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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 »
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

Paul Newman, Charles Bronson, Gene Hackman and Clint Eastwood turned down the lead role before John Wayne was cast. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene labeled as being set in 1871, a pair of Colt Peacemaker revolvers with 4-3/4 inch barrels is shown. This model was developed for the US Army in 1873. Civilian sales started in 1875, and the 4-3/4 barrel length wasn't available until 1877. See more »

Quotes

Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido: The day they lay you away, what I'll do on your grave won't pass for flowers.
See more »

Connections

References Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
You Really Should See This Film
20 October 2003 | by Dr. MikeSee all my reviews

John Wayne is an icon, and so many viewers seem to use his work as a referendum on the larger geo-political issues of our time. I find that distasteful, as this isn't a political movie, and one that doesn't even have an oppressed indigenous person in it. This is a personal story of a man who "has outlived his time", who is dying of cancer, and yet is determined to die with dignity. John Wayne really was dying of cancer when he made this movie... he gathered old friends around him--the widow of Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, John Carradine, and addressed the topic of how legends die. (Selling the rights for his corpse to be displayed by the undertaker for $50 cash in advance was a particularly interesting idea.) I am viewing this film 27 years after it was made, and there is 'something' it had which is absent from movies today. It is a film addressing mature themes for one thing, but it had a pacing, and made time for it's dialouge--it was never dull, never slow, but proceeded towards it's climax with the sort of gravitas you very rarely see in today's cinematic roller coaster rides, which have become little more than special effects vehicles. There is another reason to see this film--it looks back at 1901 with a loving vision. I was impressed with the historical accuracy in which it was filmed--it was impressive to see the town, from the horsedrawn street car and the Stanley Steamer, to little things like the flour dispenser in the kitchen. (Wondered where it was filmed--perhaps the old Old Tucson Studio before it burned down and was rebuilt to be a tourist attraction?) Anyway, this was a lovingly crafted film--I don't know if Hollywood could still pull this off "as real" in 2003. So, for big reasons and small, "The Shootist" is worth your time. It is deeper than it looks.


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