Shane (1953)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The story of a Wyoming range war is elevated to near-mythical status in George Stevens' Western classic Shane. Alan Ladd plays a mysterious drifter who rides into a tiny homesteading community and accepts the hospitality of a farming family. Patriarch Joe Starrett is impressed by the way Shane handles himself when facing down the minions of land baron Emile Meyer, though he has trouble placing his complete trust in the stranger, as his Marion is attracted to Shane in spite of herself, and his … More

Rating: G
Genre: Western, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: A.B. Guthrie, A.B. Guthrie Jr., Jack Sher
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 15, 2000
Paramount Home Video


as Shane

as Marion Starrett

as Joe Starrett

as Wilson

as Chris

as Rufe Ryker

as Shipstead

as Mrs. Torrey

as Grafton

as Mrs. Shipstead

as Johnson

as Susan Lewis

as Mrs. Lewis

as Mrs. Howell

as Ruth Lewis

as Ryker Man

as Ryker Man

as Frank Torrey

as Ryker Man

as Ryker Man

as Ryker man

as Ryker man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Shane

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Critic Reviews for Shane

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (5)

Wyoming's scenic splendors against which the story is filmed are breathtaking. Sunlight, the shadow of rain storms and the eerie lights of night play a realistic part in making the picture a visual treat.

Full Review… | July 2, 2007
Top Critic

Here, as too often in his career, Stevens is aiming to have the last word on a genre: everything aims for 'classic' status, and everything falters in a mire of artsiness and obtrusive technique.

Full Review… | July 2, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Stevens' classic Western, with its inflated reputation, now looks as if it were self-consciously intended as a landmark film right from the start.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

For Shane contains something more than beauty and the grandeur of the mountains and plains, drenched by the brilliant Western sunshine and the violent, torrential, black-browed rains...

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

There are intriguing mysteries in Shane, puzzles and challenges, not least in the title character and the way he is played by Alan Ladd.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It is a movie that takes its own measured, deliberate time finding ways to increase your pleasure.

Full Review… | September 5, 2012
The Nation

Audience Reviews for Shane

Often considered a high watermark for the western genre, and an integral part of the mythologizing of the Old West, this is George Stevens's production of that age -old story of a rugged loner who, bound by a sense of honor and decency, finds himself returning to a life he long abandoned and vowed to never return to, but does, because he realizes there is a greater good in it, even if it weighs heavy on his soul.

In simple terms (as this is a simple and straightforward movie), this is about a loner and retired gunfighter named Shane who one day comes across the land of a simple homesteader, and stays to help defend the man against a wealthy cattle baron and his thuggish hired guns.

Even when this was released, the story was nothing new, and yet, there's a very endearing quality about it that makes it hard not to like. I am underwhelmed by it, as I didn't end up loving it like I've been told I should, but relax, I still liked it, even if it did sorta let me down.

Part of the reason may be because of the fact that the stroy is so simple and straight forward. There's nothing really complex or deep on display, although I was suprprised by the ambiguity and maturity of the ending. I wasm't expecting that, but I do really appreciate it. Now, I had the final scene spoiled for me many tiems before, but seeing it in context it was really makes it work, and where the ambiguity comes in. I figured given the time period, it would have been more neat, tidy, and on the nose, but I won't complain with how they decided to do it. Despite the simplicity of the rest of it though, the film sure feels a lot longer than two hours, and the drawn out-ness could have been used to greater effect. Either that or cut the running time down to the bare essentials.

Despite the above nit picking though, this is a pretty solid film. The casting is good, and the performances are quite good. Alan Ladd is terrific as Shane, Jack Palance is in good form as the thug Jack Wilson, and even the little kid Brandon De Wilde isn't annoying enough to derail thigngs. Plus, the cinematogrpahy is just excellent, and I can see why it got so much acclaim back in the day.

The film might be pure cliched formula, and perhaps a tad too sentimental and simple, but it is quite charming, and it has artistic merit. Even though it is overrated and underwhelming (mostly), I still recommend it, as it did help shape popular perception of the west and westerns in a significant way.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Shane, for the most part, fails to entertain or to offer high-quality story telling, which makes me wonder why we all consider it one of the great classics. You'll probably have more fun watching most other early westerns.

Kyle F.
Kyle Fowler

Super Reviewer

Shots of Shane (Alan Ladd) as a speck in a vast landscape add a mythic quality. What follows is a blow-by-blow account of the clash between cattle barons and homesteaders in a community where the gun rules. The stark close-ups of the young boy, Shane's adoring acolyte, are surprisingly eloquent. Restrained portrayals from Ladd and an excellent cast make this 1953 film more than bar-room brawls, even though there are plenty of those - the film starts violently and only grows more ominous.
Director George Stevens proves again that he is master of fearsomely beautiful environment - and at not letting lurid technicolour overhelm his story.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Shane Quotes

– Submitted by Kent M (22 months ago)
– Submitted by Dutch E (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Kevin S (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Kevin S (3 years ago)

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