The Naked Spur (1953)
Pssst, want to check out The Naked Spur in our new look?
See all comments
A rapist; a manipulator; an indifferent, bossy old man; and a mostly nice guy, what a rough spot for a lady.
the ending bugged me a bit but overall great western.
I didn't expect a 1950s western to be as dark and dirty as The Naked Spur is, but it's essentially The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with the gold mine replaced with a wanted man. Jimmy Stewart's bounty hunter is a broken and anguished man who's lost his way trying to reclaim his life, ostensibly by getting the bounty on Robert Ryan's manipulative outlaw. Things get complicated early on when Stewart needs help from an old prospector (Millard Mitchell), and even more complicated when a dishonorably discharged soldier (Ralph Meeker) shows up and lends a hand, hoping for a piece of the pie. Oh, and then there's Janet Leigh as a woman who believes the outlaw is innocent. And that's it. No other actors have lines, even the most modest human settlement is absent. In the Wilderness, Man is allowed to revert to his bestial nature. This very compact five-hander provides plenty of conflict, and opportunities for Ryan to exploit. In the end, I wish Leigh's character were a little more than a symbol, but everything she does is for one man or another, and the engine for a moral twist that fits a fable better than the grotty realism built up to that point.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!
In 10 official lists
View all lists this movie is in
This movie ranks #19 in A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese
This movie ranks #59 in BFI's 100 Westerns
This movie ranks #157 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000
This movie ranks #223 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #260 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #354 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #464 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #596 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #642 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #837 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films