A Gunfight

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"In Bajo Rio, they pay to see a man kill a bull. Today, they'll pay to see a man kill another man."
  • PG
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 29 min
  • 6.3  (1,407)

A Gunfight is a Western drama film from 1971 starring Kirk Douglas, Johnny Cash, and Jane Alexander. This movie is set in the 1880s and follows two men, named Will Tenneray (played by Kirk Douglas) and Abe Cross (played by Johnny Cash), who are hired to participate in a gunfight. The gunfight is a public spectacle intended to settle a long-standing feud between two families in a small Texas town.

Will Tenneray and Abe Cross are both aging gunslingers who have made a name for themselves in the past. They were once notorious for their deadly skills with a pistol, but they are now past their prime and seeking financial stability in their old age. They are both offered a lucrative sum of money to participate in the gunfight, which will be the main event of a town fair.

The two gunslingers first meet at a saloon where they size each other up and exchange small talk before ultimately realizing they have been hired to fight against each other in the gunfight. They both find a common bond through their mutual experiences as notorious figures, and they begin to form a relationship that transcends the impending violence they are expected to participate in.

As the day of the gunfight approaches, tension begins to build in the town, and the feud between the two families is brought to the forefront. Will and Abe must confront their own reputations and past actions as they prepare for the violent encounter. Meanwhile, the rest of the town eagerly anticipates the gunfight, hoping it will finally put an end to the feud.

The day of the gunfight arrives, and the two aging gunslingers face off against each other in a deserted town square. The tension is palpable, and the outcome uncertain. As the two men stand facing each other with their pistols drawn, the crowd watches in silence. The sound of bells ringing from the nearby church adds an eerie layer of tension to the already tense atmosphere.

The gunfight is brief and intense, and its outcome is left unknown until the very end of the movie. However, the real drama of the film comes from the exploration of the characters and the relationships they form leading up to the violent climax. The movie is a meditation on the consequences of violence and the way it can both bring people together and tear them apart.

Kirk Douglas delivers a standout performance as Will Tenneray, a complex and somewhat tragic character who is struggling to come to terms with his own violent past. Johnny Cash brings his own unique presence to the role of Abe Cross, infusing the character with a quiet dignity and introspection. Jane Alexander plays the role of Amy Fowler, a local schoolteacher who serves as a voice of reason amidst the chaos of the feud.

Directed by Lamont Johnson, A Gunfight stands out as a thoughtful and introspective addition to the Western genre. It is not just a shoot-'em-up action movie but an exploration of the human condition and the complexities of interpersonal relationships. The film's message remains relevant today, as it calls on viewers to consider the true cost of violence and the power of redemption.

A Gunfight
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 29 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (1,407)