED GUN wasn't one of the first attempts by Hollywood to tell the Billy the Kid story. Countless Westerns had been done on the infamous Bonney but this one here really doesn't work all that well. Of course, if one is interested in history then it's probably best that you really stay away from this as it's yet another sugar-coated version of the story that makes Bonney out to be a troubled but good guy.

I personally don't care on how historically accurate the story is. What I care about is the entertainment factor and I think that is quite low here. It's really too bad something better wasn't done with the story because you have some good elements scattered throughout but sadly, in the end, it all adds up to nothing. I thought the B&W cinematography was extremely good and I also thought we got a good score to listen to. Dehner really steals the show as Pat Garrett and I really loved the actor's outburst at the wedding.

You'd think that Billy the Kid would be a good role for Newman but he seems a tad bit lost in the setting. He gives a good performance but I think he probably would have been better served in another film. The character just never fully gets explored and the actor is left without too much to do. THE LEFT HANDED GUN will be worth watching if you're a die-hard fan of Newman but others should check out a different version of the story.


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