The Shootist (1976)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas

    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    J.B. Books, a 60ish gunfighter, finds that he has stomach cancer and two months to live
    . He takes a room with Bond Rogers and her son, Gillom to wait until death comes.
    Of course, his very presence starts off events in the town.
    The Marshal comes, prepared to die in a shootout, Gillom tries to idolize him,
    Bond first is disgusted and then pitties him.
    Then, realizing that he will die in great pain,
    he comes up with an idea to go out with a bang.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... John Bernard Books
    Lauren Bacall .... Bond Rogers
    Ron Howard .... Gillom Rogers
    James Stewart .... Dr. E.W. Hostetler
    Richard Boone .... Mike Sweeney
    Hugh O'Brian .... Jack Pulford (faro dealer at Metropole Saloon)
    Bill McKinney .... Jay Cobb (owner, Cob's Creamery)
    Harry Morgan .... Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido
    John Carradine .... Hezekiah Beckum (undertaker)
    Sheree North .... Serepta (Books' ex-girlfriend)
    Rick Lenz .... Dan Dobkins (reporter, 'Morning Appeal') (as Richard Lenz)
    Scatman Crothers .... Moses Brown (liveryman)
    Gregg Palmer .... Burly man
    Alfred Dennis .... Dearden (barber)
    Dick Winslow .... Streetcar driver
    Melody Thomas Scott .... Girl on streetcar (as Melody Thomas)
    Kathleen O'Malley .... Schoolteacher
    Johnny Crawford .... Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
    Christopher George .... Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
    Leo Gordon .... Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
    Charles G. Martin .... Murray (the bartender) (uncredited)
    Ricky Nelson .... Books' fellow lawman in flashback (uncredited)
    James Nolan .... Gambler (uncredited)
    Henry Slate .... Pulford confidante (uncredited)
    Ralph Volkie .... White-haired bartender (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Glendon Swarthout (novel)
    Scott Hale (screenplay) and
    Miles Hood Swarthout (screenplay)

    Original Music
    Elmer Bernstein

    Bruce Surtees

    Denny Arnold .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jim Burk .... stunt double, stunts (uncredited)
    Steven Burnett .... stunts (uncredited)
    Roydon Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Henry Wills .... stunts wrangler (uncredited)

    This was John Wayne's final film.

    While this is marked as James Stewart's final appearance in a western movie, he did lend his voice to the cartoon movie An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), where he voices an aging hound dog sheriff named Wylie.

    John Wayne greatly admired director Don Siegel and had said he would like to have played Clint Eastwood's role in Dirty Harry (1971). Wayne was never actually offered the part however because of his age, although he later made two cop movies of his own.

    There had been some opposition to the casting of John Wayne, since the producers thought that at 68 he was too old to be believable as a gunfighter.

    Contrary to popular belief, John Wayne did not have cancer when he made this film. His entire left lung and several ribs had been removed in surgery on 16 September 1964, and in 1969 he was declared cancer free. It was not until 12 January 1979, almost three years after this movie had been filmed, that the disease was found to have returned.

    When viewing footage of the final gunfight in the bar, John Wayne saw that it was edited to show him shooting a guy in the back. He said, "I've made over 250 pictures and have never shot a guy in the back. Change it." They did. However, Wayne had shot men in the back in several of his movies, including The Searchers (1956).

    To add a sense of realism to John Wayne's character, archive footage from several of his westerns was used to introduce J.B. Books after the beginning credits. Included was footage from Red River (1948), Hondo (1953), Rio Bravo (1959) and El Dorado (1966).

    When J.B. Books (John Wayne) arrives at Dr. E.W. Hostetler's (James Stewart) office, Hostetler mentions that it has been 15 years since they last saw each other. The inside joke is that Wayne and Stewart last worked together on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), 15 years before.

    John Wayne was only cast as Books only after five other star names had passed.

    John Wayne fell ill with influenza during the production and was hospitalized for a fortnight. It was uncertain at one point whether the film would actually be completed.

    John Wayne was great to the Carson City locals while he was staying at the Ormsby House Hotel during the filming. He signed autographs for young people readily, including one signed for future famed Nevada Opera lead mezzo soprano Mary Anna Replogle.

    The title of the film comes from a famous quip by the gunslinger Clay Allison. Allison, a bounty hunter and hired killer whose marksmanship and drunken, homicidal rages made him feared across Texas, would reportedly tell anyone brave enough to ask that he was employed as a "shootist".

    John Wayne liked working with Lauren Bacall in their first film, Blood Alley (1955) so much that he hand-picked her as his leading lady for this film.

    George C. Scott was originally offered the role of Books, and accepted it on the condition that not one word of the script be changed. However, the role was given to John Wayne after he expressed interest. The producers claim they had wanted him all along, but did not believe he would be interested in the film.

    An interviewer asked Ron Howard if John Wayne had given him any tips on acting. He said that, during the filming of the final shootout, Wayne took him aside and said he had some advice for him. As Howard eagerly awaited some profound advice, Wayne said "Ron, if you want to look menacing - close your mouth."

    John Wayne did a TV Public Service Announcement for the American Cancer Society that began with a clip of the scene in which the doctor tells Books he has cancer.

    Maureen O'Hara was considered for the role of Bond Rogers, but director Don Siegel felt she wasn't suitable for the part.

    Lauren Bacall's character's first name was a reference to Ward Bond.

    At the beginning of the seventh day, Gillom whistles a Scott Joplin song made famous to audiences three years earlier in The Sting (1973).

    The engraved Colt Single Action Army revolvers used by J. B. Books in this film were in reality a pair of 1950's-made replicas p

    'Hugh O'Brian (I)' wanted to be in the film, so he was given the character of Pulford, who was originally in the novel. Pulford was a card dealer. In the movie, his gun fight with a patron is depicted as occurring after Books comes to town. In the book, however, the gun fight took place much earlier.

    The name of Scatman Crothers's character, Moses Brown, is an allusion to the McCandles Ranch cook played by Bill Walker in Big Jake (1971).

    Despite receiving generally favorable reviews, the movie proved to be one of John Wayne's least successful movies ever on its release.

    Although now widely regarded as one of the finest final movies of any star, along with The Misfits (1961) starring Clark Gable and On Golden Pond (1981) starring Henry Fonda, this was never actually intended as John Wayne's last movie, particularly since it was not until January 1979 - three years after filming had begun - that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. In July 1978, after recovering from open heart surgery, he announced that he was intending to make a movie called "Beau John" with Ron Howard, but for some reason it never happened.

    The movie has often been compared with The Gunfighter (1950), a part John Wayne had wanted to play but which had instead gone to Gregory Peck.

    James Stewart only agreed to play a cameo role in the film because John Wayne had specifically requested him. His short time on the film proved to be trying. The bad acoustics of the huge, hollow sound stages worsened his hearing difficulties, and he stayed by himself most of the time. He and Wayne muffed their lines so often in the main scene between them that director Don Siegel accused them of not trying hard enough. Wayne's reply was a variation on an old John Ford line, advising the director, "If you'd like the scene done better, you'd better get a couple of better actors." Later on, the star told friends that Stewart had known his lines, but hadn't been able to hear his cues, and that in turn had caused his own fumbling. Because Stewart's movie career had ended several years before, he was only paid $50,000 for his part.

    After 47 years in Hollywood, John Wayne did not film a picture in the year 1975. Production on The Shootist (1976) started in January 1976.

    Final film of Buzz Barton.

    Two years prior to the release of this film, Richard Boone, Harry Morgan and Rick Lenz had co-starred in the NBC television series, "Hec Ramsey" (1972) which was also set in 1901 and depicted the fading of the Old West and the coming of modern law enforcement.

    SPOILER: The original screenplay had Gillom Rogers (Ron Howard) shooting and killing J.B. Books (John Wayne). In the screenplay, the killing disturbed Gillom so much that he throws away the pistol and leaves the bar, repulsed by the act. Wayne had the screenplay changed so that Books is killed by the bartender, who is then killed by Rogers.

    * Crew or equipment visible: In the final shooting when the bartender shoots Mr. Books, the squib detonation wires are visible on the ground and leading up each man's leg.

    * Crew or equipment visible: When Sweeney is coming at Books with the table in front of him, the squib detonation wires are visible on the floor. The same wires are seen when Books falls to the floor after being shot by the bartender, and when Gillom shoots the bartender the second time.

    * Continuity: In the final shootout, Books fires his belly gun four times, before he drops it, and his holster gun three times. The two nearly simultaneous shots through Sweeney's table are so fast, they have to be one from each pistol. After Gillom takes the holster gun and fires it three times at the bartender, it should be empty. But as he prepares to throw the gun away, it is obvious there are still loaded rounds in at least two chambers.

    * Revealing mistakes: When Books shoots Cobb in the final scene in the bar, Cobb's blood pack is clearly visible beneath his shirt.

    * Continuity: Towards the end of the movie, before the final gunfight, Sweeny drives up and parks his automobile outside the Metropole. As he gets out of the auto, he raises the tiller. Moments later when Books arrives at the Metropole, the tiller on Sweeny's auto is in the lower position.

    * Continuity: After he discharges Dobkins setting a foot on his buttock, and Dobkins stretchs out on the ground, Books throws away his hat which falls on his feet. When Dobkins picks it up still lying, it is on his right side almost about his hip.

    * Factual errors: When Books arrives in Carson City, the newspaper he buys says "Monday Morning January 22, 1901" at the top. 22 January 1901 was actually a Tuesday.

    * Continuity: Books' hair goes from being parted on his left to his right then back to his left after he tells Marshal Thibido he (Books) is going to die when they first meet while in Books' room.

    * Anachronisms: In the opening scene labeled as being set in 1871, a pair of Colt Peacemaker revolvers with 4-3/4 inch barrels is shown. This model was developed for the US Army in 1873. Civilian sales started in 1875, and the 4-3/4 barrel length wasn't available until 1877.

    * Crew or equipment visible: When Sweeney drives up and stops his automobile outside the Metropole, there is a visible "stop" device for the car placed on the ground at the left front wheel.

    * Factual errors: Queen Victoria died on January 22nd so her death would not appear in the newspaper until the next day, January 23rd, at the very earliest, and certainly not as shown in the paper dated 22nd.

    * Factual errors: When Bond and Books first meet, Books tells Bond that his name is William Hickock, former marshal of Abilene. Bond tells Gillom what Books said, and Gillom tells her that Wild Bill Hickock died before he (Gillom) was born. Wild Bill Hickock's name was James Butler Hickock, not William Hickock.

    * Continuity: After Books and Gillom practice shooting at a tree, they go for a walk. Gillom pulls out a whiskey bottle. In the cut just before Books takes the bottle from Gillom's hand, the bottle position changes from Gillom's left hand to his right hand.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Kings Row, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
    Krebs-Peterson House - 500 Mountain Street, Carson City, Nevada, USA
    Laramie Street, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
    Midwest Street, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
    Stage 14, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
    Stage 25, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
    Washoe Lake State Park - 4855 Eastlake Boulevard, Carson City, Nevada, USA

    Watch this Trailer



    Previous discussion:-
    The Shootist

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 17 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • The Shootist is a 1976 Western film directed by Don Siegel and starring John Wayne in his final film role.
    Based on the 1975 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout
    with a screenplay by Miles Hood Swarthout (the son of the author) and Scott Hale,
    the film is about a dying gunfighter who spends his last days looking for a way to die
    with the least pain and the most dignity
    The film co-stars Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Harry Morgan, and James Stewart.
    In 1977, The Shootist received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction (Robert F. Boyle, Arthur Jeph Parker),
    a BAFTA Film Award nomination for Best Actress (Lauren Bacall), and a Golden Globe Award
    nomination for Best Actor (Ron Howard), as well as the National Board of Review Award
    as one of the Top Ten Films of 1976.

    Duke's final film is one that must rank, highly with The Searchers, Red River, etc.,
    as one his greatest fims, and there's is a feeling amongst all his fans,
    that he should have won another Oscar for his performance.
    It was great story, set in motion by the brilliant montage, at the beginning.

    Duke quoted,


    "This is the kind of picture, you wait for.They don't come by often, so when they do, you grab fast"

    In this case, he grabbed the right film, and in this case, the role, was the right role, for him.

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • I watched this movie again last and even though you know how it is going to end it still makes me cry every time I see it. The begining where they tie all his characters into the one J.B. Books character was just perfect. I remember when I saw it at the theater when it was first released being a fan you somehow knew that this was his last movie and that made it even sadder. I have never understood why Duke was not a least nominated for an Oscar for this performance, I guess it had something to with Hollywood politics, but I have always felt it was absolutely flawless and what a fitting end to his career.

    Baby Sis


    "Give me a man like Duke Wayne"...Marueen O'Hara

  • Hi

    Not being nominated for an oscar for the Shootist had nothing to do with his politics it was the studios mis management in releasing the film in the summer and putting all their effort into King Kong.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • King kong, with jeff bridges and charles grodin was a flop was it now?. i particularly thought it was dreadful.

    Just the same this movie is very touching and gets me everytime, must have been hard for the Duke to make this...knowing of course he would inevitably see his own fate end like this.

    I really did not like little ronnie in this movie, but thought stewart,boone and bacall to be marvelous. I did like crothers as well as that haggler!..


  • Even though this was DUKE'S last film I rank it right up there with ROOSTER COGBURN . It really shows his outlook on life. The teenagers of today could learn alot from DUKE about how to live your life and how to respect yourself.

  • Memorable Quotes

    John Bernard Books: Damn.
    Bond Rogers: John Bernard, you swear too much.
    John Bernard Books: The hell I do.
    [Books has just had a confrontation with Mike Sweeney]

    Mrs. Rogers: Do you know that man?
    John Bernard Books: Not him personally; but I had some dealings with his brother, Albert.
    Mrs. Rogers: What kind of dealings?
    [Books looks at her]
    Mrs. Rogers: Oh.

    John Bernard Books: I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    Pulford confidante: Hey, Pulford. Did you hear John Bernard Books is stayin' out at Mrs. Rogers' boarding house? I heard Thibodo say he was dyin'!
    Jack Pulford: Yes, so I heard. Shame; he was a man I could have taken.
    Dearden: Bullshit.
    Jack Pulford: My friend, you have two ways to leave this establishment; immediately or dead.

    Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido: Books, I want you out of town. These are law-abiding people here and I don't want any trouble. I can deputize as many men as I need to see that you leave.
    John Bernard Books: I'm not going anywhere, Marshal. I'm dying and I intend to die right here.
    Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido: Really? You're really dyin'?
    John Bernard Books: Ask Doc Hostetler.
    Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido: Hot damn! You know, Books, that's the best news I've had all day. While I was walking over here I was thinking, what if Books decides to kill me? Who will take over as marshal? Will the town council pay my pension to my wife? Damn, that's good news.

    Dr. E.W. Hostetler: Books, I've been a doctor a long time and every now and then I have to tell a man or a woman what I'm about to tell you. Books, you have a cancer.
    John Bernard Books: Damn! Can you just cut it out?
    Dr. E.W. Hostetler: No, I'd have to gut you like a fish.
    John Bernard Books: Well, Doc; how long do I have?
    Dr. E.W. Hostetler: Two maybe three months. You won't feel any different for a while, then the pain will start. A little at first, then toward the end, the pain will be unbearable.
    John Bernard Books: Well, that's it then. Thanks, Doc.

    Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido: Hey, Books; did you hear what happened at the Metropole last night? Faro dealer, Pulford, shot a man clean through the heart at eighty paces. Maybe you should go to the Metropole, let Pulford deal you a game of cards.

    Dr. E.W. Hostetler: You know, Books; I'm not an especially brave man. But, if I were you and had lived my entire life the way you have, I don't think that the death I just described to you is not the one I would choose.

    Gillom Rogers: [Books is giving Gillom gunfighting lessons] Mr. Books, my grouping of shots was tighter than yours. How is it you've killed so many men?
    John Bernard Books: First thing is, that target wasn't shooting back at you. Second, most men at that last second will flinch; I won't.


    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Hi,
    I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
    looking for previous discussion, relating to thIS movie.
    I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
    so that they are now under one forum:-

    If you are interested, please click on the link:-

    The Shootist, Waynes, Last and Greatest Movie

    The Shootist, The Book vs. The Movie

    The Shootist.DUKE AT HIS BEST

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • AMEN to that, brother!

    As you might guess from the comments above, this film ranks near the top of our list of JW movies. It is a classic, and truly a fitting final film for this great actor.

    Deep Discount DVD offers this film individually as well as part of two different collections, and also some movie posters.

    Amazon has the newer release of The Shootist that is part of Paramount's John Wayne Collection (Deep Discount doesn't). Amazon also has the book on which the movie is based, as well as several collections which include this film.

    Chester :newyear:

  • I am sorry. I did not like this film. I'm not saying that it is not an excellent film, I'm just saying that I, personally, did not like it. I found it very depressing. Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not adding this one to my collection. It is too sad.

  • This is a powerful moving picture (no pun intented). It is made esp. powerful by the use of clips from old Duke pictures as J.B. Brooks' personal history. The supporting cast including Laurne Bacall, Ron Howard, Richard Boone, and Jimmy Stward of course, is just four-star as is Don Seagal's direction.

    John Bernard Books (The Shootist):
    "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."

  • Duke's Movie Locations

    The Shootist was filmed mostly in the following locations



    Click on

    Washoe Lake State Park

    Information from
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Washoe Lake State Park is a Nevada state park in Washoe County, Nevada. Located between the cities of Carson City and Reno near US 395, it is in the Western Nevada Region of Nevada State Parks.

    Best Wishes
    London- England