The Gunfighter (1950)
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Wow. Criminally underrated.
fabulous script. one of the most intelligent westerns i've seen, with a central performance from Gregory Peck to do it justice
I love me a "last western" western, and 1950's The Gunfighter is an early example. Gregory Peck plays Jimmy Ringo, a gunslinger with a reputation for fastest gun in the West, and though that may have been fun at first, now he's sick of having to fight (and kill) every young turk who wants to test him, and indeed, the law. In this simple but effective film, Ringo just wants to talk to the woman he loves for 5 minutes, and keep his head down, but his reputation is quickly catching up, everyone after him for revenge or to take his place. It's a fine dissection of the Wild West's heroic myth, showing its allure, but exposing its darkest and destructively macho side. Trading on the Ringo name, it makes you think this really happened, but of course it was JOHNNY Ringo who tangled with the Earps in Tombstone. This is an alternate reality where JIMMY Ringo was the better gunfighter, but also the better man. Perhaps not as stylish as the similar High Noon, but it does what it came to do, and does it well.
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In 7 official lists
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This movie ranks #34 in BFI's 100 Westerns
This movie ranks #39 in IMDb's Western Top 50
This movie ranks #305 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #307 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #460 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #942 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #1268 in The Criterion Collection