In a feature here on “Random thoughts of 210Darryl” started weeks ago I’m listing my favorite movies in a few different genres. We started with my top five favorite comedy movies and counted up toward my favorite, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Now we’re taking a look at my five favorite westerns, and at #3 we had The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This week it’s John Wayne in The Shootist.
I think if I had first seen this movie when John Wayne was alive it wouldn’t be one of my favorites. It’s because I saw it after he died and I relate the movie to his life and death that it’s one of my favorites. Nevertheless it is still a great story, one of an aging gunfighter finding out he doesn’t have much time left and deciding to die on his own terms. It’s a sad story that doesn’t completely match the novel, but the changes made really help the story along.
While there are gunfights and the like The Shootist is not your classic western type movie. It’s really about a man looking back on his life and then knowing how he’d rather it end. It’s also about hero-worship in a way, and the ending scene with Ron Howard really plays to what the movie is about.
There are better John Wayne movies out there, but when I list my favorites The Shootist always comes out on top for me, and that’s why it’s number two in my countdown.
Directed by Don Siegel
Produced by M.J. Frankovich and William Self
Screenplay by Miles Hood Swarthout and Scott Hale
Based on The Shootist by Glendon Swarthout
Starring John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Harry Morgan, and James Stewart
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography by Bruce Surtees
Edited by Douglas Stewart
Release date August 20, 1976
Running time 100 minutes
Box office $13,406,138