The Left Handed Gun - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Left Handed Gun Reviews

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January 31, 2016
Too melodramatic for me.
May 15, 2015
Awful, awful screenplay. It fails to grip from the start and only worsens from there. I don't think I've ever seen such an enormous jumble of pointless scenes strewn together for a 50's western in my life.
½ March 27, 2015
The left handed gun is a barrel of fun.
August 31, 2014
Despite the film's author, Gore Vidal's, statement that this film is "a film only someone French could like." Arthur Penn's thoughtful retelling of the Billy the Kid legend is an interesting film that is considerably different than most westerns of the time. In his feature directorial debut, this film has more in common with the revisionist westerns of the late 60s and early 70s, presenting a much less romanticized version of the old west and the legend of Billy the Kid. Newman is fine in the role of Billy and give a performance that's more akin to James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" than it does a typical James Steward or Glenn Ford western performance. John Dehner gives a fine performance as Pat Garrett, and look fast for James Best and Denver Pyle in supporting roles. Not a perfect film, but it's one that's always kind of fascinated me.
August 19, 2014
newman takes a crack a billy the kid
February 28, 2013
Un bon western à forte touche dramatique. Mais pas le meilleur film d'Arthur Penn pour lui préfère La poursuite impitoyable, Georgia et évidemment Little Big Man.
January 3, 2013
The Left Handed Gun (1958) -- [6.0] -- On one hand, Arthur Penn's take on Billy the Kid isn't as whitewashed as other tellings. On the other hand, why should we care that some hot-headed simpleton ran out and got himself shot? Despite an admirable effort from Paul Newman, I couldn't quite invest in the character as much as I'd have liked, but the movie still moves at a brisk pace and features a fare share of good old-fashioned western action. The emotional crux of the story wants to be Billy's relationships with father figures John Tunstall (Colin Keith-Johnston) and Pat Garrett (John Dehner), but the former character is killed too early in the story to leave a lasting impression and the later never endears himself to either Billy or the audience. My favorite scene is after Billy's reported death in the fire, when friends Charlie and Tom (James Congdon and James Best) come to 'pay their respects' to a friend still very much alive.
½ June 7, 2012
A strange, surreal, not always successful take on the legend of Billy the Kid by Paul Newman care of Arthur Penn Fascinating at turns, plodding and off-putting at others. Nevertheless it sticks with me.
½ September 12, 2011
Paul Newman does a fantastic job as Billy the Kid
August 29, 2011
Just barely above average as a western, casting Paul Newman as Billy The Kid was a stretch in age, and doesn't really fall into the lore of Billy The Kid either. It might have been more believable if they just changed the names of the characters. But Arthur Penn's debut film is OK, but doesn't go above and beyond the television realm that the script was originally from.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2011
Billy the Kid seeks revenge for the killing of a cattle rancher who showed him kindness.
I've never found the Western genre that compelling. Sure, there are some Westerns that use the lawlessness of the place/era as a way to debate the formation of laws in some kind of modern Locke vs. Rousseau discussion, and there are others that are characters studies of a different sort. But overall, macho violence and loud action scenes usually dominate the genre, and I fail to connect to any of the characters.
Aside from Paul Newman's performance, The Left Handed Gun is everything I don't like about Westerns. It's predictable, and Billy the Kid holds no great aura for me - he's a snide, hot-headed, illiterate fuck-up, and though he comes to realize this by the end, I have trouble understanding why he holds so much pull for people in general and filmmakers specifically. Within the context of the film, I don't see any motivation for a woman to sleep with him (in the lamest seduction sequence ever - "With you. With you. With you.") or for Garrett to take him under his wing.
Overall, the film gets strong reviews from friends and reviewers alike, but there must be something I'm missing about this genre.
July 9, 2011
110710: Not too bad. Paul Newman in his early years portraying the left handed, and incorrect, version of Billy the Kid.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2011
Any fan of the Young Guns movies that our generation grew up with should check this out. Obviously the production value was not as good and Hollywood license runs rampant with Gore Vidal's classic non-fiction. This movie was erroniously titled at a time when most historians mistakenly assumed that Billy the Kid was left handed based on a reversed image.
June 4, 2011
Mediocre film portraying the stupidest Billy the Kid ever seen... many strange and meaningless scenes and erratic characters.
½ February 13, 2011
I'm not actually gonna blame Arthur Penn for directing this movie, i'm gonna blame Gore Vidal for making such a terrible and sentimental teleplay which this picture was based on. The Left Handed Gun is nothing but a political human correct representation of Billy the Kid as a regretting human being, in such a sentimental Hollywood way which I can't stand.

This is once again the story of Billy The Kid. It begings with the Kid wandering in the desert, and meets a bunch of people, he befriends one of the, a man called "The Englishman" who later killed by a corrupt businessmen. The Kid has decided to avange his dead friend. and that's how he became a infamous criminal.

The Lelf Handed Gun reminds me of thoose poor 30's western film such as Cimarron and The Big Trail, before Stagecoach. Where there's to much overacting, poor art direction and a political correct plot. Where in the hell is Paul Newman's Method acting? there's no chemistry between Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett. Away thumbs down.
December 26, 2010
I had recently finished reading James Best's autobiography & he donates a chapter to Paul Newman & the great respect that he had working w/ him on The Left Handed Gun. I was sorta mixed on this one to start because I thought Newman was playing Billy the Kid dim especially since he didn't have much dialogue. He's able to get some fire under it & is much better even though the silent dramatics are better suited for the likes of Cool Hand Luke. The melodrama gives this an older western feel that I wasn't too fond of but it grows on you & when you get the addition of John Dehner as Pat Garrett it greatly improves. Always good to see James Best movies especially since Im more familiar w/ his storied career
½ August 26, 2010
The film shows the adventures of Billy the Kid, but we see this character in a kid who has not grown and the actor does not quite know what role. You see the revenge and respect the gun battle. We would have preferred more suspense and fighting with pistols are not really intense. They should have done a more complete biography on his life and cut several passages as they ridicule a little actor Paul Newman.
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2010
While this is one of the many inferior Billy the Kid stories, it still has Paul Newman as a bizarre and crazy version of the character. The movie mainly fails on the lack of scope and story, which is completely mind boggling to me. When it's a character like Billy the Kid, you have no excuse to tell a weak story. I'm assuming this also had a lower budget, so some things are excused. However, it should really only be seen for Paul Newman; nothing else
May 12, 2010
Competent western, good cast and generally well acted, although some performances a little over the top. Well produced. It has some slow scenes, but overall it held my interest. I didn't feel Paul Newman brought the right depth of the character to the screen.
January 24, 2010
The performance from Newman is a better watch than the film generally, but it is still a very watchable western.
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