Western | In English | 85 minutes | 1950
Jimmy Ringo, the aging but still feared gunfighter, returns to his hometown seeking to reconcile with his estranged wife and son. Marshal Mark Strett, Ringo’s old friend, urges him to leave town and avoid trouble. The marshal knows that every gunslinger in the area will want to confront Ringo and be known as “the man who shot Ringo.” Ringo agrees to leave town but only after he can persuade his wife Peggy and son to move with him to California. He tells her that he’s older and wiser and simply wants to live quietly in a place where nobody knows who he is. Peggy refuses to go, but she promises to wait a year and see how things work out for Ringo. As Ringo leaves, he meets up with a hot-head local, Bromley, who thinks he can outdraw Ringo and establish himself as the new “fastest gun in the West.” Ringo does not want to deal with Bromley, but it’s unavoidable. Ringo must now face what is, hopefully, his last encounter. Brilliantly directed by Henry King.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 100% 100%
- Metacritic Score 94% 94%
- WGA Awards: Nominated for Best Written American Western.
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THE GUNFIGHTER is a sock melodrama of the Old West. There’s never a sag or off moment in the footage as it goes about depicting the fastest man with a gun and what his special ability has done to his life.
The addicts of Western fiction may find themselves rubbing their eyes and sitting up fast to take notice before five minutes have gone by in THE GUNFIGHTER. Suddenly indeed, they will discover that they are in the exciting presence of one of the most fascinating Western heroes as ever looked down a six-shooter’s barrel.
An arresting, superbly produced and downbeat Western photographed in stark black and white, THE GUNFIGHTER presents an unglorified view of the Old West as a grim, dirty, and decidedly desperate place. It’s a grim portrait of a man whose time and historical role have run out, and he knows it. Gregory Peck is dazzling as the doomed and haunted gunfighter, a man desperately trying to escape his own past and identity, but knowing all along that hope is false and that there is only a bullet in his future.
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