United Artists | Release Date: July 30, 1952
8.5
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Universal acclaim based on 64 Ratings
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8
lasttimeisawOct 24, 2013
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?
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8
SpangleDec 1, 2015
I love the way this film handled the antagonists, not really focusing on them and instead focusing on Will Kane and his efforts to fight them off by rallying support. High Noon loses much of its impact now because it has been copied so manyI love the way this film handled the antagonists, not really focusing on them and instead focusing on Will Kane and his efforts to fight them off by rallying support. High Noon loses much of its impact now because it has been copied so many times, but is still incredible. Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly are fantastic and really dominate the screen. In addition, as I said, the aura created around the antagonists is great and gives them this larger than life feel that drives home why the townsfolk are so scared of him and his gang. Overall, High Noon is a classic western that is expertly crafted and highly influential. Expand
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8
Compi24Nov 28, 2012
An edgy, tightly wound western drama with a stirring and imposing lead performance from the legendary Gary Cooper.
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9
EpicLadySpongeMay 3, 2016
Classical western movies like High Noon should be what western movies are right now. There's not that much western movies, but I usually want to enjoy every single bit of this movie again since I loved a single bit of it.
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9
TerrorpinMar 21, 2017
Great movie. Hardly a wasted minute in the whole film. A lesson that could be learnt by current directors !! Brilliant soundtrack by Dimitri Tiomkin and sung by Tex Ritter. Gary Cooper always portrayed a more genuine cowboy than anybodyGreat movie. Hardly a wasted minute in the whole film. A lesson that could be learnt by current directors !! Brilliant soundtrack by Dimitri Tiomkin and sung by Tex Ritter. Gary Cooper always portrayed a more genuine cowboy than anybody else bar none. Expand
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10
PrinceSevatarAug 22, 2018
The quintessential classic western. Timeless, perfectly paced and with a cast and score to match.
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7
JayHJul 29, 2009
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.
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9
wololoooMar 27, 2012
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
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9
andrjetJul 17, 2015
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Righteouses’ Path is a Steep and Lonely Wait

Hadleyville’s clocks hands beat the same time of our **** as a result of a coincidence between reality and narration: That’s the driving force of High Noon. Under a merciless, clear sky we are thrown on a Far West town, and we are guided into it by Dimitri Tiomkin’s leitmotif theme and a disreputable trio (Miller’s gang).

Zinnemann’s studied and perfect frames describe the Western revenge’canon embodied in the silent action of Frank Miller’s mysterious remains. A name which frightens the whole Hadleyville and it also upsets Will Kane (Gary Cooper) so much that he renounces to go away with his new bride Amy (Grace Kelly) in order to obey to his duty: Defending the community in his last day as a sheriff even.

And here is the duel between the law guardian Will Kane and the lawbreaker Frank Miller: On one side the heavy presence of a lonely man and on the other side the vague absence of a ruthless man. A duel that recreates itself upon the axes of time: It re-emerges from the past (Kane arrested Miller) and projects itself in the future (noon running on the railway).

Everything tends to that moment in a spiral of increasingly tension while minutes pass identical to us and Kane; and we are literally suck in that dusty town where Will Kane is wandering in search of allies to face Miller and his gang. But as time goes by the more we understand Kane will be alone. Even Amy leaves him, because she is the virginal principle of nonviolence, and also she is waiting for that fatal noon (not definitely to stay but to get on board on the train).

She’s going to move out just like the Mexican Helen Ramirez (Katy Jurado) is planning to do. Probably because she had been Miller’s woman, and has been Kane’s fiancé, and then she’s the girl of Kane’s vice Harvey Pell (a young Lloyd Bridges, well known for his role as McCroskey in Airplane!), a symbol of that pretentious youth which claims for a vested right power.

Zinnemann is a punctilious surveyor who doesn’t leave anything to chance, who upholsters everything with symbolisms as bright as the West blinding light. So we encounter some archetypical figures: inhabitants’ cowardly selfishness not inclined to help he who has fought strenuously to bring back order in town; uncaring politics represented by Henderson, who takes Kane’s side except saying his presence threatens the town in fine; finally judges’ recklessness who have turned Miller’s life sentence into probation.

Will Kane is all alone and he has to fight against everyone. He becomes the paradox of a society in which only weapons can guarantee compliance and civility. He is waiting alone for Frank Miller. And we can see him in a backside-dolly-frame walking through a disarming desert, lost in the dust of the inactive Hadleyville.

Finally the whistle of the train reveal us Frank Miller’s traits (Ian MacDonald) but it’s not only the alert of an imminent fate: It’s also the sound of Amy’s love for Will. The sheriff is no longer alone to fight Miller’s gang: the justice puts back in order in the sequence of gunshots, a marriage does the same in front of Frank Miller’s corpse. Yet a society is definitely split and mirrored in the dull sparkle of a sheriff star tossed on the ground. And Tex Ritter’s Do Not Forsake Me takes us away from there, beyond the high noon of a man too much people have betrayed but one person has saved.
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