The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
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Like Pontius Pilate, director John Ford asks "What is truth?" in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance--but unlike Pilate, Ford waits for an answer. The film opens in 1910, with distinguished and influential U.S. senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) and his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) returning to the dusty little frontier town where they met and married twenty-five years earlier. They have come back to attend the funeral of impoverished "nobody" Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). When a reporter asks why, Stoddard relates a film-long flashback. He recalls how, as a greenhorn lawyer, he… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"There's much to say about it; the simplest is that it's both the most romantic of Westerns and the greatest American political movie."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"A solid, if overrated, Ford western, one with its share of cliches and predictability. It's still fascinating to watch Wayne and Stewart deal with hellion Marvin in a changing West."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The best film about bullying ever made."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Movie Views
"Superb John Ford--a western classic--with strong Wayne, Stewart, Marvin in tow."
‑ Steve Crum, Video-Reviewmaster.com
"There is a purity to the John Ford style. His composition is classical. He arranges his characters within the frame to reflect power dynamics -- or sometimes to suggest a balance is changing."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Ford's purest and most sustained expression of the familiar themes of the passing of the Old West, the conflict between the untamed wilderness and the cultivated garden, and the power of myth."
‑ Nigel Floyd, Time Out
"John Ford's last great film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is also one of the last classic Westerns to come out of Hollywood."
‑ Richard Luck, Film4
"The movie does not offer a clean-cut look at morality and heroes, who emerge from a reluctant position, but it does draw a definitive line between good and evil."
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"A remarkably complex and nuanced take on the Western."
‑ Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide
"John Ford and the writers have somewhat overplayed their hands. They have taken a disarmingly simple and affecting premise, developed it with craft and skill to a natural point of conclusion, and then have proceeded to run it into the ground."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"A basically honest, rugged and mature saga has been sapped of a great deal of effect by an obvious, overlong and garrulous anticlimax."
‑ A.H. Weiler, New York Times
"The Citizen Kane of westerns."
‑ Christopher Null, Contactmusic.com
"...an appropriate tribute to the passing of the Old West, and a fitting salute to the films of screen legend John Ford."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"Remarkable John Ford Western."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
More reviews for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance on Rotten Tomatoes

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