Plot: Set in the twilight of the Old West era, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” features Jimmy Stewart as a fish-out-of-water Eastern lawyer who becomes the target of local outlaw Liberty Valance’s (Lee Marvin) bullying. Local Rancher Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) steps in to protect Stewart – and risks losing the love of his life in the process. With a great supporting cast including Lee Marvin, John Carradine and Lee Van Cleef, this 1962 film marks the last partnership between Wayne and legendary director John Ford.
Perks: It’s not often that John Wayne is upstaged – however, we think that Jimmy Stewart’s touching portrayal of a just man thoroughly entangled in the ambiguous morality of the Wild West is the main attraction here, though Lee Marvin’s chilling portrait of pure malevolence as the titular Valance comes close. As the movie progresses, the audience learns that the line separating myth and reality is easily blurred in the Old West: as the film’s famous line goes, “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
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