High Noon


High Noon

Critics 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.



Total Count: 50


Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,351
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Movie Info

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.

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Critic Reviews for High Noon

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (9)

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

    Jul 26, 2011 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Zinnemann carefully and deliberately makes the most of the mood cast by the threat of impending violence.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 4, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    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.

    Apr 27, 2004
  • Regarded as '50s melodrama, it's nearly perfect.

    May 30, 2003

Audience Reviews for High Noon

  • Oct 25, 2014
    My favourite Western of all time. Though set in the Old West, High Noon was unconventionally different from all other Western in it's dealing with the moral dilemmas. Will Kane, a local marshall has just gotten married, but a notorious criminal who got out of the death sentence is going to arrive in town at noon has swore to have his revenge. Kane tried to enlist the town folks to help him but he faced rejection from everyone. Now that everyone has abandoned him, he has to face the criminal gang alone. High Noon is special in many ways. Unlike conventional Westerns, it did not have much action, rather it focused on the dialogues and the relationships of the characters. The story also progressed in real time, meaning that events taken place are approximately the same as the time in reality. Lastly, the hero was saved by the heroine, very unusual but has a beautiful message (Kelly's performance wasn't superb at this point however). Controversies arose in the different views on the themes in the film. Both the left and right celebrated the film. The left viewed the town folks as selfish greedy hypocrites (particularly at Pell) but at the same time criticized the individualism of Kane. The right enjoyed the individualism and the duty displayed by Kane and criticized the film for being un-American. Personally, I just love this film because of the pessimistic setting and the realism. It has Gary Cooper, how can anyone dislike Gary Cooper!?
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2013
    By default, this is considered to be the greatest western of all time and it deserves the honour. Everything is interesting here from the real time footage to Gary Cooper actually acting well to a fabulous ending. Did I mention the soundtrack?
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2013
    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 B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 07, 2012
    High Moon has aged remarkably well and is far more morally ambiguous and emotionally engaging than most films of its kind. Though even at its brief running time it feels slightly overly-extended, the film is a fantastic example of a well-crafted deconstruction of Western genre tropes.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer

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