The Shootist

From the opening montage of clips from Wayne's earlier films to the final superb shootout in a cavernous saloon, Siegel's film is a subtle, touching valedictory tribute to both Wayne and the Western in general. With none of the indulgence that permeated True Grit, Wayne is perfect as the dying gunfighter attempting to live out his last days in peace and obscurity, but prevented from doing so by various younger gunmen out for revenge or to prove their worth against him. The performances are uniformly excellent, Bruce Surtees' photography is infused with an appropriately wintry feel, and Siegel handles both pace and tone beautifully; the admitted sentimentality is thoroughly in keeping with the elegiac tale of old-timers reconsidering their lives. If you're one of those who still feel that Wayne couldn't act, watch this and change your mind.

Release details

Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Don Siegel
Screenwriter: Miles Hood Swarthout, Scott Hale
Cast: John Wayne
Lauren Bacall
Ron Howard
James Stewart
Richard Boone
Hugh O'Brian
Bill McKinney
Harry Morgan
John Carradine
Sheree North
Scatman Crothers
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