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)
George Dunn ...
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
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)


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)
Henry Wills ... stunts wrangler (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)
Dave Sutton ... still photographer (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

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

Music Department

Dan Wallin ... score mixer (uncredited)

Transportation Department

Chris Haynes ... driver (uncredited)

Other crew

Jack Casey ... publicist
Eudie Charnes ... production coordinator
Dino De Laurentiis ... presenter
Al Horwits ... public relations
Betsy Norton ... script supervisor
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 only agreed to play a cameo role in the film because John Wayne had specifically requested him. His short time on the film proved to be trying. 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. Because Stewart's movie career had ended several years before, he was only paid 50,000 dollars for his part. See more »
Goofs In the final shooting when the bartender shoots Mr. Books, the squib detonation wires are visible on the ground and leading up each man's leg. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in The Top Ten Films of 1976 (1977). See more »
Soundtracks Willow, Tit Willow 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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