The Shootist (1976) - Drama, Romance, Western

Hohum Score



A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

IMDB: 7.6
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall
Length: 100 Minutes
PG Rating: PG
Reviews: 14 out of 168 found boring (8.33%)

One-line Reviews (59)

I really enjoyed it though.

It is a very tense, suspenseful scene.

It's very entertaining, above all else.

I ought to mention the evocative locations and the period production design by Robert Boyle.

In *The Shootist*, the actor is facing much more compelling circumstances that changing political and social attitudes.

Wayne, the American movie myth was, in fact, a talker, a sardonic, compelling amusing talker representing a unique compound of personal stoicism and a compulsive need for the company of others.

When word of his presence gets out plenty of local men think they can take him in a gunfight; something he decides might be better than a slow death from cancer.

When the violence does erupt, however, it is occasionally graphic but always exciting.

It felt gratuitous and contrived.

Once you accept that, the movie is riveting.

Atmospheric and evocative cinematography by Bruce Surtees.

The search for peace and resignation at the end of this gunslinger's life is very compelling.

It is understated yet compelling in its creation of a fictional scenario that rings as true as any Western story.

It's intriguing to watch Wayne's character develop from a former lawman and gunfighter into a human being, as evidenced by a couple of interesting scenes.

Wayne was diagnosed with cancer and this is supposed to be a tribute , but instead of being sad and poignant ends up as feeling both self indulgent and tasteless .

Ron Howard is compelling as the representation for the hope of the future, understanding that Wayne is really a living legend, and it's time for legends to become that.

Slow paced and not as deep character-wise as I would have liked, this is still a touching and enjoyable swansong for Wayne .

He rode into town as a sick and aging knight in dull armor.

Lauren Bacall, whose husband Humphrey Bogart had also died of cancer, is compelling as the landlady who discovers she's really, in a way, tougher than the gunfighter she's reluctantly housing.

Aside from the entire cast being far too old for their parts, the film itself is just a slow, boring, low budget, made-for-TV effort.

It contains an enjoyable and thrilling musical score by Elmer Bernstein in his usual style .

Thank you, John Wayne, for entertaining us with all your good western films !

The death of an American Icon who was as much part of us all left an empty stall in the stables of our hearts and imaginations where he had taken us so many times before to leave our drab mundane problems and share his winning Maureen O'Hara, Loretta Young, Claire Trevor, Gail Russell or some other beautiful woman.

It's a very slow moving western .

On the way to a thrilling climax, Books takes time to make friends with the owner of a boarding house (played with class by the great Lauren Bacall),and her son (played by Ron Howard).

It is worth watching the film for the set alone.

The movie is riveting and features strong performances from all concerned.

While hardly a faultless film, The Shootist's genuine emotional impact and superb performances make its saccharine celebration of Wayne substantially easier to stomach, with Siegel's intriguing directorial touches making for a more nuanced and thematically rich watch.

The gunman receives a bottle of laudanum to swig whenever the pain gets intense, and some sound advice - the death he is likely to suffer from the cancer will be extremely unpleasant, and he might wish to choose another way to go.

Howard, of course, is now best known as a director; if his acting career is remembered it is for his role that bland TV series `Happy Days'.

Eschewing the trappings of a famous gunfighter, he tries in vain to keep his identity a secret and to buck the legends that had built up around him, going as far as to put a gun in the mouth of and literally kick the butt of a pretentious would-be biographer.

Hardly a cinematic triumph as much as a narrative epilogue to a career spanning decades, The Shootist may easily polarize many audience members, incredulously dismissing it as a nauseatingly self-indulgent hull with a virtually nonexistent, leisurely plot: a mere construction stuffed with loving winks and self-references (from its retrieval of past co-stars and friends of Wayne's to actually using past footage of his older films for flashbacks) for the sake of giving Wayne one last pat on the back rather than a self-sustaining narrative.

Enjoyable,believable and one for the admirers of a perennial Western hero who will surely never be forgotten !

Wayne is worth seeing here, and certainly the reverence paid to him (via Books) is touching, but it's a banal, by-the-numbers exercise.

Stewart's boundless charisma and chemistry with Wayne justify his presence, being consistently memorable and enjoyable.

Wayne's ersatz father figure, John Ford, died of a slow death from cancer a couple of years before this movie was made.

There are many other famous actors and actresses that play key roles and make this a very enjoyable movie to watch, of course more than once.

"The Shootist" is a simple but very enjoyable western.

Very enjoyable.

The two most gripping scenes have little to do with guns.

This movie is worth watching if you like Wayne movies or quality movies.

With an all star cast and a very exciting screenplay, this was a great exit for the screen for John Wayne.

Unfortunately, these intriguing echoes cannot hide the fact that 'The Shootist' is fundamentally a bad film: Wayne can't act, the film bestows upon his character a preposterous and unjustified dignity; and, as in so many westerns, the rate of attrition simply doesn't make sense.

Don Siegel directed this movie -- a post-modern enough guy, I suppose, but even so, not the most intuitive choice for this relatively non-violent project, though there are occasional splashes of Peckinpahian bright-orange blood, and Siegel DOES evince his usual editorial brilliance with the exciting final shootout in the bar.

The movie is obviously a metaphor for the icon that is the Duke, and what an enjoyable experience it is.

Many of his so called "classics" feature him playing boring, Uber macho, emotionally distant characters with little to no redeeming qualities.

Gone is the 100% predictable and bullet-proof cowboy of yesterday.

He wants peace and quiet but the previous lifetime he has led means that this is denied him; essentially, in between gun fights we have regret, hero worship and missed opportunities all mulled over at a pace that is rather slow but still quite engaging.

It is a beautiful, perfectly paced, funny, moving and exciting film.

Just a quick note on the more mundane aspects.

Well, she did decently in To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep, but all the other roles I've seen of hers were painfully dull.

Worth watching for historic reasons, and simply because it is a great movie.

As both characters try to come to grips with this diagnosis, I was left wondering: am I watching the work of two gifted actors play acting in a movie or am I watching two old friends bringing their reality into the movie?.

Nobody wants to watch a man die a slow and agonizing death.

Let's face it: some of Wayne's previous roles were a little repetitive.

I like John Wayne's later movies better than his older movies, because I think that his roles as grizzled old Cowboys (see "The Cowboys" and "True Grit") are more moving ,likeable, and unpredictable than his roles as young heroes who save the day and get the girl in every movie.

Books, the titular "shootist," is arguably Wayne's deepest character he would ever play; and his story is one of the most compelling of Wayne's entire career.

Another compelling aspect of the film is the stellar cast that was assembled.

The great John Wayne delivers a stunning performance as an aged gunslinger living out his final days, awaiting death from cancer.