Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.


Week Ninety Eight: The Gunfighter


This my favorite kind of Western: simple, straight to the point, lean in execution. For all the love of Ford’s grandiose adventures, films like this are the backbone of the genre.

It also has a melancholy tone, an element I love in some Westerns and would like to capture in my own work. Peck plays with wider range as the lonely gunfighter, haunted by his reputation and inability to settle down. His earnest desire to leave the way of the gun is portrayed with perfection in the excellent script (no surprise that the story is credited to one of my favorite filmmakers, Andre De Toth), which wastes no words, and is directed with no frills by Henry King. I will definitely have to study his previous Peck collaboration, Twelve O’Clock High , and their later Western pair-up The Bravados.

I don’t have much else to say about this near-perfect Western other than it’s a must see for anyone who loves the genre.

Seen on Tubi.