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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

From Academic Kids

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a classic Western movie made in 1962. It stars James Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin, and was directed by John Ford.

Jimmy Stewart plays Ransom Stoddard, an attorney who believes in law and order, and refuses to carry a gun. John Wayne is Tom Doniphon, a tough western gunslinger (but not a villain, and a friend of Ransom Stoddard), who points out that there is no law, and "A man needs a gun in these parts, pilgrim."

This might be an academic debate between Stoddard and Doniphon, but Lee Marvin is the no-good outlaw Liberty Valance who only knows the law of the gun, whose only way to settle differences is with violence.

The movie explores the "odd couple" relationship between Stoddard and Doniphon, and how the question of Liberty Valance is settled. It also discusses the "civilization" of the West, in its struggle between its outlaw past and the civilizing effects of the law, the government, and women.

Quotes

Maxwell Scott: This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
Liberty Valance: You lookin' for trouble, Doniphan?
Tom Doniphon: You aimin' to help me find some?
Tom Doniphon: "It ain't mannerly out west."

External links and references

fr:L'Homme qui tua Liberty Valance

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