High Noon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

High Noon Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 26, 2008
The bad guy, who's a really bad guy, the guy sent to prison after luckily getting caught, the guy promising way violent revenge, he's out. And he's coming back.
And that's the set up for this most modern of Westerns, wherein an entire town, much less the sheriff, wait for the coming doom of one angry outlaw ... and his gang of hoods. Their fear and how they react is really what the film comments on, on how any of us handle fear, and then what we manage to do about it, whatever lofty ideals we might profess to uphold.
The Jesus story goes West (asking where we stand insofar as our beliefs go) packs a six gun and waits out alone on main street, alone to face the worst, to face the Devil, to face the future, whatever it brings ...
I love this movie.
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2010
At first the character's irrational insistence to stay in the city may be a puzzle for the viewer (and an infuriating contrivance), but soon it reveals a fascinating complexity about him in this superbly edited Western that relies on a visceral performance by Cooper (and his bleeding ulcer).
Super Reviewer
April 11, 2013
In an era of flamboyant and charismatic westerns, High Noon takes a turn in a somewhat darker direction. The film does a remarkable effort to highlight the suspenseful moments before it dwindles down to the climatic showdown. The music and score also plays well to reflect the pride-filled moments. Finally, the film is epitomized by the Oscar-winning performance by the resilient Gary Cooper. High Noon is a new direction in westerns that changed the face of the genre and film in the years ahead. 4/5
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2007
John Wayne once called this the most Un-American film he'd ever seen because he didn't like it's subtext which was very critical of McCarthyism and red-baiting during the Red Scare. Looking at the film now, yes, you can still see shades of that social commentary, but its impact has waned some over the years. However, it is still nevertheless an absolutely fantastic story of one man standing up against unfavorable odds while no one else will stand alongside him.

What makes it even more great is the fact that somehow the film manages to keep the tension at a very high boil all the way through up to and including it's suspenseful climactic showdown. Also, it does all this, gets the point across, and has it all wrapped up in just under 90 minutes, but still provides wonderfully written and developed chasracters. Bravo.

Marshal Will Kane is on the verge of retiring from his position as head lawman in the town of Hadleyville. Just minutes after getting married to his Quaker bride Amy, his packing for his honeymoon is interrupted when news gets out that a man he put away back in the past has just been released, and is on his way to Hadleyville to rendezvous with three of his henchmen to get his vengeance on Will.

Faced with some tough decisions about how to deal with all of this and decide which direction his life should take, Will finds himself all alone as everyoen he turns to ends up being cowardly and unwilling to help him out in what could very well be his most dire time of need.

All in all, this is a superb western. It's wonderfully written, unbelievably taut and gripping all the way through, and not onyl does it feature Grace Kelly's first major role, it also is the film debut of a young Lee Van Cleef. Gary Cooper is great in the lead, and there's some nice work from Lloyd Bridges and Lon Chaney Jr. as well.

WIth some good music, excellent, cinematography, and fairly sharp direction, this routine story is brought to life and made fresh and memorable. It's a bummer the subtext has lost some of its impact over time, but I do applaud it for being something risky at a time when being critical of the Red Scare was something to tread lightly around.

Definitely give this one a watch. It's one of the top westerns ever, and just one heck of a memorable ride.
blkbomb
Super Reviewer
½ February 26, 2012
Amy: Don't try to be a hero! You don't have to be a hero, not for me! 

"Simple. Powerful. Unforgettable."

Whenever the best films of the western genre are discussed High Noon is always at the top of the list. It's as influential as any movie in the genre, and it's plot has been used many times since. It's a movie that isn't long and doesn't have much action. It's all build. We watch as a marshall desperately tries to get some support from his fellow townspeople, but as he continues to try we see, it's just not going to happen.

A Marshall must postpone leaving his town with his new wife, when he finds out a gang of killers are going to return. He is alone in his fight though as some of the townspeople are friends of the killer, some are too afraid of the killer, and some are just unwilling to help. 

I can see why a lot of people love High Noon. It is a great exhibition of the power of building a story to a final shootout. It's undoubtedly a genre staple and a classic film in general. I just can't help feeling like it isn't as great as I had heard. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I didn't love this film like I though I would. I enjoyed it, I liked it. I just didn't love it.

This is far from perfect in my opinion, but still well worth the watch, especially if you are a fan of the genre. Plus it has Grace Kelly, so it is sort of a must watch.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2011
'High Noon' deserves certain praise for the legacy it beholds and the story it tells. The performances may be overrated because all Cooper has to do is look weary and nervous. However, 'High Noon' still stands as a taut, enduring western. One that will be modeled after in years to come.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2011
Meh. It may be considered a classic, but High Noon's film strips are just John Ford's toilet paper.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
My favourite western, I usually hate westerns, but this movie has a more film noir type story, and a great cast too. Whether or not you like westerns, I recommend this movie.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2010
What it might lack in performances, it makes up in ridiculously cool style. This has one of my favorite openings ever, Lee Van Cleef playing a harmonica and the perfect theme song. The story is quite simple, but the message is what really makes it powerful. One man against evil is never more prominent and the result is just so suspenseful. Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly are good leads even if they don't have that much room to show off. It's not anything like you're used to while watching a western, truly original.
MeetMeinMontauk
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2010
I had to watch this for a History of Cinema class. But I actually kinda liked it. We used it to study the three act structure. But I liked the story and I LOVE Grace Kelly. Again, I don't like 90% of westerns, but this has made it into that slim 10%.
Awesome.
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2010
A Hollywood rebuttal to the Communist witch hunts of the era, High Noon is a real time tale about recently wed, retiring Marshall Will Kane (Gary Cooper) who feels that he has to stay when he learns that a man he put away to hang has been released and is returning to town. The problem is that, unlike other westerns of the era, the townspeople and even his deputies refuse to help him fight off the threat. He's going to have to do it alone.

High Noon was really a revolutionary film for its time, particularly in the way that it depicted the town as being either A) scared or B) indifferent. The judges runs away. The deputy (a great performance by Lloyd Bridges) bargains his help for support in being the new Marshall. The mayor is worried about how a gun fight will affect the towns economy. All in all, this is probably the most realistic western of its era.

The greatest of High Noon lies with Gary Cooper. Will Kane is not John Wayne moseying into a gunfight, ready to raise hell at a moments notice. As the clock ticks away, Cooper puts more and more worry on his face making Kane a more sympathetic character. This is a film that isn't afraid to show the humanity of its hero. You're basically watching a man take the long walk to the executioner, with no one watching his back. Along with Cooper, we also get a great performance from Grace Kelly as Kane's new bride. She's a woman that can't understand why Will Kane feels the need to fight this battle when he doesn't have to.

And that's basically the theme of the film. A man that fights when he doesn't have to do it. When you really look at it, High Noon represents the seeds of the western that Sergio Leone would craft with Clint Eastwood being a hero even when he was a rogue and didn't have to do it. In a way, Clint Eastwood is the heir to Gary Cooper. A chiseled individual that represents what is right, not what the law happens to be.

High Noon is one of those great American westerns that;s head and shoulders over the typical fare of the era, letting a little social commentary slip thru along the way. A true classic film.
Super Reviewer
½ August 6, 2009
This was a really good all round western. I?m not sure if I have ever seen a movie that built up so much suspense, right from the beginning until the very end. It didn?t disappoint.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2009
John Wayne was totally wrong to call this movie un-American. Courage and cowardice are universal emotions, and the attitudes of the characters in High Noon are, I think, incredibly truthful and telling. I know that if I lived in the Wild West, had a job and family, and was asked to stand up and fight against a gang of gun-toting psychos I would probably not be able to do it. That's why Gary Cooper's Will Kane is such a remarkable character in terms of self-respect, morality and inner strength. It's the way he MUST uphold the law even though it will perhaps cost him his wife and his life. It is the various townfolk with whom most of us will identify, even if it makes us feel shame or unworthiness to admit it. No matter how bravely we act, nor how much we want to think heroically of ourselves, 90% of us would cower in the shadows when the time came to do what Will Kane does in this movie.

On his wedding day, dependable lawman Will Kane (Gary Cooper) has just handed in his badge and is preparing to leave town with his bride Amy (Grace Kelly) when he receives devastating news. An old adversary, Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), has been pardoned for crimes that he should have hanged for and is on his way to Kane's town of Hadleyville to get revenge. He is due on the noon train, leaving Kane one hour to either run for his life or make preparations to fight. Kane and Amy set off at full gallop, hoping to put some miles between themselves and danger, but Kane doesn't get far before he feels compelled to turn back. With the new sheriff not due for a day, he just can't let go of the extraordinary sense of duty and responsibility he feels towards his town. However when he gets back to town he gets quite a shock - for no-one has the guts (nor, in some instances, the inclination) to fight alongside him against the Miller gang. As time ticks unstoppably towards noon, Kane gradually realises that if he's going to stop Miller and his boys, he's going to have to do it alone!

Cooper's performance is extremely powerful and he received a thoroughly deserved Oscar for it. Kelly is good as his bride, although many viewers will find her character hard to like. Lloyd Bridges has a brilliant early role as Kane's deputy, while the very best of the supporting pack is Katy Jurado as a Latino woman whose "history" with most of the men in town puts her in an unenviable position when the shooting starts. Fred Zinnemann directs the film outstandingly, making each scene fit into the grander scheme of things with literate precision. Any aspiring young film-maker wanting to learn how to pace a film correctly should watch High Noon with a close eye, for it is unparallelled as the most perfectly paced film of all-time. The music by Dmitri Tomkin - plus that incredible ballad "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" by Tex Ritter - is just one more element that makes High Noon one of the great masterpieces. There's nothing else to say - if you haven't already, go out and see this film NOW!
Super Reviewer
January 8, 2009
Cooper plays Will Kane, a Marshall just married and about to retire. Unfortunately for him he discovers a man he put away is out and will be coming for him on the noon train. Shot pretty close to real time, High Noon is a tense and simple Western. The complications arise in the reactions of the townsfolk. Some want Kane gone for his own good, others want him gone to protect themselves and some even look forward to the exciting confrontation. Championed as an allegory for Hollywood during the McCarthy Witch Hunts, we see how many people can become scared of so few. Kane is a man who has devoted himself to the protection of others but when he needs protection nobody is there. The train approaches the town slowly and we see a fantastic shot that pans up and shows Kane alone in a ghost town. It's a film about not running away, facing your fears and standing by the ones you love. Frank Miller is a great villain, mainly because we hardly see him. He is just a myth, a story and these stories and the reaction to his name alone are what makes him memorable. A classic western that is still relevant.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2008
This is such an all-American movie. The story is relatively simple and that's why it shocks you when peripheral characters offer some depth to it. The recurring song has touches of the old time chivalry of the West, so patriotic! This is why I enjoy Westerns; the enjoyable part is not the action, but rather than suspense leading up to the action.
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
November 21, 2007
widely considered one of the greatest westerns of all time, this film is simple but profound and engaging from the outset. meant as a parable to the communist hunts in hollywood in the 50's, this film tells a great story about a good man doing whats right and all others standing by while it happens due to their common fear. really great film.
puffchunk
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2007
A bunch of dudes want to kill a guy. They wait till noon to come kill a guy. The guy watches the clock to wait for a bunch of dudes to come kill him.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
Just see it. Also Bill Clinton's favorite movie
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2007
one of the best westerns ever
deano
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2007
Gary Cooper was terrific in this great western as a lawman who stands alone to defend a town of cowardly citizens against a gang of revenge-seeking criminals.
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