The Gunfighter (1950)

  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Western
  • Release year: 1950 (1950-08-21)
  • Running time: 85 min
  • Original Title: The Gunfighter
  • Voted: 8501
The Gunfighter is a movie starring Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, and Millard Mitchell. Notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo rides into town to find his true love, who doesn't want to see him. He hasn't come looking for trouble, but...
1Gregory PeckJimmy Ringo
2Helen WestcottPeggy Walsh
3Millard MitchellMarshal Mark Strett
4Jean ParkerMolly
  • A superb , adult and almost classic Western with rich characterisation of Peck's notorious gunslinger Johnny Ringo 12/20/2018 12:00:00 AM by ma-cortes 7

    A serious-mature , humourless Hollywood Western with thought-provoking character studio about an aging pistolero searching for peace and quiet but unable to avoid his reputation and the duel-challenges it invites . As Ringo (Gregory Peck in a character originally sought by John Wayne) attempting and inevitably failing run away from his past . In the Southwest of the 1880 , the difference between death and glory was often but a fraction of a second . This was the speed that made champions of Wyatt Earp , Billy the Kid and Wild Bill Hickok . But the fastest man with a gun who ever lived , by many contemporary accounts , was a long , lean , Texan named Ringo. A man pursued by nasty gunfighters sneering ¨He doesn't look so tough to me¨. Riding into the small town where the spouse and child he abandoned are living incognito , he insists on waiting in the saloon in the hope that she will agree to see him . Meanwhile, indignant rustling from the good ladies of the town serve notice that an outlaw is unwelcome and with assorted grudge-bearers already assembling , along with the aforesaid fast-draw gunslingers , there is clearly no future for Ringo . His only friends were his guns and his refuge was a woman's heart , Peggy Walsh (Helen Westcott).

    Very good and pleasant classic Western with magnificent direction and flawlessly acted by Gregory Peck who steals the show as a peaceful gunfighter who learns that he has become no better than those he hunted . A Hollywood production full of interesting characters , shootouts and intense drama . It gives a profound observance of the unities , as clock-watching as obsessively as ¨High Noon¨, it is an altogether tougher , bleaker film and a groundbreaker in its day . Peck is nice as a man just about over the hill, haunted by the dead weight of his reputation , holding a fear of loneliness , the certainly of dying at the hands of some fast-draw punks . Studio executives at 20th Century Fox are said to have blamed the film's indifference box-office on the fact that Peck wore moustache . It's an exciting western with breathtaking showdown between the protagonist Gregory Peck against proud contenders , as two gun-happy cutthroats : Richard Jaeckel and Skip Homeier . It carries an enjoyable feeling of authenticity for a Western of this period and there are nice supporting characters from Millard Mitchell , Jean Parker , Karl Malden , Skip Homeier , Ellen Corby , Richard Jaeckel , among others . In the film premiere didn't attain success , nowadays is well valued and I think it turns out to be a good classic Western. The picture is fleshed out with a marvelous cast as Gregory Peck who is excellent as a good father turned gunfighter . Helen Wescott gives a good performance as Ringo's former wife , she does a well measured portrayal of a woman who still loves her previous sweetheart and who promises to leave with him which ultimately can never be . Nice too is Skip Homeier as the brash young gun , and Millard Mitchell as the amiable Sheriff . Richard Jaeckel , at a brief acting , as a cruelly baddie role , an angry young is also terrific . Stylishly written by prestigious by André De Toth , William Sellers and uncredited : Roger Corman , Nunnally Johnson , the screenplay was based on an original story by William Bowers . The movie was directed with a positive flair by Henry King . There are many fine technicians and nice assistants as Lyle Wheeler , Thomas Little and Walter Scott in charge of Art Direction and Set Direction respectively . Good production design creating an excellent scenario with luminous outdoors, adequate interiors , saloon and fine sets . The musician Alfred Newman composes a nice soundtrack and well conducted ; it's full of agreeable sounds, and a haunting musical leitmotif . Sharply photographed with striking cinematography by Arthur Miller in black and white with negative well processed .

    This one is a dark downbeat story of a gunfighter perfectly performed by Gregory Peck told with genuine realism and honesty , being one of Henry King's best films . Henry King 's direction is well crafted , here he's more thought-provoking and broody and more inclined toward a deep seriousness , and a fateful sense of fate , it is a movie that has the genuine dimension of a Greek tragedy . Henry King was an expert on compelling Adventure/Western genre . Henry King directed other classic Western as ¨ Jesse James(1939)¨and ¨The Bravados (1958)¨ with Peck again . Koster was specialist on Adventure genre as proved in ¨Untamed , Captain King , Captain of Castilla , Black Swan , Stanley and Livingstone ¨and many others . Rating : Better than average . Worthwhile watching .

  • The Cult Of The Gunfighter 8/7/2009 12:00:00 AM by FightingWesterner 9

    The Gunfighter is the first of it's kind, a western themed drama about a man with a lifetime of regrets wanting to make a change for the better, only to find his destiny written in stone.

    It's well crafted with superior performances, cinematography, and direction. The script is an intelligent, dramatic masterpiece that says a lot about man's capacity to change.

    Probably one of the saddest moments was when Jimmy Ringo shares a drink at the bar next to the young upstart farmer with a wife and son, a look into what might have been for Ringo if weren't so arrogant in his youth. It sort of drove the point home that Ringo was really a nobody who everyone mistook for being an important man and the anonymous farmer was the one with real dignity and class.

    The writers attempt to demystify the cult of the gunfighter in part by showing the toll it takes on him and also by showing the foolish behavior of the townsfolk who like to gawk. Then again, if the movie weren't for our curiosity about bad men like the gunfighter, would we bother to watch?

  • Peck is Superb. 2/12/2010 12:00:00 AM by JohnWelles 8

    "The Gunfighter" (1950), directed by Henry King and starring Gregory Peck as an ageing gunfighter trying to shake off his past, is a near masterpiece. It predates "High Noon"'s (1952) clock-watching by a good two years and Peck is surprisingly mature as Jimmy Ringo. The supporting cast is mostly fine, and while there aren't many action scenes, they are well done enough. Most of the time, the film concentrates on Ringo and his character, which is slowly revealed through long, but interesting, dialogue scenes. This is what sets it apart from the rest: The subtle characterisation of of Jimmy until he becomes flesh and blood. Peck is uniformly superb as him. If it wasn't for that performance and screenplay that allowed him to give it, the film would be known only to a few B-movie Western buffs. The ending, which in some-ways is anti-climatic, is still the ideal one.

  • Hellhounds On My Trail 10/3/2005 12:00:00 AM by krorie 10

    Of all the westerns cranked out by the Hollywood film factory over the years only a few have become classics. This is possibly the best one of them all, much better than such highly touted items as John Ford's "The Searchers." And Gregory Peck plays the gunfighter to perfection. Peck was such a creative and brilliant actor, one wonders why he was so under appreciated. "The Gunfighter" gives Peck his best movie role, even better than his marvelous Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Almost matching Gregory Peck is a stellar cast with stand out performances by Karl Malden, Millard Mitchell, Jean Parker, and Helen Westcott. Of special note are the characterizations by Skip Homeier as the wannabe gunfighter, sort of a carbon copy of Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) when he was wet behind the ears, and Richard Jaeckel who makes the most of his brief part.

    What really makes this movie shine is Henry King's direction. When the movie opens, we see the gunfighter riding across the prairie as if pursued by the devil. One is reminded of the blues classic by Robert Johnson, "Hellhounds On My Trail." It is obvious that the gunfighter is running away from something hellish but it is soon revealed that he is also riding toward something, a lost dream, a life that could have been had he followed a different trail. The gunfighter thinks he can still grasp this life, that it is not too late. But deep in his psyche he knows it will never be. He holds on to the dream but is satisfied just to see his wife and little boy one last time, for the hounds of Hell are about to catch up with him.

  • I want you to see what it means to live like a big tough gun. 3/28/2008 12:00:00 AM by Spikeopath 9

    Aging gunfighter Jimmy Ringo is feeling his age, he is tired of looking over his shoulder and just wants to get to a nearby town to be reunited with his son. Before he sets off on his journey he is partaking in a drink at a saloon, a hot young tough guy picks a fight with him purely because of his reputation. Despite repeated attempts for someone to calm the youth down, Ringo is forced to kill the kid after being drawn upon first, all the patrons in the bar agree that Ringo had no choice in the matter, but he is advised to leave town quickly because the kid has three older brothers who will not care who drew first. Ringo sets off to find his son knowing that his past, along with the stricken kid's gunslinging brothers, are catching him up.

    Downbeat and downright grim in texture, The Gunfighter is a very polished piece boasting a wonderful turn from its leading man. There are a number of highly thought of psychological westerns that focus on the tough nature of the west, rather than the fanciful guns a blazing actioners that one time dominated the genre, but few look and impact as hard as this one does. Gregory Peck is excellent as Ringo, perfectly grizzled and worn, but gigantic enough in stature to make him still a fearsome figure. That Peck is able to smoothly shift gears for a number of scenes is often taken for granted, be it showing tenderness with his boy in one scene or exuding stoic machismo when facing down bad guys in another, there's smart acting layers being revealed by the big man.

    Elsewhere Millard Mitchell is terrific as Marshal Mark Strett and Karl Malden adds some lively characterisation as bartender Mac. Henry King does a great job of directing, as he keeps it tight and never lets the pace veer to a place the story doesn't call for. Arthur Miller's cinematography is tonally perfect in its high contrast starkness, framing the sadness of the main character to great effect, while William Bowers' story doesn't cop out at the end by painting the outcome with a sugar coated brush. Sombre and one of the forerunners of the psychological western genre splinter, this is one of the better films of its type on the market. 9/10

1Henry Kingdirector
2William Bowerswriter
3William Sellerswriter
4André De Tothwriter
5Roger Cormanwriter
6Nunnally Johnsonwriter