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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Actors: Mario Arteaga, Gertrude Astor, Paul Birch, Danny Borzage, Willis B. Bouchey
"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." That's more than the code of a newspaperman in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; it's practically the operating credo of director John Ford, the most honored of American fi...  more »


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Movie Reviews

Right Up There With The Best of the West....
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 08/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This review refers to the Paramount ("Widescreen Collection") DVD of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"...

For over 40 years this western has stood the test of time. It's one that I could watch anytime,a great story,with a tremendous cast and a legendary director. I was thrilled to see it on DVD and even more so when I saw how good it looked.

Directed by John Ford, it stars, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Vera Miles.Stewart plays "Ransom Stoddard", an Eastern type bookish lawyer, who arrives in "Shinbone" naive to the code of the west. After witnessing the terroristic ways of one bad hombre, Liberty Valance(Lee Marvin),and his group of thugs, Ransom plans to rid the town of this menace, but is gonna do it legal like. At the same time, he is in competition for the fairest lady in town, with another good but tough guy...John Wayne.

The story of Liberty Valance's demise is told by Stoddard after returning to town decades later.He is now an esteemed Senator, and has been a legend in his own time for freeing Shinbone from the hold Valance had on it. But what is the real story of what happened that fateful day? The story unfolds captivatingly.

A great DVD. This 1962 Black and White looks crisp and clear,it is presented in widescreen, and is enhanced with Dolby Digital 5.1 or may be viewed in the restored mono. Other than a theatrical trailer, you wont find any special features, although this is a film you can just kick back and enjoy for itself. There are English subtitles for hearing impaired.

As I said it has a tremendous cast and you can never go wrong with a John Ford Western. But the cast doesn't end with the major stars. Here are some other notables to look for. Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine, Lee Van Cleef, Ken Murray, John Carradine, Jeanette Nolan, Woody Strode, Denver Pyle and Strother Martin.....WOW!

Westerns are my favorite genre, I probably have more Westerns in my collection then anything else.This one is a more subdued storyline than most shoot em ups, but is one of my personal favorites. I consider it right up there with "Shane" and "High Noon". If you love Westerns, this is a great addition to your collection.

Happy Trails.....Laurie

also recommended:
The Searchers / Stagecoach
Great Hollywood Westerns: Man Without A Star
Great American Western V.10, The"
A Top-10 Classic John Wayne Western
James Koenig | Minnesota | 07/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" is without a doubt, one of John Wayne's best western films. If you don't own this film, I highly recommend it. It is fun watching over and over again as the script is solid and engaging, and the acting performances among the three principle stars is more than superb!

"Vallance" is Oscar winning Director John Ford's last best effort in western film making. He put together an all-star cast and the cast put out for Ford as well, with stunning performances from John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Lee Marvin. Wayne's acting is Academy Award material. He brings a depth of character to the Tom Doniphon role that will have you remembering his performance long after the film ends. In one scene, a drunken and despondent Wayne returns to the home he has built for his future wife Hallie. In a rage, he lights a lantern and sets fire to the new structure, with the intention of burning it, and himself, to the ground. The scene is riveting, and the expressions and movements of Wayne are some of the greatest ever filmed.

Although John Wayne is the "star" of this film, the film in reality has three stars, Wayne, James Stewart, and Lee Marvin. Jimmy Stewart plays Ransom Stoddard, an idealistic lawyer who comes to bring legal law to the west. Stoddard is introducted to the west by none other than the terorist outlaw Liberty Valance, who robs the stage Stoddard is on. When Stoddard tries to resist the robbery of an elderly fellow passenger, Valance, played by Lee Marvin savagely beats him with a whip, leaving him to die. Wayne's character, Tom Doniphon, happens upon Stoddard and brings him to town. This sets the stage for the rest of the movie, as Stoddard tries to bring Liberty Valance to justice.

Lee Marvin's "Valance" is yet another superb acting performance. Whenever Marvin is on screen, there is tension and conflict, as Marvin plays the out of control Valance to the hilt. Marvin's acting rivals and matches those of Wayne and Stewart, making this a film that you will want to watch over and over again, for the acting performances alone.

The film hosts a fine supporting cast. Vera Miles very adequately plays Hallie, a young girl who has to decide upon the man she will spend the rest of her life with - Wayne or Stewart. Andy Devine provides comic relief as the bumbling overweight sheriff who avoids conflict any way he can.

Although a bit old in real life for the roles they play, both Stewart and Wayne excel in their parts to such an extent that the ages of the actors are forgotten. The plot is satisfying and in the end we finally learn who REALLY shot Liberty Valence, and what the death of Valance has on the lives of the characters.

In my list of the best westerns of all-time, "Liberty Valance" is certainly in the top 10. An added bonus is that this film can be viewed by the entire family; my boys especially have enjoyed the film. You will not regret buying this DVD.

Jim Konedog Koenig"
John Ford's spirited, psychological Western.......
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 10/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Undoubtedly, one of the finest westerns ever made...this exquisite example of film making is proof positive that not every western is a simplistic plot about "cowboys and indians".John Ford's stylish film is a brilliant psychological story about very different personalities and their violent meeting in the town of Shinbone. James Stewart plays the young, idealistic lawyer Ransom Stoddard...heading west in the hope of bringing law and justice to an untamed land. Enter Lee Marvin as the cold blooded and ruthless outlaw, Liberty Valance, ruling Shinbone and the surrounding territories by his own laws. And finally, John Wayne as the strong, iron-willed and well meaning Tom Doniphon....the only man with the courage to stand up to Liberty Valance.Ford's movie is additionally supported by several dynamic character actors...Andy Devine as the cowardly sheriff Link Appleyard, Edmond O'Brien is simply brilliant as habitually drunk news paper editor Dutton Peabody, Woody Strode as Doniphon's loyal ranch-hand Pompy, plus the villainous duo of Lee van Cleef & Strother Martin. What makes this movie so outstanding is that it appeals on so many an adventure, as a love story, as a tragedy, and ultimately as a tale well told. It moves with such eloquence and style, and the viewer is carried through each layer of this complex story with precision and feeling.This is easily one of my most watched and most enjoyed films, and a moving reminder of a talented film maker and some very fine actors excelling in their craft.I'm eagerly awaiting the DVD release of this one !!"
One of John Wayne's best
bixodoido | Utah, USA | 06/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Critics of John Wayne have often said that he only ever played one kind of Western character: a crude, tough-as-nails, trigger-happy, and irrational man who mistreated women but got their love anyway. Well, this movie should silence those critics. Wayne plays a gunslinger all right, but the character here (Tom Doniphan) is a unique one, to be sure. Also starring in this movie is James Stewart, who plays a young lawyer coming to bring 'law and order' to the West. He manages to get tangled up with a notorious villain, Liberty Vallance (Lee Marvin), and from there he and Doniphan's paths cross until SOMEBODY shoots Liberty. This is a great film by a great Director (John Ford). It leaves you with something to think about, and will definitely not allow you to think of the Duke's character (Doniphan) as a flat, one-sided gunman. In fact, this is Ford's idea of a sort of Western tragedy, and it is a good one. For storyline and plot, there are few John Wayne movies that top the Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance."