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Big screen classics

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

John Ford’s elegiac classic about the troubled arrival of ‘civilisation’ in the Old West.

Image from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

USA 1962
Dir John Ford
With John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin
123min
Digital
Certificate U

John Ford’s magisterial western explores the relative effectiveness of the law (represented by idealistic lawyer James Stewart) and brute force (represented by pragmatic rancher John Wayne) in dealing with an outlaw tormenting a town. The film offers a deeply elegiac, ironic reflection on the passing of the Old West and the advent of ‘civilisation’. And what of historical reality? ‘When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.’


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