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The Shootist

The Shootist

July 24th, 2001

Price: $45.99

(as of 2013-01-06 10:34:07 PST)

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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (126 votes)

Released: 2001-07-24

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The Shootist by Paramount

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Movie Details

Don Siegel
PG (Parental Guidance)

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About ten minutes into The Shootist, Doctor Hostetler (James Stewart) tells aging western gunfighter John Bernard Books (John Wayne) “You have a cancer.” Knowing that his death will be painful and lingering, Books is determined to be shot in the line of “duty”. In his remaining two months, Books settles scores with old enemies, including gambler Pulford (Hugh O'Brian) and Marshall Thibido (Harry Morgan) and reaches out to new friends (including feisty widow Lauren Bacall and her hero-worshipping son Ron Howard). In the end, is shot to death, but in so doing he is able to dissuade another from following his blood-stained example. Throughout the film, Book's imminent demise is compared with the decline of the west, as represented by the automobiles and streetcars that have begun to blight the main street of Wayne's home town. It is unknown if John Wayne was aware that he was dying of cancer when he agreed to film The Shootist; whatever the case, the film is a powerful valedictory to a remarkable man and a fabulous career.


  • John Wayne
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Peter Frankovich
  • Hugh O'Brian
  • William Self


  • Anamorphic
  • Closed-captioned
  • Color
  • Subtitled
  • Widescreen

Editorial Review

The last film of John Wayne could not have been more fitting, full of details that can't help but make one reflect upon his legacy in the movies and his life as a star. Wayne plays a career gunfighter in the autumn of his life, trying to hang up his pistols after he discovers he's dying of cancer. Boarding in the house of an attractive widow (Lauren Bacall) and her son (Ron Howard), Wayne's character opts for peace in his final days but is dogged by his reputation when a handful of killers seeks him out for a final fight. Howard is fine as a fatherless boy who needs the strong mentor the hero represents, and James Stewart–who costarred with Wayne in the great Man Who Shot Liberty Valance–plays the doctor who gives the big man the bad news. Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) thoughtfully directs a very special and sensitive production. –Tom Keogh

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