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Gunfighter [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell, Jean Parker, Karl Malden
  • Directors: Henry King
  • Writers: Nunnally Johnson, André De Toth, Roger Corman, William Bowers, William Sellers
  • Producers: Nunnally Johnson
  • Format: Black & White, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • VHS Release Date: January 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301801733
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,256 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Numerous films have used The Gunfighter as a title, but if you're looking for the film classic of that name, this is the one. Gregory Peck followed his powerful performance in Twelve O'Clock High (also for director Henry King) with an arguably even stronger portrayal: Jimmy Ringo, celebrated shootist just stepping into middle age and mortally weary of having to defend his legend every time he turns around. His trail takes him to a small town where an old comrade, Mark Strett (the great Millard Mitchell), now serves as marshal, and where Ringo's estranged wife and the son he has never seen also reside, under an assumed name. Over one night and one day, hoping against hope, he dares to dream of a normal life. But there are avengers not far behind, and other threats yet to be counted.

Although critically praised, The Gunfighter was a box-office disappointment. Darryl F. Zanuck blamed the soup-strainer mustache Henry King had Peck grow for the role, but perhaps the film's virtues of intelligence and restraint weighed against it. The Gunfighter properly deserves the credit (awarded to High Noon two years later) for ushering in the "adult Western," that '50s subgenre that emphasized psychological intensity over action and spectacle. (Most of The Gunfighter unfolds at the Palace Bar where Ringo waits for his family to be brought to him.) In any event, latter-day audiences should have no trouble appreciating the solid performances, literate writing, and impeccable Fox craftsmanship, including the final studio assignment for ace cinematographer Arthur Miller. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

One of the best westerns I've ever seen, that's for sure.
DJ Joe Sixpack
Shot in what can be considered real time, there is not a single shot wasted central to the theme and progression of the storyline.
gobirds2
There is always a goof like that one that responded to my review.
Edelmiro Rivas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
One of the finest westerns ever made, and, by the lack of responses here, one of the least appreciated. The synopsis above pretty much explains the plot: an aging gunfighter, trying to escape his past, his enemies, and new challengers to his title of "big, tough gunny," attempts to convince his estranged wife and son to come away with him to a new life for all of them. His reputation, which he once reveled in, is now nothing but a curse. Will he ever be able to escape it? This not a shoot'em up. Peck's character, Jimmy Ringo, spends most of his time in a saloon reflecting on a life that holds no joy and, most probably, a violent end.
This movie hits upon the themes of the true nature of gunfighting and its real costs which has influenced such classics as "The Magnificent Seven," "The Shootist," and "Unforgiven." If you are a fan of westerns, you will not be disappointed in "The Gunfighter."
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark Lahren on January 10, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This could be the best western I have ever seen. Mostly because of its noir elements and absolutely standout performances, especially by Gregory Peck as the haunted gunfighter trying to leave his past behind, and by Millard Mitchell as his old partner-in-crime-turned-sheriff. I knew immediately upon watching this for the first time tonight that this was not your typical western. It quietly conveys doom almost from the beginning. I sensed a bleak outlook for Peck's character, Jimmy Ringo, from the start, and the movie conveys this mood very subtly throughout, building to the inevitable conclusion in understated and graceful tones.

That said, this movie has several very brief but very humorous moments that had me laughing outright because they caught me completely off guard. These humorous snippets will pass you by completely if you're not watching closely. And even if you are watching closely, they are so understated that you still could miss them. I'll give you a few of these scenes to watch for: When the old man comes in to talk to the sheriff (while the sheriff is talking to Ringo) to tell him someone set his house on fire (spot-on comedic timing by all concerned), when the kid who wants to gun down Ringo comes in for a haircut, makes boasts, then leaves. After he leaves, one of the men in the shop makes a comment (again, perfect timing). There's about three more that I noticed, but there could be more. As I said, it flies by so naturally, I'm guessing most people wouldn't notice it. Very subtle humor.

But this film is a strange sort of tragedy first and foremost, and the noirish element is definitely prominent throughout.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Terence Allen VINE VOICE on May 4, 2006
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Gregory Peck, with his natural, spare acting style, and his folksy, plain demeanor, was a natural for Westerns, and his greatness in this genre was never more evident in this 1950 film, which was one of the earlier psychological Westerns.

Peck plays Jimmie Ringo, the most notorious gunfighter in the West, is running from the brothers of a man he killed. He shows up in a town where his ex-wife lives with their young son. Ringo holds up in the town saloon as a favor to the town marshal, who an old friend, while he waits for an opportunity to see his wife.

Meanwhile, the town is taken over with the nervous enthusiasm of people wanting to see a celebrity, a shootout, or a dead celebrity. At the same time, a young punk, would-be gunfighter has heard that Ringo is in town, and is itching to make his reputation off of killing Ringo.

Everyone delivers excellent performances, and the movie has a lot to say about voyeurism, celebrity, longing, and regret. This is a fantastic movie, and without question, one of the best Westerns ever made.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 16, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Wow. One of the best westerns I've ever seen, that's for sure. Everything about this film is spot-on perfect, from the cinematography and acting to the costuming, sound, blocking and general attention to detail... not to mention the script! Gregory Peck stars as Jimmy Ringo, the fastest gun in the West, now turning to middle age, and ready to give up the life of a violent roustabout. The trouble is, of course, that everywhere he goes, people know and fear him, and every would-be badman in the territory wants to knock him down a peg or two. It's an old story, repeated in numerous pulps, films, dime novels and comicbooks over the years, but probably never as tersely and tensely as here. Honestly, there's not a false or flat moment in this film; director Henry King delivers a mournful masterpiece, and Peck is stunning in his role as a weatherbeaten, tired old gunny who'd gladly chuck it all in, if it weren't for the burdensome reputation he'd spent his entire youth building. Fans of the "Lonesome Dove" series should recognize the imprint of Jimmy Ringo, and his erstwhile pal, now the town marshall, Mark Strett (played perfectly by Millard Mitchell), two old-timers who know that the hard life isn't really as glamourous as most folks think. Highly recommended.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DAVID L. WOOD on August 24, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
THIS IS THE FILM THAT 'HIGH NOON' ASPIRED TO BE BUT FAILED.
AS MUCH AS I LOVE WESTERNS AND AS HIGHLY AS I REGARD GARY COOPER, 'NOON' JUST DIDNT CUT THE MUSTARD, BUT PECKS 'GUNFIGHTER' DID.
NO, BY TODAYS STANDARDS THIS CLASSIC PROBABLY IS PERCIEVED BY SOME AS SLOW, INDOORSY AND TRITE. BUT THIS IS ONE YOU HAVE TO WATCH WITH YOUR HEART.
PECK IS AN AGING GUNMAN WHO REGRETS HIS PAST AND IS PUSHING TOWARD A FUTURE THAT HE HOPES WILL INCLUDE HIS WIFE AND SON. HIS WIFE IS A SCHOOL MARM WHO GOES BY AN ALIAS FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. AND THE BOY DOESNT KNOW THAT THE CELEBRATED OUTLAW IS DEAR OL, DAD. BUT AS PECKS CHARACTER ATTEMPTS TO ARRANGE A FAMILY REUNION, THE FAMILY OF A MAN PECK WAS FORCED TO KILL IS HOT ON HIS TRAIL. THEREIN LIES THE KIND OF SIMPLISTIC PLOT THAT GREAT WESTERNS ARE KNOWN FOR.
AUDIENCES IN 1950 DIDNT CARE FOR PECK'S MUSTASHE AND THE FILM WAS NOT OVER PATRONIZED.
THIS MOVIE IS FOR THE INTELLIGENT, THINKING VIEWER WHO IS MORE INTO THE CHARACTERS THAN THE ACTION.

THE CHARACTER OF MARSHAL MARK STRETT IS EFFECTIVELY PORTRAYED AND THE DIALOGUE IS QUALITY AND GENUINE.
THIS IS MY PERSONAL FAVORITE OF THE OFFERINGS BY GREG PECK, AND GIVEN THE OVERALL QUALITY OF HIS WORK I THINK THAT SAYS A LOT.
FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND THIS WAS ALSO PECKS FAVORITE SELF WORK AS WELL.
IN THE FINALLY PECK'S GUNMAN IS AMBUSHED BY A YOUNG PUNK LOOKING TO CASH IN ON THE VETERAN'S FAME. THE MARSHAL WANTS TO SEE THE BOY HANG BUT THE DYING GUNFIGHTERS LAST REQUEST IS TO LET THE KID GO ON BEING A "BIG TOUGH GUNNEY" SO THAT THE MISCREANT CAN LIVE A LIFE OF PAIN AND MISERY AWAITING HIS OWN UNTIMELY END.
THIS LITTLE FILM ADEQUATELY TELLS THE STORY THAT SO MANY OTHERS ATTEMPT TO BUT DONT QUITE GET IT DONE. AT ANY RATE 'THE GUNFIGHTER' IS AN ENTERTAINING PLAY THAT UNFORTUANTELY WAS FAR AHEAD OF ITS TIME.
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