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The Shootist Reviews

Page 1 of 27

Super Reviewer

March 24, 2013
The Shootist is a terrific Western starring the legendary John Wayne. The film was to be The Duke's final film role. The plot is about a hired that is dying of a terminal illness and looks in going out in fashion. Wayne is wonderful in his performance and this is a well executed Western and a classic that is a must see for genre fans. The film boasts a good cast alongside John Wayne, and each actor gives the film something unique. This film brings an end to an era of great Westerns. This is brilliantly directed and acted. Despite its imperfections, The Shootist is a fun and entertaining picture and like I said, John Wayne is great here, and he gives his all in a stellar performance that simply is a mesmerizing final Swan Song to his great career. Don Siegel direction is wonderful and he was able to capture something special with this film. The film at times could have been better; luckily Wayne's performance holds the hold thing together. Although not on par with the far superior Spaghetti Westerns, The Shootist is still worth watching for genre fans. The film bring a comedic tone at times that you can enjoy, but also there is a dramatic overtone as John Wayne on-screen says goodbye to the genre, he made famous. This is a fine, final picture that is a must see for John Wayne fans or any genre fans looking for a standout picture that is among the best swan songs for an actor. The film lives on as a testament to John Wayne's talents and every ounce of the acting ability that Wayne possesses is displayed beautifully in a wonderful near flawless Western.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

July 16, 2007
A touching film, heartfelt, as the Duke makes his final bow and he's fully aware that with him goes an era, the good and the bad. Here to say farewell are Stewart and Bacall, the old guard, and Ron Howard, the future. And the Duke makes his final bow.

Super Reviewer

January 2, 2009
There is something to be said about an old legend dying of cancer playing an old legend dying of cancer.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2007
The idea of John Wayne's last movie being about a dying gunfighter is not only incredibly fitting but even when faced with the obvious ending that's been coming for over 90 minutes by the time it goes down, incredibly sad. Wayne does his later-era, typical cranky old codger with entertaining diction well, Lauren Bacall fits the bill but shockingly enough, Ron Howard does a better job in front of the camera in The Shootist than he ever did behind the camera. The movie for the most part is what you expect, but that powerful shootout at the end compounded with Howard's performance made The Shootist for me. And despite the fact I really never dug on Wayne, I did get choked up a bit at the end despite the blatant ending.
Chris G

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2009
The Shootist represents John Wayne's swan song, the final film where the legend that is John Wayne appeared on the screen. The film follows the final days of J.B. Books (Wayne). Dying of cancer, he visits an old doctor friend (Jimmy Stewart) who informs the old gunslinger that he doesn't have much time left. Books takes up lodgings with a Mrs. Rogers (Lauren Bacall) and her son Gillom (Ron Howard). When the area finds out that Books is in town and dying it seems that everyone wants a piece of him, coming out of the woodwork with money making schemes as this shootist prepares for one final battle.

Directed by Don Siegel (Dirty Harry) The Shootist is Wayne's best acting since The Searchers almost twenty years earlier. Instead of the invincible cowboy he plays a man at the end, preparing for what may lay beyond this world. The legend is still there, but he's a little humbler. Just looking at the rest of the cast, you know the films going to be good, though it does suffer from an almost Made For TV feel.

John Wayne survived almost three years beyond the release of The Shootist. He never made another film. Having this film as a bookend to a career that was simply legendary was a great capstone. He was THE premiere MAN for over thirty years and brought his persona to his films in a way that has never been repeated except by Clint Eastwood. John Wayne was a man and a character that grew beyond the confines of the silver screen and into American culture.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2009
John Wayne?s last movie, almost true to life as he was dying of cancer in real life as well as in the movie. It?s a classic and has Lauren Bacall, Scatman Crothers and little Richie Cunningham in it to boot! Classic.

Super Reviewer

March 1, 2008
this is one of John's best -- It was also his last -- Very well done

Super Reviewer

March 3, 2007
Largely of note for its parallel with John Wayne's own life, this is a sensitively acted and well told story of an ageing gunfighter coming to terms with his own mortality. A western with a brain.
Dillon L

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2011
Not John Wayne's most poigant or even most memorable film, but as a final film in a very successful career, it's a great film to go out on.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2007
A fitting end for John Wayne. The film is not perfect, (Ron Howard, REALLY?) but as John Wayne was dying of cancer it is fitting that his character should as well. John Wayne's films are all pretty much variations of the same character and it is as if they all come together and end in a blaze of glory.
Jonny C

Super Reviewer

November 30, 2008
Great Western. The Shootist is an enjoyable retrospect of The Duke's career both as the characters he's played, and as an actor. With wonderful support from screen legends Lauren Bacall and James Stewart, and geeky teen idol, now big time director, Ron Howard lending a hand too. The dialogue is intelligent, and like Don Siegel's earlier picture, 'Dirty Harry', you can always count on realism and honest storytelling.
The Shootist is a fine swansong for Wayne, who hung up his spurs soon after.
May 21, 2010
A gunslinger with strong moral character (Wayne) is dying of cancer and so spends his final days carrying himself with dignity, preparing his own noble death.

All while wooing a judgmental older woman (Bacall) into knowing his better side, and setting her young boy (Howard) upon the beginning of his own path of righteousness.

Backstory enriches this film as few others; Wayne was himself dying of cancer, ending a strong career built entirely upon the portrayal of lone individuals holding strong ethical fiber, individuals following their own moral/just compasses - in spite of the odds against, in spite the perceptions and judgments of others.

That consistency implied, of course, that Wayne chose his roles so as to complement his own personal ethos. Accordingly, the nobility found within this portrayal of life's end is also Wayne's final tribute to, and portrayal of, his own steadfast values. In telling the story of the difference between a dying man and the legend that surrounds him, Wayne is telling his own story as well. Such a truly textured telling makes this film a far richer object lesson and sets it well within the short list of great Westerns.

RECOMMENDATION: Tell the undertaker to set the table for bad company; Wayne's ridin' into town to set things right - one last time. Strongly recommended viewing
January 6, 2010
The perfect final love letter from John Wayne to his fans. Superb from start to finish! Don't miss this gem!
June 16, 2009
John's Wayne's last film is among his best movies. The cast is excellent, lauren Bacall excels, Ron Howard does excellent. Fine character development, good pacing.
April 19, 2009
One of my favorite John Wayne films. How fitting that he was playing a legend dying of cancer, and this was his last movie. Great story by Glendon Swarthout (novel). Great casting. Love Lauren Bacall, Richard Boone, John Carradine, Sheree North, Ron Howard, et al. Scatman Crothers is the best. Don Siegel does a very good job here. Based on the real life of John Wesley Hardin, but with changes. Wayne couldn't have gone out better. Thanks Duke.
February 27, 2009
John Wayne's final screen appearance is a low-key examination of a faded legend trying to live out his last days in peace. Tragically his reputation as a deadly gunslinger leads to a more violent conclusion than he had hoped for. Jimmy Stewart and Lauren Bacall add excellent support to Wayne's finest and most underrated performance.
January 20, 2009
John Wayne's last film in which he play a gunfighter dying of cancer. Lauren Bacall, Jimmy Stewart and Ron Howard co-star.
June 20, 2008
This is a great movie, partly because it provides such an apt and wonderful performance for the great John Wayne to go out on. If he had to go out at all, it was most fitting that he go out with "The Shootist". From the opening montage of clips from previous Duke movies, to Duke's struggle to come to terms with and cope with the cancer that is killing him, to the glorious shoot-out in which we see him expire definitively on-screen, "The Shootist" is 50% fantasy, 50% John Wayne biography, and 100% quality, pathos, and emotion. Few stars are given the opportunity to take their final bow with such dignity, grace, and personal triumph. Bravo, Duke.
March 19, 2007
A writers version of "THE DUKE's" Life.... Cried like a baby everytime I saw it--way back when...and today.
July 22, 2008
Truly a grand send off for the legend John Wayne.
Duke's last film is a classic and great homage to the western.
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