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Forty Guns

Forty Guns (1957)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Dec 31, 1957 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,396

My Rating

Movie Info

Cult hero Samuel Fuller wrote and directed this visually inventive western, which didn't fare well with American audiences but earned a potent reputation with European cineastes. Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck) is a despotic landowner who, with a posse of hired guns, has made herself the law of Cochise County, Arizona, with the weak-willed sheriff Ned Logan (Dean Jagger) knuckling under to her demands. One day, Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan), a one-time gunfighter turned United States


Western, Classics

May 24, 2005

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

Fuller's comic book world is a complete artistic creation, a place where men were MEN and women could take a bullet now and then.

February 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Kinetofilm

Here is Sam Fuller in top gear, as writer, director and producer, with a Western that is solidly crafted and brilliantly cast. Barbara Stanwyck is at her peak, although her peak lasted decades

September 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

... sexual energy and psychotic violence that explodes onscreen in staccato editing, darting camerawork, and the maddest expressions of love this side of Duel in the Sun.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source: St@tic Multimedia

Stanwyck, by turns imperious and sly, dominates the movie.

May 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Stanwyck is as stunning and fiery as she was all the way back in Baby Face (1933), and she helps make this one of the best Westerns of its day.

May 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Quintessential American action cinema.

March 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

As brash, unsubtle, and pointed as Fuller's best work.

March 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Audience Reviews for Forty Guns

One wacky-doodlely Freudian Western.

"She's a high ridin' woman with a whip . . .

But if someone could break her and take her whip away,
Someone big, someone strong, someone tall,
You may find that the woman with a whip only a woman after all."

"Get a doctor. She'll live."
February 8, 2009

Super Reviewer

Great western with some really nice unexpected twists. Love that gun barrel shot. Looks like Sam Fuller beat James Bond to the punch.
October 13, 2011

Super Reviewer

Although the story didn't really appeal to me, I liked how it was filmed. The shots were diverse and creative, it reminded me a little of Hitchcock's way of filming sometimes.
I wish Barbara had a bigger part in it, I can't get enough of this woman. She has a very powerful appearance, that never fails to captivate me.

June 30, 2010

Super Reviewer

"She's a high-riding woman with a whip"
The idea of Barbara Stanwyck galloping around the prairie in a stetson, cracking a whip, is disappointingly underplayed in Forty Guns. Also the potential Freudian and feminist elements are never explored past the surface (though the two female stars are as spunky as the men are handsome, Jessica Drummond is only waiting for a man to take charge!) - see the superbly over the top 'Johnny Guitar' if you really want any kind of subtext or depth.
It's still entertaining and campy enough though to make the already short running time whiz by quick enough. Stanwyck is always never less than watchable and Barry Sullivan's rugged presence does the job it's intended. The dialogue is sparky if a little ropey "I've never kissed a gunsmith before" "I need a strong man to carry out my orders... And a weak one to take them". And the visual effects are a bit of a treat - a big close-up of Sullivan's eyes, during a shoot-out, only serves to diminish the expected dramatic affect as it causes us to titter. As does the scene when the burgeoning lovers spy each other lovingly through the barrel of a gun!
But the absolute highlight here is the two songs - both of which are unexpectedly and quite spectacularly sung IN character! The Woman With a Whip number is especially ripe as it's sung by one of the male leads as his mates watch on, smiling nonchalantly, as they soap themselves in their bath-tubs!? The other song, sung as a funeral rite, initially startled and surprised me in it's bravado of having a man sing a love song where the object of desire is another man! Until you realise the 'he' he is singing about is God... Damn! Still, the queer seeds are there for us to pick up on!
All this (vaguely homoerotic) campery had me thinking... Forty Guns is maybe only two songs shy of an all-out musical! Now THAT would have been a lot more intriguing.

December 13, 2008

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Vierzig Gewehre (DE)
  • Forty Guns (UK)
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