The Shootist

Subscribe to John Wayne alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th August 1976

Distributed by: Paramount Home Video

Production compaines: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Paramount Pictures

Reviews 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew


Producer: M.J. Frankovich,

Starring: John Wayne as John Bernard Books, Lauren Bacall as Bond Rogers, Ron Howard as Gillom Rogers, James Stewart as Dr. E.W. Hostetler, Richard Boone as Mike Sweeney, Hugh O'Brian as Pulford, Bill McKinney as Cobb, Harry Morgan as Marshall Thibido, John Carradine as Beckum, Sheree North as Serepta, Rick Lenz as Dobkins (as Richard Lenz), Scatman Crothers as Moses, Gregg Palmer as Burly man

The Shootist Movie Review

John Wayne's final film, just now released on DVD, is a labor of love that simply begs for analysis.

In The Shootist, Wayne plays an old and dying gunfighter named J.B. Books -- nay, a "shootist" -- who returns to his old stomping grounds in order to die in peace. His old doc (James Stewart) confirms that he has cancer, so Books heads for the boarding house of the widow Rogers (Lauren Bacall), raising her son Gillom (Ron Howard) all by her lonesome.

Of course, when word gets out about Books' condition, his old enemies start to surface, creating trouble, bloodshed, and a lot of nuisances for the residents of Carson City.

That said, The Shootist is not an action-packed film. While the gun battles are there, diligently dropped in every half-hour, the film is really about a man coming to terms with his own impending death. He haggles over his own tombstone, sells his trusty old horse, all while the cancer gets progressively worse. He teaches young Gillom a thing or two, revives passion in the widow, and gets his revenge, all in a quick 98 minutes.

The really interesting bits of The Shootist, though, are behind the scenes. Wayne himself was of course dying of cancer during the production -- he'd already had one lung removed. But in fact, as a short and very interesting documentary on the disc details, Wayne wasn't the first choice for the role -- it was George C. Scott (try to imagine that!). As well, the novelist's son explains how the film differed from the book, namely in a Hollywood ending that is strikingly different than the original (and in fact, the way he describes it, far more compelling).

For any fan of the western genre, The Shootist is a true must-own.

Now stick out your tongue, Duke.


Subscribe to John Wayne alerts


The Shootist Rating

" Excellent "


More John Wayne

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...


Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...