The Shooting

Watch The Shooting

"Suspenseful desert pursuit in the “High Noon” tradition"
  • G
  • 1967
  • 1 hr 22 min
  • 6.5  (6,341)

In the 1966 movie The Shooting, directed by Monte Hellman, the audience is taken on a journey through the American West as a woman named Willett Gashade hires two gunslingers, Coley Boyard (played by Will Hutchins) and Billy Spear (played by Jack Nicholson), to escort her across the desert. The three of them make their way towards a ghost town, where they are met with unexpected circumstances that they could never have foreseen.

From the very beginning, The Shooting is a tense and atmospheric movie that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The barren landscape of the American West serves as the perfect backdrop for this dark and moody film, and the eerie silence that often accompanies the trio only adds to the sense of unease. The viewer is made to feel as though they are on this journey with the protagonists, never quite sure what's waiting around the next bend.

One of the standout performances in The Shooting is that of Jack Nicholson. As Billy Spear, he embodies the quintessential cowboy, with his scruffy appearance and quiet, confident demeanor. Yet beneath the surface, there is a simmering anger and darkness that is hinted at throughout the movie. It's a testament to Nicholson's talent that he is able to convey so much with so few words.

Millie Perkins plays Willett Gashade with a quiet intensity that is equally compelling. She is initially presented as a mysterious and enigmatic figure, but as the movie progresses, we begin to learn more about her motivations and past. Perkins does an excellent job of imbuing the character with a sense of melancholy, which serves to deepen the sense of unease that permeates the film.

Will Hutchins rounds out the cast as Coley Boyard, the more affable of the two gunslingers. His performance is a nice counterpoint to Nicholson's simmering aggression, and he shines particularly in his scenes with Perkins. Together, the three actors form a convincing trio, one that the audience genuinely cares about.

What makes The Shooting particularly interesting is its ambiguity. Throughout the movie, we are given hints and clues as to what is really going on, but it's left up to the viewer to interpret the events. There are several different theories as to what the movie is really about, ranging from an allegory for the Vietnam War to a commentary on the nature of existence itself. This ambiguity only adds to the movie's haunting atmosphere, and it's a testament to Hellman's skill as a director that he is able to maintain that sense of mystery and tension throughout the film.

In terms of its technical aspects, The Shooting is a stunning movie. From the cinematography to the score, every element of the film is perfectly executed. The use of long shots in particular is striking, with the camera often lingering on the vast, empty landscape of the American West. The score, composed by frequent Hellman collaborator Richard Markowitz, is haunting and otherworldly, perfectly capturing the movie's sense of unease. Indeed, The Shooting is a film that would be just as compelling even without any dialogue.

Perhaps the greatest testament to The Shooting's enduring legacy is the fact that it continues to be discussed and analyzed over fifty years after its release. Its ambiguous nature has lent itself to countless interpretations, and it remains a favorite among film scholars and cinephiles alike. That said, even for those who aren't particularly interested in dissecting its deeper meanings, The Shooting is a gripping and unsettling film that showcases the talents of everyone involved. It's a movie that deserves to be seen by anyone interested in American westerns or just great cinema in general.

The Shooting is a 1967 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 22 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.

The Shooting
Where to Watch The Shooting
The Shooting is available to watch free on Peacock, Crackle, Plex, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and Popcornflix. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Max, FuboTV, Apple TV and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent The Shooting for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 22 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (6,341)