The Shootist ()

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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.

  • Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations.
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Cast verified as complete

J.B. Books
Bond Rogers
Gillom Rogers
Dr. Hostetler
Marshall Thibido
Dobkins (as Richard Lenz)
Burly Man
Streetcar Driver
Girl on Streetcar (as Melody Thomas)
School Teacher
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Berle ...
Man Outside Metropole (uncredited)
Books' Victim in Flashback (uncredited) (archiveFootage)
Chuck Dawson ...
Extra (uncredited)
Man Delivering Headstone (uncredited)
Barfly (uncredited)
Books' Victim in Flashback (uncredited) (archiveFootage)
Book's Victim (uncredited)
Books' Victim in Flashback (uncredited) (archiveFootage)
Murray the Bartender (uncredited)
Jim Michael ...
Barfly (uncredited)
Ernesto Molinari ...
Barfly (uncredited)
Books' Fellow Lawman in Flashback (uncredited) (archiveFootage)
Gambler (uncredited)
Nick Raymond ...
Barfly (uncredited)
Henry Slate ...
Pulford Confidant (uncredited)
Books' Victim in Flashback (uncredited) (archiveFootage)
Ralph Volkie ...
White-Haired Bartender (uncredited)
John Zimeas ...
Barfly (uncredited)

Directed by

Don Siegel

Written by

Glendon Swarthout ... (novel)
Miles Hood Swarthout ... (screenplay) and
Scott Hale ... (screenplay)

Produced by

M.J. Frankovich ... producer
William Self ... producer

Music by

Elmer Bernstein

Cinematography by

Bruce Surtees ... director of photography

Film Editing by

Douglas Stewart

Editorial Department

Jerrold L. Ludwig ... assistant editor

Production Design by

Robert F. Boyle ... (as Robert Boyle)

Set Decoration by

Arthur Jeph Parker ... (as Arthur Parker)

Makeup Department

Joe DiBella ... makeup artist (as Joe Di Bella)
Dave Grayson ... makeup artist
Vivienne Walker ... hair stylist

Production Management

Russell Saunders ... executive production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Joseph C. Cavalier ... assistant director (as Joe Cavalier)
Joe Florence ... second assistant director

Art Department

Bill Dietz ... property master
Richard Lawrence ... assistant art director
Joseph M. LeBaron ... construction coordinator
Richard Amsel ... poster artist (uncredited)
William Cruse ... set designer (uncredited)

Sound Department

Les Fresholtz ... sound re-recordist
Michael Minkler ... sound re-recordist
Al Overton ... sound mixer (as Alfred J. Overton)
Arthur Piantadosi ... sound re-recordist
Jerry Whittington ... sound effects editor (uncredited)

Special Effects by

Augie Lohman ... special effects
David Domeyer ... special effects (uncredited)
Ted Koerner ... special effects (uncredited)


Denny Arnold ... stunts (uncredited)
Jim Burk ... stunt double (uncredited) / stunt double: John Wayne (uncredited) / stunts (uncredited)
Roydon Clark ... stunts (uncredited)
Terry Leonard ... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson ... stunts (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Kenneth Adams ... key grip
Thomas Del Ruth ... camera operator (as Tom Del Ruth)
Charles Holmes ... gaffer (as Chuck Holmes)
Richard A. Mention III ... camera assistant (as Rick Mention)
Timothy E. Wade ... camera assistant
Robert Jason ... electrician (uncredited)
Douglas Kirkland ... still photographer (uncredited)
Chris Strong ... electrician (uncredited)
Dave Sutton ... still photographer (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Luster Bayless ... costumes: men
Moss Mabry ... costumes: Miss Bacall
Edna Taylor ... costumes: ladies

Music Department

Jack Hayes ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Dan Wallin ... score mixer (uncredited)

Script and Continuity Department

Betsy Norton ... script supervisor

Transportation Department

Chris Haynes ... driver (uncredited)

Additional Crew

Jack Casey ... publicist
Eudie Charnes ... production coordinator
Dino De Laurentiis ... presenter
Al Horwits ... public relations
Buzz Barton ... horse wrangler (uncredited)
Robert S. Birchard ... dailies projectionist (uncredited)
Martha Manor ... stand-in (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

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

Plot Keywords
Taglines He's got to face a gunfight once more to live up to his legend once more - TO WIN JUST ONE MORE TIME. See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Le dernier des géants (France)
  • Der Scharfschütze (Germany)
  • El último pistolero (Spain)
  • Der Shootist (West Germany)
  • Der Shootist (Austria)
  • See more »
  • 100 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Did You Know?

Trivia James Stewart agreed to play a cameo role in the film only because John Wayne had specifically requested him. His brief screen time proved to be rather difficult. The bad acoustics of the huge, hollow sound stages worsened his hearing difficulties, and he stayed by himself most of the time. He and Wayne muffed their lines so often in the main scene between them that director Don Siegel accused them of not trying hard enough. Wayne's reply was a variation on an old John Ford line, advising the director, "If you'd like the scene done better, you'd better get a couple of better actors." Later on, the star told friends that Stewart had known his lines, but hadn't been able to hear his cues, and that in turn had caused his own fumbling. See more »
Goofs Dr Hostetler asserts that the strongest analgesic available at the time (January 1901) is laudanum, or tincture of opium. This is untrue. Both morphine, isolated in 1803 and commercially available from Merck from 1827 on, and heroin, isolated in 1874 and commercially available from Bayer from 1895 on, would give far better pain management. Those substances would be administered intravenously, however, and laudanum had the advantage of being administered orally. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in The Top Ten Films of 1976 (1977). See more »
Soundtracks Willow, Tit Willow See more »
Crazy Credits The opening "Blue Mountain" Paramount logo which was used by the studio from 1975 thru 1987 is presented in black and white! See more »
Quotes Gillom Rogers: [first lines, voiceover] His name was J.B. Books, and he had a matching pair of 45's with antique ivory grips that were something to behold. He wasn't an outlaw. The fact is for a while he was a lawman. Long before I met Mr. Books, he was a famous man. I guess his fame was why somebody or other was always after him. The wild country had taught him to survive. He lived his life and herded by himself. He had a credo that went:
John Bernard Books: I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.
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