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The Shootist (1976)

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A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3,916 ( 1,981)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... J.B. Books
... Bond Rogers
... Gillom Rogers
... Dr. Hostetler
... Sweeney
... Pulford
... Cobb
... Marshall Thibido
... Beckum
... Serepta
... Dobkins (as Richard Lenz)
... Moses
... Burly Man
Alfred Dennis ... Barber
... Streetcar Driver
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Storyline

John Books an aging gunfighter goes to see a doctor he knows for a second opinion after another doctor told him he has a cancer which is terminal. The doctor confirms what the other said. He says Books has a month maybe two left. He takes a room in the boarding house and the son of the woman who runs it recognizes him and tells his mother who he is. She doesn't like his kind but when he tells her of his condition, she empathizes. Her son wants him to teach him how to use a gun. Books tries to tell him that killing is not something he wants to live with. Books, not wanting to go through the agony of dying from cancer, tries to find a quicker way to go. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's got to face a gunfight once more to live up to his legend once more - TO WIN JUST ONE MORE TIME.

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 August 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Scharfschütze  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,987,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally John Wayne did not want to grow a beard in order to play J.B. Books. However, he soon agreed it looked right for the character. See more »

Goofs

When Bond and Books first meet, Books tells Bond that his name is William Hickock, former marshal of Abilene. Bond tells Gillom what Books said, and Gillom tells her that Wild Bill Hickock died before he (Gillom) was born. Wild Bill Hickock's name was James Butler Hickock, not William Hickock. See more »

Quotes

Gillom Rogers: [Gillom is dusting off a carriage as Books and Mrs. Rogers prepare for a drive to Lake Tahoe] Moses says he don't rent out this buggy too often.
Mrs. Rogers: Doesn't.
Gillom Rogers: 'Doesn't'... except for funerals.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who Is Cletis Tout? (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Maple Leaf Rag
(uncredited)
Music by Scott Joplin
[Portion whistled by Ron Howard]
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User Reviews

 
Wayne is magnificent and perfect as the dying gunslinger trying to live out his last days in calmness and obscurity
7 February 2018 | by See all my reviews

A stirring story of an old-timer reconsiderating his life and who holds a personal code of honor . John Wayne's touching last role , here performs a legendary gunslinger afflicted with Cancer who seeks solace , tranquility and peace and to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity . But town bad guys as Richard Boone and Hugh O'Brian , aren't about to let him rest and are determined to gun him down to revenge past events .

One of Wayne's best in which from the opening edition of clips from Wayne's earliest movies as ¨Rio Rojo , Rio Bravo¨ , to the ending impressive shootout in the cavernous saloon , Siegel film is moving , quiet and subtle . The picture pays tribute to John Wayne with none of the indulgences , humor and irony that permeated ¨True Grit and Rogster Cogburn ¨ . John Wayne heads the top-drawer main and support cast , he gives a very good as well as dignified acting as a dying gunfighter who spends his last days looking for a way to die rightly but prevented from doing so various younger gunmen out for vendetta or to prove their worth against him . However , Paul Newman, Charles Bronson, Gene Hackman and Clint Eastwood turned down the lead role before John Wayne was cast. Infused with an appropriately wintry feel ,the admitted sentimentality and sadness is maintained througly and in keeping with the elegiatic style . This one results to be a valedictory tribute to both , the Western in general and the great Wayne , the Duke , in particular . The interpretations are uniformly top-notch , standing out an awesome plethora of secondaries as James Stewart , Lauren Bacall , Ron Howard ,John Carradine , Sheree North , Bill McKinney , Harry Morgan , among others . It contains an enjoyable and thrilling musical score by Elmer Bernstein in his usual style . Atmospheric and evocative cinematography by Bruce Surtees.

The motion picture was well directed by Donad Siegel who handles both tone and pace wonderfully . Donald made his reputation in the early and mid-'50s with a series of tightly made , expertly crafted , tough but intelligent "B" pictures , among them : The Lineup (1958), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) , then graduated to major "A" films in the 1960s and early 1970s . Director Siegel brought an entirely new approach to the Sci-Fi field Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) . He made several "side trips" to television, mostly as a producer . Siegel directed what is generally considered to be Elvis Presley's best picture , Flamingo Star (1960). All of Eastwood's later Western and his ¨Dirty Harry¨ movies owe a considerable debt to Sergio Leone and Donald Siegel . As Donald directed Eastwood in various films , such as : ¨Coogan's bluff , The beguiled , Dirty Harry , Escape from Alcatraz and Two mules and sister Sara¨. He had a long professional relationship and personal friendship with Clint Eastwood , who has often said that everything he knows about filmmaking he learned from Don Siegel .


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