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Hang 'Em High (1968)

When an innocent man barely survives a lynching, he returns as a lawman determined to bring the vigilantes to justice.

Director:

Ted Post

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Marshal Jed Cooper
Inger Stevens ... Rachel Warren
Ed Begley ... Captain Wilson
Pat Hingle ... Judge Fenton
Ben Johnson ... Marshal Dave Bliss
Charles McGraw ... Sheriff Ray Calhoun
Ruth White ... Madame 'Peaches' Sophie
Bruce Dern ... Miller
Alan Hale Jr. ... Matt Stone
Arlene Golonka ... Jennifer
James Westerfield ... Prisoner
Dennis Hopper ... The Prophet
L.Q. Jones ... Loomis
Michael O'Sullivan ... Francis Elroy Duffy
Joseph Sirola ... Reno
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Storyline

A band of vigilantes catch Jed Cooper and, incorrectly believing him guilty of cattle rustling and murder, hang him and leave him for dead. But he doesn't die. He returns to his former profession of lawman to hunt down his lynchers and bring them to justice. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The hanging was the best show in town. But they made two mistakes. They hung the wrong man and they didn't finish the job. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hang 'Em High See more »

Filming Locations:

Dona Ana, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Bruce Dern appears in this film with Dennis Hopper, who would later appear with his daughter Laura Dern in Blue Velvet. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie a piece of camera equipment can be plainly seen lying on the bottom of the gallows. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[to a calf]
Jed Cooper: I'm gonna have to carry ya, huh?
See more »

Alternate Versions

As with many westerns at the time the UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to reduce facial closeups during the opening lynching and to edit Cooper's fight with Miller. Later video/DVD releases were intact. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crash Bandicoot: Warped (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Shall We Gather at the River?
(uncredited)
By Robert Lowry
Sung by crowd before mass hanging
See more »

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User Reviews

Deserves got nothin' to do with it...
7 January 2004 | by catch22000See all my reviews

This was Clint Eastwood's American Western debut that I had never really seen all the way through until now. At first I thought it would be another ride 'em high, cowboys n' indians flick that was popular in America those days... before Sergio Leone shook the genre down to its raw and merciless possibilities.

The film was pretty good, and the moral undercurrent of justice "by a dirty rope on the plain, or a judge in a robe standing before the American flag" is rather striking. The Federal judge is by far one of the most interesting characters I have seen yet in a Western.

Indeed, the grittiest and most barbaric scene is not the lynching of an innocent man, but the public hanging on the eve of statehood... to prove that Oklahoma Territory executed the sort of justice required of a "civilized" state of the Union. It is made a public spectacle with beautiful hymns and cold beer. And just the way each of the condemned faces his execution is tongue in cheek.

Then there was the campfire scene where Captain Wilson confers with his employees regarding their options: irony, fear and desperation. They put a human face on their culpability, similiarly echoed decades later by Little Bill's "I don't deserve this, I was building house." And the few who chose not to run chose a desperate and violent option.

A dillemic "no one wins" justice spiralling into graphic violence... and ultimately an undiginified and graceless death. What was perfected into poignant brevity by Unforgiven was born in Hang Em High's exploration of two men's differing approaches to an unforgiving justice... a justice that led either to the end of a noose, or the end of a gun.

Not bad at all...


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