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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 22 April 1962 (USA)
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A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

James Warner Bellah (screenplay), Willis Goldbeck (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,379 ( 10)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Tom Doniphon
James Stewart ... Ransom Stoddard
Vera Miles ... Hallie Stoddard
Lee Marvin ... Liberty Valance
Edmond O'Brien ... Dutton Peabody
Andy Devine ... Link Appleyard
Ken Murray ... Doc Willoughby
John Carradine ... Maj. Cassius Starbuckle
Jeanette Nolan ... Nora Ericson
John Qualen ... Peter Ericson
Willis Bouchey ... Jason Tully - Conductor
Carleton Young ... Maxwell Scott
Woody Strode ... Pompey
Denver Pyle ... Amos Carruthers
Strother Martin ... Floyd
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Storyline

When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. He had come to town many years before, a lawyer by profession. The stage was robbed on its way in by the local ruffian, Liberty Valance, and Stoddard has nothing to his name left save a few law books. He gets a job in the kitchen at the Ericson's restaurant and there meets his future wife, Hallie. The territory is vying for Statehood and Stoddard is selected as a representative over Valance, who continues terrorizing the town. When he destroys the local newspaper office and attacks the editor, Stoddard calls him out, though the conclusion is not quite as straightforward as legend would have it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Two Great Stars Appear Together For the First Time! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

John Ford Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

First occasion of John Wayne calling someone "Pilgrim". See more »

Goofs

During the convention, Ransom is seated with several extras behind him in the long shots. But in the close-up shots, he is seen alone, with no one standing or seated behind him. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ransom Stoddard: [descending from railway carriage and consulting pocket watch] Thanks, Jason. On time.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Main Theme
(The Dew Is On the Blossom) (1939) (uncredited)
from Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Music by Alfred Newman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
John Ford's Meditation On The Passing Of The Wild West
11 June 2007 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

Based on a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE tells the story of Ransom Stoddard, an eastern attorney who has the misfortune to be victimized by notorious outlaw Liberty Valance during a stagecoach robbery. Left for dead, Stoddard is rescued by rancher Tom Doniphon and brought to the small town of Shinbone. Disgusted by the lawlessness of the area, he determines to use not a gun but the law itself to end Valance's reign of terror.

Released in 1962, VALANCE was among the last films directed by John Ford, who was more closely associated with the Western than any other Hollywood director--and in one sense it certainly has the classic "good guy vs. bad guy" plot one expects from from a western classic. But Ford was not a superficial artist, and VALANCE is a remarkably multi-layered film that plays much deeper than you might expect.

Tom Doniphon is all that is right about the west; Liberty Valance is all that is wrong. But both are part and parcel of the same code, a society in which law and order are merely words on the lips of a cowardly marshal, a world where a man either dominates through fear or is dominated by it. It is a world that is coming to an end--and Rance Stoddard is in the vanguard of the new civilization. Both Doniphon and Liberty must fall before Stoddard if the worst of the west is to be tamed.

The cast is superior. James Stewart (Stoddard) and John Wayne (Doniphon) have unexpected chemistry on screen, and Lee Marvin (Valance) is easily one of the most unpleasant black-hats you could ever want to see in a western, vicious to the point of being psychotic. Supporting players Vera Miles, Andy Devine, Edmund O'Brien, and Woody Strode are equally fine. Although the script is occasionally a shade overwrought, it is laced with a very fine irony and sense of loss, and John Ford brings all the various pieces together without beating the viewer to death in the process.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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