The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

1962 | Western | 123 minutes | English


Senator Ranse Stoddard and his wife Hallie arrive in the frontier town of Shinbone to attend the funeral of Tom Doniphon. The local newspaper editor asks Ranse why he travelled so far, from Washington, D.C., to attend this particular funeral. The question triggers a flashback of 25 years, when Ranse first arrived in Shinbone. The town then was being terrorized by Liberty Valance, an evil gunslinger. Valance picks a fight with Ranse and beats him up. Ranse begins practicing with a a gun determined to have a showdown with Valance. While in a saloon, Valance is told Ranse is waiting for him outside. Ranse does not know that Tom is hiding by the side of the adjoining building. As shots are exchanged, Valance is hit and falls to the ground. But it was Tom who killed Valance and not Ranse. As Ranse and Hallie return to Washington, Ranse thanks the conductor for his help. The conductor replies, “Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance.”
John Wayne (Tom Doniphon) / James Stewart (Ransom “Ranse” Stoddard) / Vera Miles (Hallie Stoddard) / Lee Marvin (Liberty Valance)
Why Stream This Film?
Film critic Marjorie Baumgarten stated THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE is arguably the best John Ford film ever. An American classic.”
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 94%
  • Metacritic Score: 94
  • The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous.
Dave Kehr


THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE is both the most romantic of Westerns and the greatest American political movie. The movie is also romantic in another way – it’s a great love story and a painful triangle involving the tenderfoot lawyer, his gunslinging friend, and the woman they both love. The tale’s epic span – it’s framed as a flashback to distant youth – stretches that love story over a vast arc of experience and renders it immeasurably poignant. As it draws to a close, there’s hardly a dry eye in the house – at least, in our house.
Richard Brody

New Yorker

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