Winchester '73

1950

Winchester '73

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,441
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Winchester '73 Photos

Movie Info

Several Hollywood insiders felt that Jimmy Stewart had overestimated his box office appeal when he agreed to appear in Winchester '73 not for his usual salary, but for a percentage of the film's gross profits. No one was doubting Stewart's sagacity when Winchester '73 proved to be one of the most successful westerns in years, and soon every major star was jumping on the profits-percentage bandwagon. The film itself is the story of a longstanding blood feud; the film's centerpiece is a prized Winchester rifle. Hardbitten loner Stewart rides into Dodge City, where he participates in a Fourth of July shooting contest to win the coveted rifle. Stewart's principal opponent is surly Stephen McNally, for whom Stewart holds an unexplained hatred. Stewart wins, but McNally steals the rifle and heads for the hills. As Stewart conducts a long, grim search for the stolen weapon, it passes through several hands, notably the grimy ones of outlaw Dan Duryea. After the gun has come full circle, we learn that Stewart is McNally's brother, and that McNally had killed their father. The errant brother is himself killed in the final shootout while using the selfsame Winchester. Winchester '73 was not only a goldmine at the box office, but it also established a harmonious relationship between James Stewart and director Anthony Mann, who would guide Stewart through two subsequent no-nonsense adventure films, Bend of the River (1952) and The Far Country (1955). Based on a story by Stuart N. Lake, Winchester '73 would be indifferently remade for TV in 1967.

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Cast

James Stewart
as Lin McAdam
Dan Duryea
as Waco Johnnie Dean
Shelley Winters
as Lola Manners
Stephen McNally
as Dutch Henry Brown
Millard Mitchell
as Johnny `High Spade' Williams
Charles Drake
as Steve Miller
John McIntire
as Joe Lamont
Will Geer
as Wyatt Earp
Jay C. Flippen
as Sgt. Wilkes
Rock Hudson
as Young Bull
John Alexander
as Jack Rider
Abner Biberman
as Latigo Means
James Best
as Crater
Frank Chase
as Cavalryman
Ray Teal
as Marshal Noonan
Virginia Mullen
as Mrs. Jameson
John Doucette
as Roan Daley
Steve Darrell
as Masterson
Ray Bennett
as Charles Bender
Larry Olsen
as Boy at Rifle Shoot
Edmund Cobb
as Target watcher
Forrest Taylor
as Target Clerk
Ethan Laidlaw
as Station master
Bonnie Kay Eddy
as Betty Jameson
Jennings Miles
as Stagecoach Driver
John War Eagle
as Indian interpreter
Duke Yorke
as First Man
Ted Mapes
as Bartender
Norman Kent
as Buffalo Hunter
Norman Olestad
as Stable Boy
Tim Hawkins
as Boy at Rifle Shoot
Mel Archer
as Bartender
Bill McKenzie
as Boy at Rifle Shoot
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Critic Reviews for Winchester '73

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

Audience Reviews for Winchester '73

  • Nov 09, 2011
    Winchester 73 is one of those perfect classic Westerns (High Noon, The Searchers, Stagecoach, etc.) that never disappoints or lets up from the moment you pop in the disc. The depth and complexity of James Stewart's performance is the star here, but for me, film noir auteur Anthony Mann's textured, high contrast black and white photography is a runner up, especially in the night scenes, which have the haunting and three dimensional glowing quality of the best film noir classics. Thirdly, the perfectly cast cracker jack supporting players, all hold the screen with the masterful Stewart in his prime, full of veterans like Grandpa Walton (Will Geer), and newcomers circa 1950 like Shelly Winters, Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson. The script is subtle using natural, conversational dialogue. The acting style matches the script to a t, with almost Stanislavski-esque performance 'method' . Don't expect the wacky buddy comedy or over the top cackling villainy of some of the other later day (post WWII) Westerns. It's a well told story that wraps up perfectly and takes its time to make its big shocking revelation, adding resonance to the tragic wrenching conclusion. The 93 minutes fly by with the wall to wall excellence on display here.
    Josh M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2011
    Very well-made, gritty western...but it probably won't be as memorable as I would like it to be...
    Jared H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2011
    Winchester 73 is fine, light-hearted fun. Full of charismatic performances and a simple but functional story, it never fails to please or entertain, even if it's not exactly riveting.
    Kyle F Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2009
    Great western. James Stewart is excellent as a gunman, seeking revenge over the death of his father. Winchester '73 has all the ingredients for a great western, with gunfights, Indians, chases, great cinematography, a foxy lady, a bank robbery, and a nasty villain.So satisfaction guaranteed.
    Jonny C Super Reviewer

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