The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Overview:

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) was a Drama - Romance Film directed by John Ford and produced by John Ford and Willis Goldbeck.


In director Ford's swan song for the conventional frontier Western, he answers the Death Valley panorama of his classical frontier films with the demise of the archetypal gunfighter-hero, with Wayne and Stewart representing wilderness vs. civilization. Stewart plays Ransom Stoddard, a law-school graduate from the East who tries to bring peace to the burgeoning town of Shinbone, which suffers under the tyranny of Valance (Marvin). After a series of run-ins and a hopeless attempt by Tom Doniphon (Wayne), a gritty Western hero, to teach him to shoot, Stoddard agrees to a showdown with Valance, but the real shooter - and savior - of Shinbone is his friendly rival, Doniphon. As peace comes to Shinbone, Stoddard wins an election and the hand of Doniphon's girl (Miles), while Doniphon never tells the townspeople the truth about the killing. A wonderfully realized film, which is both an elegy to a dying way of life and a wise commentary on the fragility of modern society. A keystone in Ford's career. Gene Pitney's title song was a million-seller.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2007.

Academy Awards 1962 --- Ceremony Number 35 (source: AMPAS)

Best Costume DesignEdith HeadNominated

BlogHub Articles:

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

By Beatrice on Sep 16, 2017 From Flickers in Time

The Man Who Shot Liberty ValanceDirected by John Ford Written by James Warner Beliah and Willis Goldbeck from a story by Dorothy M. Johnson 1962/USA Paramount Pictures/John Ford Productions Repeat viewing/Netflix rental One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die John Ford delivers another cla... Read full article

Classic Movie Quotes: 'Print the Legend' from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

By Amanda Garrett on Apr 8, 2017 From Old Hollywood Films

Today, I'm writing about the story behind the "print the legend" quote from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). This article is part of The Second Annual Classic Quotes Blogathon hosted by The Flapper Dame. The quote "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend" from director John Ford... Read full article


By Theresa Brown on Oct 2, 2016 From CineMaven's Essays from the Couch

?Sir, I don?t want to intrude. But a United States Senator is news. I?m the editor of a newspaper with a state~wide circulation. I?ve got a responsibility to know why you came all the way down here to bury a man. You can?t just say ?his name was Tom Doniphon,? and leave it at that. Who was Tom Donip... Read full article

1001 Classic Movies: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

By Amanda Garrett on Sep 26, 2016 From Old Hollywood Films

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), starring John Wayne and James Stewart, is one of the 1001 classic movies you should see. Each Monday, I'm going to recommend a classic movie you should see (for the reasons behind the 1001 series and reviews of earlier films covered go here). This year's b... Read full article

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) with John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart

By Greg Orypeck on Feb 26, 2015 From Classic Film Freak

Share This!?I know those law books mean a lot to you, but not out here.??Out here a man settles his own problems.??Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) to Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?is a milestone film in a number of ways.??Although receiving poor reviews and a disappointi... Read full article

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Quotes from

Dutton Peabody: Liberty Valance defeated. D-E-F-E-E... T-E-D? The unsteady hand betrays. What's the matter, Mr. Peabody? Are you afraid? The answer is indub... yes. No courage left. Well, courage can be purchased at yon tavern. But have we credit? That is the question. Have we credit? Well, credit is cheap. Wait for me, old servant of the public wheel. Our shining hour is yet to come. As for you, Horace Greeley, go west, old man, and grow young with the country.

[Doniphon has just faced down Valance in the diner]
Tom Doniphon: Well, now; I wonder what scared 'em off?
Dutton Peabody: [poking fun at Stoddard for his idealism] You know what scared 'em - the spectacle of law and order here, risin' up out of the gravy and the mashed potatoes.

Jason Tully: Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance.

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Facts about

Several reasons have been put forward for the film being in black and white. John Ford once claimed it added to the tension, however others involved with production said Paramount was cutting costs and so they had to make the movie on sound stages at the studio. Without the budget restraints, Ford would have been in Monument Valley using Technicolor stock. It has also been suggested that since both John Wayne and James Stewart were playing characters thirty years younger than they actually were (Wayne was 54 when the movie was filmed in the autumn of 1961 and Stewart was 53), the movie needed to be in black and white because they would never have got away with it in color. The age difference was particularly noticeable in Stewart's case, since he was playing a young lawyer who had only just graduated from law school and had moved West without even practicing law back East.
During the territorial convention, three of the actors (John Wayne, Andy Devine and John Carradine) had performed together previously in Stagecoach under the helm of the same director John Ford.
O.Z. Whitehead, playing a teenager, was actually fifty years old in real life.
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Best Costume Design Oscar 1962

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National Film Registry

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Released 1962
Inducted 2007

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Also directed by John Ford

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Also produced by John Ford

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Also released in 1962

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