6.5/10
3,551
49 user 24 critic

The Left Handed Gun (1958)

Approved | | Western | 17 May 1958 (USA)
After his employer is murdered by rival cattlemen, a troubled and uneducated young cowboy vows revenge on the murderers.

Director:

Arthur Penn

Writers:

Leslie Stevens (screenplay), Gore Vidal (play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Billy The Kid
Lita Milan ... Celsa
John Dehner ... Pat Garrett
Hurd Hatfield ... Moultrie
James Congdon James Congdon ... Charlie Boudre
James Best ... Tom Folliard
Colin Keith-Johnston ... Tunstall
John Dierkes ... McSween
Robert Anderson ... Hill (as Bob Anderson)
Wally Brown ... Deputy Moon
Ainslie Pryor Ainslie Pryor ... Joe Grant
Martin Garralaga ... Saval
Denver Pyle ... Ollinger
Paul Smith ... Smith
Nestor Paiva ... Pete Maxwell
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Storyline

William Bonney - Billy the Kid - gets a job with a cattleman known as 'The Englishman,' and is befriended by the peaceful, religious man. But when a crooked sheriff and his men murder the Englishman because he plans to supply the local Army fort with his beef, Billy decides to avenge the death by killing the four men responsible, throwing the lives of everyone around him - Tom and Charlie, two hands he worked with; Pat Garrett, who is about to be married; and the kindly Mexican couple who take him in when he's in trouble - into turmoil, and endangering the General Amnesty set up by Governor Wallace to bring peace to the New Mexico Territory. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is William Bonney, a juvenile "tough" from the back-alleys of New York... a teenager wanted dead or alive throughout the West. This is the screen's first real story of the strange teen-age desperado known to legend as "Billy the Kid"... See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

17 May 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Billy the Kid See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,066
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cast includes 2 cast members of the TV Show, "The Dukes of Hazard". James Best (Tom Folliard) played Roscoe P Coltrane & Denver Pyle (Ollinger) played Uncle Jesse. See more »

Goofs

The film is about western outlaw Billy the Kid, who was in fact right-handed. See more »

Quotes

Billy The Kid: Does that notch...? Does that stand for a man?
Joe Grant: That's what it stands for.
Billy The Kid: You had to put that there so you'd remember?
Joe Grant: That's right.
Billy The Kid: Was he asleep when you shot him?
See more »

Connections

Version of Repertory Theatre: The Death of Billy the Kid (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
See more »

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User Reviews

In search of a father.
28 May 2002 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Like the precedent user said,all that will follow in Penn's best works is already here:the search of a father,the marginal hero,incapable of becoming part of a community.In "Miracle worker", which I look upon as his masterpiece,Helen's father is thoroughly unable to communicate with his daughter who immures herself in her autism.In "the chase" Robert Redford's character has been an outcast for his whole life.In "Bonnie and Clyde" ,not only Penn depicts par excellence marginal characters but he also introduces CW Moss's character ,whose father is a mean old man,and who loves the two gangsters as his parents.

At the beginning of the movie ,Billy is still a boy searching for his identity.His boss,who reads him the Bible ("through a glass,darkly"),gives him what he's longing for.One must notice that the relationship Billy/his boss-father is too short on the screen to be really convincing.This is accentuated by the fact that the supporting cast is faceless,and once his "dad" is dead,Newman carries the movie on his own:his performance is typically "actor's studio",very deep,very introspective,in a nutshell he plays Billy as he would play a Tennesse Williams character.We're far from the western actor,such as John Wayne or Joel McCrea.The sentence "I do not want you" often comes in the lines and drives Billy to despair and violence.Actually it's the last sentence he hears from the man he loves so much.

Because they have no shoulder to lean on,Penn's heroes are doomed oedipean human beings and except for Helen in "Miracle worker",their destiny leaves them no hope.


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