5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and fitting final movie
I loved this movie. You probably know by now that it is about the last days of an aging and legendary gunfighter who is dying. What you might not know is that John Wayne at the time was an aging and legendary actor who was dying. Very ironic, and very poignant.
If you love westerns that some substance to them (not just a lot of shooting at Indians), with some...
Published 4 months ago by Tony Chu
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Worstist.
Somber, depressing, and ultimately stupid. The movie that never should have been made. It's painful to see a geriatric John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart dodder around in a genre they helped to define. Combined with Ron Howard's less than stellar reprisal of Opie Taylor make for a very forgettable film..."Oh Mawwww, I just love that old man." See, told you it was stupid.
Published on Sept. 3 2002 by Ghenghis
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and fitting final movie,
This review is from: Shootist (DVD)I loved this movie. You probably know by now that it is about the last days of an aging and legendary gunfighter who is dying. What you might not know is that John Wayne at the time was an aging and legendary actor who was dying. Very ironic, and very poignant.
If you love westerns that some substance to them (not just a lot of shooting at Indians), with some real characters and feeling, then do yourself two favors: watch this movie, and then read the original book.
The book of course has more detail in it, and a few extra things. But the movie is pretty faithful to it, except that the ending is changed a bit. The book has a lengthy introduction, which outlines how the book became a movie, and how/why the changes were made to it. I actually prefer the movie version but the book is also a favourite of mine.
The movie give Wayne a chance to do more real acting than in most of his other movies. He's not as spry or young anymore, and has to rely more on his face, body, and voice to carry the movie, and he does a great job. Knowing that he's going to die of cancer himself soon make the performance even more powerful. The movie also gives you a chance to see some other gems - like a role for a teenage Ron Howard, and some cameos from other famous older movie stars who apparently came in for less money than usual to help John Wayne in his final film - such as Lauren Bacall, Richard Boone, and James Stewart....and Harry Morgan, later of M*A*S*H fame. The scenes between Stewart and Wayne are especially meaningful, since you know they really did have a history together.
5.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne saved the best for the last,
This was probably his best. I loved the Rooster Cogburn parts as well, but this one was, I think, his best.
A tired old gunman discovers he is dying of cancer. In fact, Wayne WAS dying of cancer when he made the film, which makes it the more poignant.
The supporting cast was excellent as well, each in their own role, and the casting was superb. Ron Howard fit the role of a snot-nosed kid who eventually developed some character, and Lauren Bacall was perfect as the widow--at first outraged, and finally sympathetic to Wayne. Hugh O'Brien was great as the conniving gunslick gambler, and Richard Boone was perfectly cast as a rotten bastard. I never cared for him in the part of Paladin, in the series, but this part was made for him. Harry Morgan acted the part of the marshal as if it were written for him.
All in all, this was a great film, and a fitting end to the great John Wayne's career.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre
author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the great westerns, only different,
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This review is from: Shootist (DVD)This movie is something most westerns are not - a study in character. John Wayne, Ron Howard, Lauren Bacall, James Stewart, Hugh O'Brien, Scatman Crothers, Richard Boone and others provide us with varying shades of good and evil, motivation and change. John Wayne (who was dying of cancer) plays a former 'shootist' (gunman, killer, assassin) dying of cancer (this proved to be his final film); he arrives in town to consult an old acquaintance, a physician (Stewart), takes a room in a house owned by a widow (Bacall) who has a son, Gillom (Howard), who is a good kid with a little wild streak, who works for two men, one a blacksmith (Crothers), the other a gunman. Interesting relationships develops between the somewhat mellowing killer, JB Books and the strait-laced widow, Bond, and Gillom; a few of the characters see their chance for fame by killing Books, a possibility known to Books and the sheriff (Harry Morgan) who wants Books out of town; small interplays between Books and the wannabes occur, along with some nice humourous talks between Books and the blacksmith, and a growing positive mentorship of Gillom by Book which helps to grow his awareness of the factuality of death. The ending is clever and involves the only gunplay in the movie, providing Gillom with his grand epiphany. Poignant, humourous, enlightening. The one part that was a bit hokey was the opening, with quick scenes from a few of John Wayne's older movies with the intent of giving JB Books's life story - but it was a good idea. A classic movie, an existential film set in the west.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Movie, the Cast, the DVD,
This review is from: The Shootist (Widescreen) (DVD)This is the story of the last eight days in the life of John Bernard Books (John Wayne), a legendary gunfighter who pulls into Carson City, Nevada on January 22, 1901. Books is dying of inoperable prostate cancer. Knowing that all he has to look forward to in the few weeks left him is an undiginfied and agonizing death as his disease progressively worsens, and unwilling to go out that way, Books orchestrates one last glorious gunfight, himself versus the only three men in town who just might be able to kill him.
The Shootist has the cast from Hell: John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Harry Morgan, John Carradine, Hugh O'Brian, Richard Boone, Scatman Crothers, all in the same movie. Made on a shoestring budget of eight million (not a lot of money for a major Hollywood production even in mid-Seventies dollars) the only way The Shootist could afford such a cast was that everyone involved realized this would probably be Wayne's last picture, and wanted to be involved. Hugh O'Brian volunteered to play his part for free.
The only "extras" on the DVD are the original trailer which is mediocre and a "Making Of" feature that's absolutely excellent. In the latter it's revealed the filmmakers changed the ending of the movie from the book on which it was based. In the novel, J.B. Books is killed at the end by young Gillom Rogers (Ron Howard) after surviving the final gun battle. But the powers that were felt it would be awfully hard to have audiences like the Howard character after that. In hindsight they realize their decision weakened the movie. And they're right. That would have been the perfect ending to The Shootist, the ultimate act of love from Gillom to Books, to be the one who ended his pain when no one else could. The way the movie does end is great - The Shootist is fully deserving of its five stars - but it could have been even better.
While it would be difficult to make a case against either Once Upon a Time In the West, Red River, or The Outlaw Josey Wales being the best Western ever made, The Shootist is one of the very few movies even worthy to be mentioned in their class. It adds an immense amount of poignancy to Wayne's portrayal of J.B. Books, a strong man in the final stages of terminal cancer, to know the actor was in exactly the same situation at the time. This is arguably Wayne's finest acting job, understated and powerful. While some actors are great for a time, then degenerate into crap roles to finish out their careers (Basil Rathbone's last movie was Hillbillys from Outer Space, if you can believe it), John Wayne was a class act til the very end. The Shootist was the perfect way to cap his career: one last superb Western from the greatest Western star of all.
5.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne's elegiac swan song; Farewell, Duke...,
This review is from: The Shootist (Widescreen) (DVD)As movie genres come and go, the American Western was gasping for its last breath when John Wayne starred in "The Shootist" in 1976. This story about a dying gunfighter counting down his last days in the New World is loaded with an extremely heavy dose of symbolism. This is a quiet western, completely emphasizing dialogue over action. Directed by Don Siegel, a master of the western, the overall mood laments the passing of the Old West and its ideology. I agree with other comments that this film has a slightly made-for-TV quality about it, but it's clear this is supposed to be a delicate look at the death of a revered cowboy, and not a wide-open prairie epic. Like the character himself, John Wayne was dying, and provided for us what would be his final performance. The last words Wayne ever said onscreen at the end of this film are the same words I'd say to him if I had ever met him - "Thank you, sir."
Set in Nevada in 1901, Wayne plays John Bernard Books, considered one of the last infamous gunfighters of the Old West. Books settles into Carson City and learns he's dying of cancer. Hoping to live his last few days quietly, he is befriended by a strong-willed widow (Lauren Bacall) who owns a boarding house, and her impressionable son (Ron Howard). His presence becomes known, and enemies from his past emerge looking for a fight, while other so-called friends try to coax the legendary outlaw into letting a little fame rub off. Books soon develops a tender friendship with the Bacall character, while becoming a mentor to her eager son, even though the local Marshall is pressuring him to leave town immediately. Books soon figures out how to rid himself of his enemies and his debilitating condition in one swift stroke. The cast is a large who's-who of western actors and they do an all-around great job; Lauren Bacall looks a little less glamorous than usual, but fits right in as the stern yet feminine widow. Ron Howard gives a brash, "aw shucks" grown-up version of Opie, and Harry Morgan provides a little humor as the cowardly, trash-talking town deputy. There's also a small but fantastic supporting role by the eternal Jimmy Stewart as the doctor who informs Wayne of his ailment.
As the titular dying gunfighter, Wayne's role is not as complex as it was in "The Quiet Man" or "The Searchers", but this is still some of the best acting he's ever done. This is a solemn film, about someone reaching the end of their life and isn't afforded much time to rest and reflect because their past is catching up. The sad perspective of the Old West as an antiquated era also shows how we sometimes have trouble trying to stay with the times when the rest of the world is rapidly moving forward. This movie has grown in appreciation over time with many Wayne fans due to his calm, age-old performance. I can't think of another film that has served as such a fitting goodbye to an actor. "The Shootist" is - both literally and figuratively - the Duke's final bow.
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ICON,
5.0 out of 5 stars EXTRA - SHOOTIST J.B. BOOKS DIES IN METROPOLE GUNFIGHT,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Shootist (Widescreen) (DVD)Carson City - John Bernard Books, the shootist who was staying at the Rogers' boarding house, died in a blaze of gunfire today, January 29, 1901, at the Metropole. Before his own demise, being shot numerous times and twice in the back, Books apparently gunned down four others, Mike Sweeney, Jack Pulford, Jay Cobb and Murray, the Metropole's bartender. Dr. E.W. Hostetler was on hand to examine all of the victims. Local police are confused as to how one of Books' ivory-handled revolvers was found near the entrance of the saloon while his body lay dead just a few feet from the end of the bar...
One of John Wayne's greatest roles, THE SHOOTIST tells the story of a chronically ill and fading gunfighter who, after getting a final prognosis from Doc E.W. Hostetler (played by James Stewart in one of his final roles as well), determines that the painful death awaiting him at the hands of cancer is too much to swallow. Accordingly he stages a last stand gunfight against three town toughs. A fitting way for John Wayne to end his career in a blaze of glory in this his last film.
Wonderfully directed by the great Don Siegel, the film begins with a flashback that includes clips from many of John Wayne's greatest films.
THE SHOOTIST is not only a John Wayne masterpiece, it also includes great performances by such notables as James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Richard Boone, Hugh O'Brian, John Carradine, Scatman Crothers and Harry Morgan.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not a John Wayne fan, but...,
5.0 out of 5 stars *******The Duke is the single best actor ever*********,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Shootist (Widescreen) (DVD)"I wont be wronged i won't be insulted, i won't be laid a hand on, i don't do these things to other people and i expect the same from them" the duke said this during the movie with his awsome voice. This movie is a must see
5.0 out of 5 stars A tear-jerking Western classic from the Duke,
This final film of the Duke could not have been more fitting. Wayne plays an old gunfighter who's dying of cancer. He knows he's dying, and tries to live out his final days in peace. The real tragedy of the story is that no one will let him--he is constantly harassed by would-be heroes, newspapermen, and people seeking to play a part in the death of a legend. The role is a different one for the Duke--he doesn't play the tough-as-nails cowboy this time--and yet he seems to fit it perfectly.
This is perhaps the most fitting farewell of a Hollywood legend conceivable. No matter what people think of him, few can deny the everlasting impact that John Wayne has had on American society. This film is the last hurrah, the blaze of glory. Wayne's character, and Wayne himself, senses the end of his era, and goes out with style.
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The Shootist (Widescreen) by Don Siegel (DVD - 2005)