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High Noon (1952)

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A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director:

Fred Zinnemann

Writers:

Carl Foreman (screenplay by), John W. Cunningham (based on the magazine story "The Tin Star" by)
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3,546 ( 274)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Marshal Will Kane
Thomas Mitchell ... Mayor Jonas Henderson
Lloyd Bridges ... Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell
Katy Jurado ... Helen Ramírez
Grace Kelly ... Amy Fowler Kane
Otto Kruger ... Judge Percy Mettrick
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Martin Howe (as Lon Chaney)
Harry Morgan ... Sam Fuller (as Henry Morgan)
Ian MacDonald ... Frank Miller
Eve McVeagh Eve McVeagh ... Mildred Fuller
Morgan Farley ... Dr. Mahin - Minister
Harry Shannon ... Cooper
Lee Van Cleef ... Jack Colby
Robert J. Wilke ... Jim Pierce (as Robert Wilke)
Sheb Wooley ... Ben Miller
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Storyline

On the day he gets married and hangs up his badge, Marshal Will Kane is told that a man he sent to prison years before, Frank Miller, is returning on the noon train to exact his revenge. Having initially decided to leave with his new spouse, Will decides he must go back and face Miller. However, when he seeks the help of the townspeople he has protected for so long, they turn their backs on him. It seems Kane may have to face Miller alone, as well as the rest of Miller's gang, who are waiting for him at the station. Written by Man_With_No_Name_126

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a man who was too proud to run. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some western violence, and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

30 July 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

High Noon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$730,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

Although the film is set in the 1870s, the wedding dress worn by Grace Kelly clearly had a zipper up the back. The zipper did not go into production until the 20th century. See more »

Quotes

Helen: What kind of woman are you? How can you leave him like this? Does the sound of guns frighten you that much?
Amy: I've heard guns. My father and my brother were killed by guns. They were on the right side but that didn't help them any when the shooting started. My brother was nineteen. I watched him die. That's when I became a Quaker. I don't care who's right or who's wrong. There's got to be some better way for people to live. Will knows how I feel about it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Buffalo Gals (Won't You Come Out Tonight)
(1844) (uncredited)
Written by William Cool White
Played offscreen on piano in the saloon
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Man Who Won't Run Away
29 May 2006 | by SnorriGodhiSee all my reviews

For me, Will Kane embodies the American ideal of a hero: a man who stands up for what is right, even when nobody else does, even when the temptation is strong to stick the head in the sand.

Will Kane explains his outlook at the outset: there is no point in running away if that means spending the rest of your life watching your back. His best chance is to face his enemies on his home ground. At this point, he still thinks that honest folk will stand by him. The rest of the movie is a study in character: will he stand his ground when his entire world crumbles around him?

It is puzzling that Howard Hawks, John Wayne, and others thought of High Noon as un-American. I am not sure if this is because of the allegory of the McCarthy era; or the people of an American town collectively sticking their heads in the sand; or the Marshal throwing his badge to the ground in the last scene.

Clearly, the movie does not criticize McCarthyism itself. (It has nothing to say about communism, either.) It appears to criticize the people who did not stand up to McCarthy and the HUAAC, but it can equally well be seen as a comment on the appeasers who did not stand up to fascism or communism.

In any case, not too much must be made of the anti-appeasement angle, because the townsfolk is not the primary focus of the movie: the focus is on Will Kane. When the townsfolk behave like cowards, that gives Will Kane a chance to prove that he is a hero. If the town had stood by the Marshal, we would have seen, at best, an excellent Western like Rio Bravo, but not a masterpiece like High Noon. For Will Kane to be a hero, it is necessary that he stands alone.

No statement can convey the dramatic impact of Will Kane throwing his badge away, but it is worth discussing what this gesture means. For me, it means that the town and the badge were not worth fighting for. Will Kane fought for principle: he fought because he does not run away.


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