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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

When J.B. Books (John Wayne) arrives at Dr. E.W. Hostetler's (James Stewart) office, Hostetler mentions that it has been 15 years since they last saw each other. The inside joke is that Wayne and Stewart last worked together on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), 15 years before. See more »

Goofs

When Books is riding the trolley for the last time and talking with a young lady, a modern garage door is visible behind him. This type of garage door was not invented for another 25 years. See more »

Quotes

John Bernard Books: First things, first, Doc. I almost forgot to ask you. How much do I owe you?
Dr. E.W. Hostetler: You're a man after my own heart, Books. Most of them ask that last, if at all. Well, let's see. We'll make it four dollars for the two visits plus one dollar for that.
John Bernard Books: What's that.?
Dr. E.W. Hostetler: They call that laudanum, a solution of opium and alcohol.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in State of Grace (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
It's what we call a fall spring
9 January 2005 | by Clark RichardsSee all my reviews

The Shootist is a great swan song to the film career of John Wayne and a great movie on its own merit. The parallels between Wayne's life at the time the film was made and the character(J.B.Brooks) he plays in the movie only add a poignant sadness. This sadness is part of the film, it never lets up. The first jolt of sadness comes when we see Wayne visiting with the town doctor, played by Jimmy Stewart. Wayne is diagnosed with an incurable cancer. This news seems to trouble Stewarts character as much as it does with Waynes. As both characters try to come to grips with this diagnosis, I was left wondering: am I watching the work of two gifted actors play acting in a movie or am I watching two old friends bringing their reality into the movie?. Whatever the case, the scene is very moving.

Also in the cast is Lauren Bacall as the recently widowed inn keeper. She helps keep Wayne's character fulfilled and feisty during his last days. Ironicly, this job was something she was familiar with, as she did this in real life with her late husband Humphrey Bogart.

There are many good performances by the rest of the cast. But it is the circumstances under which they were filmed for Wayne, that make his a truly unbelievable performance. There are two of his scenes that stand out for me: 1) Listening to John Wayne and Scatman Crothers haggle over the selling price of Wayne's horse. Yeah, it might not sound like much here in print, but that's just a testimony of how well these two actors pull that scene off. Just great. 2) Seeing John Wayne enter the saloon with a purpose for the last time. Truly one of the most bone chilling cinematic moments of all time.

If you love John Wayne then I'm certain that you love this film already. If you can take or leave John Wayne, you might at least like this film. But if you don't care for Wayne or for that matter, if you don't like westerns, you'll probably still like this film. At least I hope so. 9/10.

Clark Richards


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