High Noon (1952)



Critic Consensus: A classic of the Western genre that broke with many of the traditions at the time, High Noon endures -- in no small part thanks to Gary Cooper's defiant, Oscar-winning performance.

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In this classic western, a marshal prepares to retire from law enforcement because of his marriage to a Quaker. But upon learning that four outlaws will converge on the town at noon to kill him, he is torn between his sense of duty and his love for his pacifist bride.
Mystery & Suspense , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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Gary Cooper
as Will Kane
Thomas Mitchell
as Henderson
Ian MacDonald
as Frank Miller
Katy Jurado
as Helen Ramirez
Otto Kruger
as Mettrick
Harry Morgan
as Fuller
Eve McVeagh
as Mildred
Lee Van Cleef
as Jack Colby
Harry Shannon
as Cooper
Bob Wilke
as James Pierce
Sheb Wooley
as Ben Miller
Robert J. Wilke
as James Pierce
Ted Stanhope
as Station Master
Jeanne Blackford
as Mrs. Henderson
Cliff Clark
as Weaver
Ralph Reed
as Johnny
Lucien Prival
as Bartender
Guy Beach
as Fred
Howland Chamberlin
as Hotel Clerk
Howland Chamberlain
as Hotel Clerk
Morgan Farley
as Minister
Virginia Christine
as Mrs. Simpson
Paul Dubov
as Scott
Jack Elam
as Charlie
Tim Graham
as Sawyer
Nolan Leary
as Lewis
Dick Elliott
as Kibbee
John Doucette
as Trumbull
Virginia Farmer
as Mrs. Fletcher
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News & Interviews for High Noon

Critic Reviews for High Noon

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (8)

High Noon combines its points about good citizenship with some excellent picturemaking.

Full Review… | July 26, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Zinnemann carefully and deliberately makes the most of the mood cast by the threat of impending violence.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Some of the results ring false, but the memorable theme song and some equally memorable character acting (by Thomas Mitchell and Lon Chaney Jr. more than Lloyd Bridges and Katy Jurado) help things along.

Full Review… | September 4, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

High Noon won a fistful of Oscars, but in these days of pasteboard screen machismo, it's worth seeing simply as the anatomy of what it took to make a man before the myth turned sour.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

More than a half-century later, Foreman was right after all: High Noon is a scorching and sour portrait of American complacence and capacity for collaborationism.

April 27, 2004
Village Voice
Top Critic

Regarded as '50s melodrama, it's nearly perfect.

May 30, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for High Noon


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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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).

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

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