8.1/10
61,469
236 user 98 critic

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 22 April 1962 (USA)
Clip
0:32 | Clip

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
3,136 ( 683)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Searchers (1956)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles
Rio Bravo (1959)
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson
Stagecoach (1939)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
True Grit (1969)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell
High Noon (1952)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
El Dorado (1967)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan
The Quiet Man (1952)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he finds love.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald
Fort Apache (1948)
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
Red River (1948)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
Rio Grande (1950)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
Edit

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
Edit

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:

Together For The First Time - James Stewart - John Wayne - in the masterpiece of four-time Academy Award winner John Ford See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,891,143, 31 December 1963
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Lee Marvin's first scene (the stage hold-up) presented problems for the actor--he couldn't seem to get a handle on his character. After several takes, John Ford instructed the stage driver not to throw down the cash box when Marvin demanded it. This had the effect of greatly notching up Marvin's anger, causing him to shout, "NOW!" The take was printed. See more »

Goofs

During the train ride back with Stoddard and his wife, the scenery is going by so fast that it is hardly recognizable, however the conductor states that they'll be there in no time because they'll be going 25mph. At 25 mph you could easily view the countryside. Additionally, as the conductor was talking with Stoddad he was perfectly still, no swaying back and forth, as anyone would've done on a train in the 1800s. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

The Alphabet Song (A-B-C)
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung a cappella by children in Ransom's class
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
More Marvelous Mythology Played Out In The Old West
8 June 2002 | by henfishSee all my reviews

Ransom Stoddard (Stewart) arrives in the unlikely named town of Shinbone having had his arse 'wupped' by local bad-guy, Liberty Valance (Marvin); but does he seek a bloody revenge on his wicked nemesis? NO. He seeks justice by the book. You see, he's an attorney at law, and he desires to see civilised leanings spring up all over 'south of the Picket Wire'. Laughable really. The only law in the wild-west is the law of the gun. That's what's kept tough rancher, Tom Doniphan (Wayne) alive. And it's the only thing that will work for Stoddard... or is it?!?

Ford doesn't pretend that he's got anything new here. God no! What he's clearly interested in is the marriage (and divorce!) of the primal and the cerebral. He set's the whole thing in the wild-west (a genric canvas second to none) and relies on character and emotion to lead us way beyond the obvious plot. And what he delivers is a sublime debate on the inter-dependency of force and reason. For there are those not prepared to listen to reason and those disenfranchised by the reliance on force; and Ransom Stoddard eventually acknowledges this, embraces the essence of both codes and thereby supercedes Doniphan as the real 'hero' of the new renaissance of the American West.

This is an excellent piece of metaphorical mythology. The monochrome teases us of a 'black and white' world within which the 'reality' of life is oft contained within the shadows. Ford's direction of comedy and drama has never been bettered by himself (not even in the somewhat ponderous 'My Darling Clementine') and the dialogue risks allowing wisdom in Doniphon's horse-poke to be matched by an often acerbic, no-nonsense Stoddard. The characters (and the actors within them) are uniformly excellent. Stewart never puts a foot wrong and this is the high-water mark of Wayne's dramatic capability. The scene in which he realises his love is unrequited and subsequently drinks himself into oblivion reveals a depth few could have thought him capable of. Special mention must also go to Edmond O'Brien's avoidance of (surely tempting) caricaturing the newspaper editor and instead creating a most believable bridge of humanity between the values of the wild west and the civilised east. Lee Marvin's sullen rendition of the bad guy Valance is also outstanding. And it is to Ford's credit that you are always left uncertain as to whether Valance or Doniphan was the tougher cowboy.

The idea of a developing world allowing us to metaphorise our own understanding of and relationship with existence is as old as Zeus (and the God's that preceded him); and in the developing new world of the American west, nobody examined that potential better or more profoundly than John Ford. And this film is one of the crowning moments of that examination.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 236 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed