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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 25 August 2012
Made in 1962 (an age similarly experiencing major social change), this 118min B&W classic is one of John Ford's deepest, most thoughtfull films. Set amidst the years that saw civilisation as we understand it today replacing America's earlier 'Heroic' age, the story centres around the strained relationship between the "toughest man south of the Picket Wire" Liberty Valance(Lee Marvin), rock hard rancher Tom Donovan(John Wayne) and the educated/sophisticated but physically less self-reliant eastern lawyer Ranson Stoddart(James Stewart). The message of the film is simple but profound; although the 'new ways' of law and order are clearly beneficial, much is also lost with the passing of the more direct methods by which the old West both enforced acceptable behaviour and selected it's community leaders. Perhaps the most poigniant message of the film is how the true reality of Liberty's death is concealed by all those involved for various reasons, and the longer-term results that concealment has for big Tom Donovan, lawyer Stoddart's political career, the frontier town of Shinbone and also America's future. As both exciting entertainment and also food for thought, I cannot recommend this film highly enough, it's an absolutely first class depiction of the old West and it's people at their best!!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 September 2007
How come, that the secret of making movies which could be THAT good, seems to be lost? No matter how long you look, you will not find in the contemporary cinema a movie which would be so smart, funny and tragic in the same time as this one. Well, ladies and gentlemen, behold here one of the most legendary masterpieces of western - and three giants of American cinema: James Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin.

This is a highly symbolical story about the barbary being beaten away by the civilisation, the crime being reduced by law and the chaos of wilderness being replaced by order. The symbol of barbary, crime, chaos and violence is a jubilant, agressive, vile and primitive bandit, called Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). He is so horrible that almost strangely appealing, a force of nature which can fascinate - until we actually see his victims... He will be confronted by a young lawyer (James Stewart), who came to the Far West trying to establish a law practice, but who, in a lawless town, will end washing dishes.

Now, James Stewart was not a whimp (he actually ended the WWII as general of aviation - the only Hollywoodian actor who went as far in military) but in this movie he portrays the total opposite of Liberty Valance - he is civilised, nonviolent, polite, reserved (although well spoken), in fact he seems a little dull compared to the bandit. Until the day when he grabs that gun and (still wearing an apron!) walks to face Liberty Valance...

But the actor who is the reason for which this movie is such a masterpiece is the Duke himself - John Wayne. This is one of his most important, most complex and possibly the most tragic roles. His character represents what we have to loose when the heroic and barbaric times end. We gain civilisation, peace, law and order, but we lose also something - and although finally we get a fair deal, it is still painful. Even if you hate John Wayne, you will feel for his character in this movie - and you will be impressed by his acting.

The story is not linear - the tale of this one gunfight and its consequences is told twice, and before that we are going from one time to another. The plot is watertight - everything falls in place at the end with the precision of a Swiss clock mechanism. And the final punchline of this partly tragic but finally very funny film will simply blow you away!

This is a TREASURE of the world cinema - a classic to see and then see again.
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on 8 July 2013
Firstly the film, which is really good and not at all what you expect from a Western. Light on action but heavy on the dialogue it's a very entertaining watch with Jimmy Stewart outshining the Duke.

This Blu-Ray transfer is superb with really good shadows and no grain at all. For a 50 year old film this looks great. Sound is HD which really brings out the dialogue very cleanly and crisp.

There are no extras which is dissapointing, however there is a restored mono soundtrack for the purists out there.

All in all well worth getting even with the lack of extras and unlike many black and white films on Blu-Ray, this is a definite upgrade to any previous versions.
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on 8 September 2003
In 1962 John Ford gave us his last great film.
"The Man who shot Liberty Valance " is a truly classic picture. With the exception of "El Dorado" this is the last great classic Hollywood Western(although "Nevada Smith", "The Four Sons of Katie Elder" and "The War Wagon" were decent efforts. Starring John Wayne and James Stewart this film is an interesting study of the painful enforcement of law in the west, and the role of the myth in it's construction.
This picture is not only a classic film but a real treasure in movie history, not only for it's aesthetic beauty but also for the strong sense of nostalgia for the West and the Western genre itself that comes across in director John Ford's beautiful images of is imaginary heroic past that comes to life in the strong performances of John Wayne, Vera Miles, James Stewart, Lee Marvin and all the other suporting actors of Ford's stock company. The DVD edition is a let down for such an important film. Even if the picture quality is ok, the mono sound could have been remasterd to stereo and a making of documentary is obligatory.
Let's hope that a Special Edition would do this classic film justice.
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VINE VOICEon 5 September 2006
This is, as other reviewers have stated, one of the greatest westerns ever. It can make this claim not through any blistering action sequences, but through its tension, its thoughtfulness and an awarness of time and place which is unmatched in the genre.

An example is the scene when the delegates crowd into the hall for the statehood vote - a nicely observed piece -while ignoring the black man sitting at the foot of the steps. A wonderful counterbalance to the talk of freedom inside the hall.

It is also, as I say extremely tense, and the scenes between Wayne and Marvin are as taut as anything either has appeared in elsewhere

Wonderful film
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on 5 July 2016
I enjoyed this film. I hadn't seen it before.
I'm not sure how I missed it, it's been on TV thousands of times.
I watched this DVD version.
John Wayne seems to be enjoying himself and James Stewart is his usual understated screen presence that works so well.
Lee Van Cleef is here before the dollar films and Strother Martin plays alongside him as Lee Marvin's henchmen.
Some great screen characters.
As I say an enjoyable film well worth a couple of hours escapism.
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on 13 December 2014
Not a masterpiece, but a good old fashioned Western, with a fair amount of predictability, an early carpet-biting performance by Lee Marvin as the local baddie of the title, with Lee van Cleef as his sidekick, and James Stewart and John Wayne doing their thing as the two goodies. The Blu Ray copy is excellent.
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on 2 November 2015
Great study on the decline of the Old West, mirrored in the person of 'young' Stewart's attempt to tame frontier town of Shinbone. Opposite him is 'young' Wayne as the craggy old style rancher. Between them is the lovely Miles, torn by attraction. The other scene stealer is however Edmond O'Brien as the alcoholic paper editor who champions Stewart, as the shooter of villian Marvin, even though he didn't.
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on 3 February 2016
Said subtitles . There were no subtitles. Had this trouble many times before. Is there any way to ensure we get what it says ??? It's a pain having to return these useless DVDs. Useless because I am as deaf as a left handed screwdriver !
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on 24 March 2015
This time the great man is in partnership with James Stewart again set at the beginning of the American civil war, John Wayne has only a fairly small part in this film, it is based mainly around James Stewart and his family another one whoes wife has died and left him to rear four sons one of whom happens to be one of John Wayne's real son Pat.
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