|Paramount Pictures | Release Date: April 22, 1962||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
In a few characters and a gripping story, Ford dramatizes the debate about guns that still continues in many Western states. That he does this by mixing in history, humorous supporting characters and a poignant romance is typical; his films were complete and self-contained in a way that approaches perfection. Without ever seeming to hurry, he doesn't include a single gratuitous shot. Read full review
Mr. Ford, who has struck more gold in the West than any other film-maker, also has mined a rich vein here. He is again exposing the explosive forces involving the advent of law, in the shape of Mr. Stewart, on the raw denizens of a lawless frontier town. When legend becomes fact, a newspaper editor tells Mr. Stewart, print the legend. In Liberty Valance, there is too much of a good legend. Read full review
It’s both the most romantic of Westerns and the greatest American political movie. But the movie is also romantic in another, intimate way—it’s a great love story and a painful triangle, involving the tenderfoot lawyer (James Stewart), his gunslinger friend (John Wayne), and the woman they both love (Vera Miles). Read full review
The reputation of this John Ford Western is undeservedly high: it's a heavy-spirited piece of nostalgia. John Wayne is in his flamboyant element, but James Stewart is too old for the role of an idealistic young Eastern lawyer who is robbed on the way West, goes to work in the town of Shinbone as a dishwasher, and learns about Western life.
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