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2,243 Ratings

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Directed by John Ford
United States, 1962
Drama, Western


Questions arise when a Senator returns to a small Western town to attend the funeral of a local man he once saved from a notorious outlaw who spread terror across the town. He reveals the truth behind his ‘good’ deed.

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Directed by John Ford

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1963 | Nominee: Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

National Film Preservation Board

2007 | Winner: National Film Registry

The final thirty minutes of Liberty Valance feature some of Ford’s most patient and contemplative filmmaking, and they remain as relevant as ever in their depiction of a fictional western town grappling with its lawless past while striving to forge a civil and humanist future. The theme of “printing the legend” is self-evident to today’s audiences but, within the context of the film, it serves as the final emotional knockout in one of the most poignant endings in American cinema.
December 07, 2016
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John Ford’s 1962 epic, the most romantic of all Westerns, is also the greatest American political movie… Ford shows both the rousing myth and the humbling truth—about the violence on which law is based, about politics, and about love. His sense of a higher mission resounds each time Tom—with just enough sarcasm to mask his reverence—calls the lawyer "pilgrim.
December 02, 2016
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Shot in black-and-white and on the Paramount sound stages, Ford contrasts his previously-confident recreations of early Western life with a humble perspective of an often-idealized convention. Both Stewart and Wayne were middle-aged, though their characters are supposed to be young men in their heyday. What appears to be lack of continuity adds a surrealist effect to one of the most streamlined genres.
April 26, 2013
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