The Naked Spur (1953)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this film, James Stewart plays a taciturn frontiersman who loses his home while he's off fighting the Civil War. To raise enough money for a new grubstake, Stewart becomes a bounty hunter in Colorado territory. His first quarry is fugitive killer Robert Ryan.
Classics , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment

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James Stewart
as Howard Kemp
Robert Ryan
as Ben Vandergroat
Millard Mitchell
as Jesse Tate
Ralph Meeker
as Roy Anderson
Janet Leigh
as Lina Patch

Critic Reviews for The Naked Spur

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (1)

This 1953 film has Janet Leigh in jeans, beautiful location shooting (and Technicolor cinematography) in the Rockies, and some of the most intense psychological warfare to be found in [director Anthony] Mann's angular and anguished oeuvre.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A plein air chamber piece and a masterwork of location shooting

Full Review… | August 23, 2015

This rock-solid Western is brisk, terse, and full of excellent performances..and for once, a Jimmy Stewart film doesn't find its leading man stealing the show!

Full Review… | September 18, 2010
Film and Felt

His every move meets resistance. In this grim cavalcade of paranoia on the hoof, the verbal jabs never let up.

Full Review… | May 5, 2010
East Bay Express

In this taut revenge Western, from Oscar-nominated script by Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom, Jimmy Stewart gives one of his best performances, revealing a darker facet to his screen persona that only a superb director like Anthony Mann could bring out

Full Review… | March 1, 2007

Mann never failed to deliver an astonishing ending to his Westerns, but this is one of his best.

Full Review… | September 8, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for The Naked Spur

As "The Naked Spur" opens, Jimmy Stewart has met an old prospector up in the hills and has hired him on to help track down a dangerous fugitive. This is all the set up required for this movie, as the film takes place wholly within these mountains and forests, and with the exception of the nameless indians who attack them, involves just five people. There's Stewart as Kemp, an amateur bounty hunter, out to get the money needed to buy back his ranch, Jesse the prospector (Millard Mitchell) and Roy the dishonorably discharged, indian-hunting soldier (Ralph Meeker). The three men have been thrown together by chance in order to bring Ben (Robert Ryan) back to justice, along with a young woman (Janet Leigh) Ben has snatched up along the way. Roy isn't very trustworthy, as his constant smiling demeanor lets us know. But it's the prisoner Ben who is the most fearsomely manipulative. He knows it's his neck that's going to be in the noose when they get back, and he tries everything in his power to squirm his way out of the rope they've got him in. The Naked Spur has more than a little in common with "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", only instead of gold, the treasure is the outlaw. Stewart is in his own way, as hard as Bogart from that film, but Stewart's character is offered a happy ending, if he so chooses to accept it. In that way, The Naked Spur tries to offer a more redeeming morality in the end, and it's not necessarily for the better.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

One-dimensional characters and corny situations stand between The Naked Spur and broad appeal. Still, Jimmy Stewart can make ANY script seem interesting and plausible.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Another boring confusing stupid western that I did not like. Of course there are good actors in this movie, so maybe you'd like it if you like westerns.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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