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The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)

In Vinegaroon, Texas, former outlaw Roy Bean appoints himself the judge for the region and dispenses his brand of justice as he sees fit.

Director:

John Huston

Writer:

John Milius (original screenplay)
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Popularity
3,890 ( 9,909)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Judge Roy Bean
Roy Jenson ... Outlaw
Gary Combs ... Outlaw
Fred Brookfield Fred Brookfield ... Outlaw
Bennie E. Dobbins Bennie E. Dobbins ... Outlaw (as Ben Dobbins)
Richard Farnsworth ... Outlaw (as Dick Farnsworth)
Leroy Johnson Leroy Johnson ... Outlaw (as LeRoy Johnson)
Fred Krone Fred Krone ... Outlaw
Terry Leonard Terry Leonard ... Outlaw
Dean Smith ... Outlaw
Margo Epper Margo Epper ... Whore
Jeannie Epper ... Whore
Stephanie Epper Stephanie Epper ... Whore
Victoria Principal ... Maria Elena
Barbara J. Longo Barbara J. Longo ... Fat Lady
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Storyline

A no account outlaw establishes his own particular brand of law and order and builds a town on the edges of civilization in this farcical western. With the aid of an old law text and unpredictable notions Roy Bean distinguishes between lawbreakers and lawgivers by way of his pistols. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Maybe This Isn't The Way It Was - It's The Way It Should Have Been! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

17 December 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean See more »

Filming Locations:

San Pedro River, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$16,530,578
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The shooting location was about a 90-minute drive outside of Tucson; John Huston himself lived on the location for the duration of the shoot. He later wrote, " . . . I was the only one who did, except a watchman. The others went back to the town, but I stayed there all the time in a trailer. I've been on so many locations, and I've often wondered why everyone takes fatiguing, back-breaking journeys backwards and forwards, day after day, sometimes an hour's journey over rough roads, and I've often thought, 'Why not stay there, with the comfortable trailers you can live in today?'". See more »

Goofs

When Bean regains consciousness in the alley behind the theater, he pushes over a modern, round, galvanized garbage can. See more »

Quotes

Judge Roy Bean: Got any money?
Bart Jackson: Not much. We tried to rob Three Rivers Flyer. Couldn't catch it. The passengers shot at us from the windows for sport! Not easy bein' an outlaw in times like these.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German version is cut ca. 20 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inglourious Basterds (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Marmalade, Molasses and Honey
Lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman
Music by Maurice Jarre
Sung by Andy Williams
[The song is played as background to the montage with Judge Bean, Maria Elena and the Watch Bear immediately after the bear's arrival in town]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean (John Huston, 1972) ***
25 August 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This was Paul Newman’s third of four films about legendary figures of the American West – the others being William “Billy The Kid” Bonney in THE LEFT HANDED GUN (1958), Butch Cassidy in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) and William “Buffalo Bill” Cody in BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS, OR SITTING BULL’S HISTORY LESSON (1976) – and his first of two in a row with director Huston – the other being the espionage thriller THE MACKINTOSH MAN (1973; which, incidentally, was partly filmed in Malta).

The last three Westerns all came at the tail-end of the genre and, apart from being in a decidedly comedic vein, can also be dubbed “Revisionist”. Newman essays the titular figure as a character part, with his handsome features hidden behind a scruffy beard (his hair has all gone white by the end) and little display of his trademark ruggedness and mischievous charm. Ironically, despite the phenomenal box-office success of movies like THE STING (1973) and THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974), the Seventies weren’t particularly distinguished for Newman as an actor and his performance here is arguably his best work of the decade!

The film is generally elegiac in mood (especially during its last act when the Old West is all but vanquished in the name of progress) and episodic in nature, with a plethora of stars turning up for just one sequence or scene: Anthony Perkins as a preacher, Tab Hunter as a convicted murderer, Stacy Keach as an albino badman who terrorizes the town, John Huston himself as the owner of a sideshow attraction (an amiable beer-guzzling bear which eventually comes in handy to the Judge), Roddy MacDowall – who has the largest role of all is an ambitious lawyer (he’s subsequently appointed mayor and eventually becomes an oil tycoon), Anthony Zerbe as a mugger, and Michael Sarrazin – whose “participation” extends merely to sharing a photo with Jacqueline Bisset (as the Judge’s daughter)! The latter, then, provides undeniable eye-candy along with Victoria Principal (radiant in her film debut) as Bean’s Mexican lover and Bisset’s own mother – while Ava Gardner’s Lilly Langtry only shows up at the very end after Bean himself, who worshiped the celebrated actress, has died; Ned Beatty is also quietly impressive as the most loyal of Bean’s gang (who actually prefers tending bar to performing his duties of deputy!).

The best/funniest bits are: Bean assuming control of the town after a near-lynching, Principal shooting repeatedly at a whore (a potential rival for Bean’s affections) and being thrown to the ground with the force of each blast, Bean’s entire gang shooting in unison at a drunkard who dared take a potshot at Lilly Langtry’s portrait, Keach’s cartoonish demise, and Bean and Gang’s epic Last Stand. As had been the case with BUTCH CASSIDY’s Oscar-winning “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, the film features a recurring song motif in “Marmalade, Molasses And Honey” (music by Maurice Jarre, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman) – which also ended up nominated, but is nowhere near as memorable as that Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic (though Jarre’s score, in itself, is quite good). For that matter, neither is Huston’s film up to the George Roy Hill masterpiece – though it’s certainly better than the talky Robert Altman-directed Buffalo Bill pic.

By the way, William Wyler’s THE WESTERNER (1940) had been another film which centered around Judge Roy Bean: played as a semi-villain by Walter Brennan, that characterization had led to his third Oscar. I own it on VHS but, since this month’s schedule is absolutely crammed with movies I need to watch in tribute to someone or other (including JUDGE ROY BEAN itself to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Huston’s passing!), I couldn’t possibly fit it in...


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