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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.

Director:

Don Siegel

Writers:

Glendon Swarthout (novel), Miles Hood Swarthout (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,818 ( 1,067)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... J.B. Books
Lauren Bacall ... Bond Rogers
Ron Howard ... Gillom Rogers
James Stewart ... Dr. Hostetler
Richard Boone ... Sweeney
Hugh O'Brian ... Pulford
Bill McKinney ... Cobb
Harry Morgan ... Marshall Thibido
John Carradine ... Beckum
Sheree North ... Serepta
Rick Lenz ... Dobkins (as Richard Lenz)
Scatman Crothers ... Moses
Gregg Palmer ... Burly Man
Alfred Dennis Alfred Dennis ... Barber
Dick Winslow ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 August 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Scharfschütze See more »

Filming Locations:

Carson City, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,987,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Many of the actors were felt to be too old for their characters, especially Ron Howard. See more »

Goofs

When Books arrives in Carson City, the newspaper he buys says "Monday Morning January 22, 1901" at the top. 22 January 1901 was actually a Tuesday. See more »

Quotes

[Books has just had a conversation with Mike Sweeney]
Mrs. Rogers: How do you know him?
John Bernard Books: I don't. I had some dealings with his brother Albert once.
Mrs. Rogers: What happened?
[Books looks at her]
Mrs. Rogers: Oh.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Maple Leaf Rag
(uncredited)
Music by Scott Joplin
[Portion whistled by Ron Howard]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Legend Comes To Town
9 September 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I've always felt that John Wayne at one point might have meant The Cowboys to be his farewell film. I'm sure that at some time we will learn he was having a health crisis then as he clearly is on this film, but that he recovered. Either The Shootist or The Cowboys could serve as his monument.

But in John Bernard Books, Wayne gives us one of his finest acted roles ever on screen, legendary gunfighter from the Old West who arrives in Carson City, Nevada to get a second opinion from Doctor James Stewart. It's a terminal cancer all right and it's going to be rough final trip.

News of Queen Victoria's dying is in the papers the day Wayne arrives in town. He admires the way she left the mortal coil and he resolves in his own mind a plan to go out the same way.

Wayne put a great cast together for The Shootist, some of them friends and colleagues he worked with over the years like James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, John Carradine, Harry Morgan, Hugh O'Brian and Richard Boone. If you read Lauren Bacall's memoirs you will be touched at the affection she felt for John Wayne, though their politics were light years apart. James Stewart was quoted as saying he was just honored to be in this film with the Duke.

One of John Wayne's best acted scenes ever in any of his films is with Sheree North who plays a former girl friend. She visits him and proposes marriage, but a little later it's learned that she's in cahoots with a 19th century tabloid writer Rick Lenz who wants to exploit his legend in a tell all memoir. To quote the Bard it was "the unkindest cut of all." I was more emotionally moved by that scene than with the final gunfight.

Which in itself is something. Wayne challenges local tough Bill McKinney, old enemy Richard Boone, and faro dealer and dead shot Hugh O'Brian to meet him. What happens you have to see the film for, but let's say that Wayne meets the dignified and courageous end we would expect of him.

In the three years left to him on earth it was rumored that John Wayne was interested in a few film projects, like maybe he was being saved for something even better. It didn't happen, sad to say, but they don't get better than The Shootist.

If they do, that'll be the day.


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