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89

Universal acclaim - based on 7 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 26 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: This classic 1952 Western stars Gary Cooper as just-married lawman Will Kane, who is about to retire as a small-town sheriff and begin a new life with his bride (Grace Kelly) when he learns that gunslinger Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) is due to arrive at high noon to settle an old score.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. 100
    The Western may be one of the few truly American art forms, and High Noon shows exactly how much potential it can embrace.
  2. Reviewed by: Bosley Crowther
    100
    Meaningful in its implications, as well as loaded with interest and suspense, High Noon is a western to challenge “Stagecoach” for the all-time championship. (Review of Original Release)
  3. 100
    A terrific piece of filmmaking. It's taut, believable as it unspools. It's charismatic, with a slow buildup of tension in near-real time that finally explodes into a blast of violence.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    100
    Not a frame is wasted in this taut, superbly directed, masterfully acted film, the first so-called "adult Western." (Review of Original Release)
  5. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    80
    Cooper does an unusually able job of portraying the marshal. (Review of Original Release)
  6. Possibly the most Rorschachian film of all time, a symbol-only text that effortlessly conforms to any political present, and finds a foothold in your social sphere whether you're a free radical or reactionary wing nut.
  7. Some of the results ring false, but the memorable theme song and some equally memorable character acting (by Thomas Mitchell and Lon Chaney Jr. more than Lloyd Bridges and Katy Jurado) help things along.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Mar 27, 2012
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. High Noon plays out in near real time - realistically building tension at a steady pace. There's little action before the climax of the film, with a huge focus on character interaction, as sherfif Will Kane (played by the excellent Gary Cooper) struggles in vain to enlist the townspeople's help. After the seventy minute long buildup, I was hoping for a worthy shootout, and was rewarded with a tense and dramatic finale. High Noon is a true classic that holds up easily today, and is a telling reflection on the cowardice and fear that can strike us all. Expand
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    An edgy, tightly wound western drama with a stirring and imposing lead performance from the legendary Gary Cooper.
  3. Oct 24, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. An unorthodox and small-scale-designed western drama centers on a newly-wed-and-just-retired marshal (Cooper) who has to fence off a vengeful quartet of gunslingers all by himself after the townsfolk cold-shouldering his solicit for help. Directed by Oscar winning director Fred Zinnemann (JULIA 1977, 8/10; FROM HERE TO ETERNITY 1953, 7/10), HIGH NOON runs a succinct 85 minutes which neatly synchronizes with the storyline, after the arrival of the culprit of the gangsters, a heroic face-off sets the old scores with an annihilation of either side.

    It is a 1 Vs. 4 predicament for our lone hero when number matters, Zinnemann launches an absorbingly direct route to unfold how the weathered-but-merry man suddenly plunges at his wits’ end in less than 90 minutes (aided by Dimitri Tiomkin’s fantastic Oscar-crowning score), his wife (Kelly) threats to leave him after her persuasion falls flat, his deputy marshal (Bridges) hangs up the badge due to some trivial jealousy issues, the judge (Kruger) is eager to flee, the mayor (Mitchell) doesn’t want to spoil the veneer of peace and his mentor (Chaney Jr.) sympathizes him but refuses to get involved, while among the village people, some hold grudge towards him for self-serving reasons, others righteously offer their help but either is chickened out by the lopsided situation or too clumsy to wield a weapon. So more or less the huddled masses are complicity of the revenge plan of the quartet, a reluctant truth we have to admit and we are among them too if we are placed under a similar context, the downsides of human nature has been wondrously encapsulated by this compact piece of work. On the other hand, the execution of the gunfight can only be quoted as mediocre, anyway Zinnermann is never a keen action planner.

    Cooper won his second Oscar for the film and gratifyingly carries the emotional curve from principled confidence to disillusioned cold feet, he is a good man who is too proud to overcome his own self-importance, he learned the lesson in a hard way. Kelly was on the cusp of her glory, her role as an anti-violence Quaker is a borderline controversy since finally she has blood on her hands too apart from a liability and hostage in the plot; the Mexican Jurado has a more intense presence although shamefully we never have a chance to hear the story from her side. Lloyd and Chaney Jr. stands out among the rest by a barn fight and one-liner delivery respectively. On a whole HIGH MOON is a genre-breaker among the Western pictures, its influences will last thanks to its morality-challenging acuteness.

    PS: Have any one noticed the name of Kelly’s role is Amy Fowler Kane, with Gary Cooper, is it this film THE BIG BANG THEORY’s Shemy pair names after?
    Expand
  4. JayH
    Jul 29, 2009
    7
    A fine western, but I also feel it is an overrated film. Gary Cooper is very good, the screenplay is excellent, nice pacing. It has some tense moments. It's hard to believe that theme song won an Oscar. Expand

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