The Shootist

Watch The Shootist

"He's got to face a gunfight once more to live up to his legend once more. To win just one more time."
  • PG
  • 1976
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 7.6  (26,528)
  • 77

The Shootist is a 1976 Western starring John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, and Ron Howard. The film tells the story of an aging gunslinger named J.B. Books (John Wayne), who is diagnosed with cancer and decides to spend his final days in a boarding house in Carson City, Nevada. Despite his desire for a peaceful existence, Books finds himself embroiled in trouble when he crosses paths with a vengeful gang of outlaws.

At first glance, The Shootist may seem like just another standard Western film, but it is actually a deeply moving character study of a man nearing the end of his life. The film plays heavily on the theme of mortality, and the ways in which we confront our own mortality. John Wayne is excellent in the lead role, bringing both the toughness and the vulnerability of an old gunslinger who is forced to confront the reality of his own mortality.

The supporting cast is also strong, particularly Lauren Bacall as Bond Rogers, the widowed owner of the boarding house where Books is staying. Bacall's character is strong-willed and independent, and her chemistry with Wayne is palpable. Ron Howard, who was a 22-year-old actor at the time, also gives a performance that is noteworthy, playing Gillom Rogers, a young man who is in awe of Books and seeks to learn from him.

One of the most interesting aspects of The Shootist is the way it handles violence. The film is very much an anti-violence film, portraying the act of killing as something that is never justified. Books is a character who has spent his entire life using violence to solve his problems, but he is forced to confront the fact that this way of life has left him alone and alienated. The film is more interested in exploring the psychological effects of violence than in glorifying it.

Director Don Siegel does an excellent job of creating a moody and atmospheric film. The Nevada landscape is stark and desolate, reflecting the inner turmoil of John Wayne's character. The film also has a strong sense of period, with authentic costumes and production design that transport us back to the late 19th century.

The Shootist was John Wayne's final film, and there is a sense of finality and melancholy that pervades the entire movie. Wayne had been diagnosed with stomach cancer before filming began, and his own mortality no doubt influenced his performance. The film is a fitting tribute to Wayne's legendary career, showcasing the screen presence that made him a Hollywood icon.

Overall, The Shootist is a powerful and poignant Western that explores themes of mortality, violence, and redemption. It features a strong cast, excellent direction, and a haunting musical score by Elmer Bernstein. The film's anti-violence message is especially resonant today, making it a must-see for anyone interested in the Western genre.

The Shootist is a 1976 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6 and a MetaScore of 77.

The Shootist
Where to Watch The Shootist
The Shootist is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Shootist for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (26,528)
  • Metascore