High Noon

Released 1952


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Movie Summary

Fred Zinnemann
Not Available
High Noon is a western classic film written by Foreman Carl. Gary Cooper (Will Kane), a Hadleyville marshal, is the main character in the movie. Will Kane intends to turn in his badge after marrying Amy (Grace Kelly). His plans suddenly change when he learns of the return of Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), a criminal he had put behind bars years ago. This Miller gang leader is due to arrive on the noon train. Amy, and the locals, urge Will to immediately leave town. His protective and stubborn nature causes him to turn a deaf ear to their pleas. He chooses to stay behind and face the impending danger. He reclaims his badge and seeks support from the deputies and fellow townsmen to ward-off the gang. His efforts to win their support prove futile and he has to face the gang all by himself. This action packed film unfolds in 85 minutes.

Metacritic Score

  • 100

    The New York Times

    Meaningful in its implications, as well as loaded with interest and suspense, High Noon is a western to challenge “Stagecoach” for the all-time championship. (Review of Original ...

  • 100

    Washington Post Stephen Hunter

    A terrific piece of filmmaking. It's taut, believable as it unspools. It's charismatic, with a slow buildup of tension in near-real time that finally explodes into a blast of viole...

  • 80


    Cooper does an unusually able job of portraying the marshal. (Review of Original Release)

  • Must see for all aspiring screenwriters.

    It's difficult for movies to strive towards the real time contained set up nowadays. Crank tried that and it was horrible, although with better writing it may have been great. I guess High Noon took dibs on a concept that was so hard to pull off that it made all other movies trying to mimic it obsolete. Nonetheless from top to bottom, acts 1, 2, 3, excellent on all levels.

    It starts off well with our main character Will getting married and retiring his duties as the town's Marshall. Ironically trouble brews not a second later when three thugs arrive to town awaiting the arrival of a murderer that Will put away and was sent to hang, Frank Miller.

    The logical part for Will is to run far and away from the town with his new wife, but he simply can't, and he has no logical reasoning to back it up, just simply that "he

    Throughout the movie we slowly see why he can't let it go, mainly from the argument scene at Church. Frank Miller ran a mock in the town that it was unsafe for even women to walk around during the day. Through this we see that Will has a sense of pride in this town, that he helped make the town what it was and that leaving it behind for Frank Miller to tear up again would be like a part of him dying.

    But throughout the movie we see that whenever he reached out his hand, people would swat it away. His closest friends would shun his requests and his only deputy even tries bribing him, offering his services but only if he's recommended as the next Marshall.

    This really highlights the cowardice of humanity; that they adore Will when he does them good, but selfishly think about themselves when he needs them the most. And this review isn't to discuss about that philosophical point, but how High Noon does an exemplary job of conveying its point. That aforementioned church scene did a great job of this.

    It used different citizens of the town to create a high and low effect, all the while providing exposition of the history of the town. Like how one person thought that they should have expanded the deputy count, while another felt that if they participated in this fight they'd be doing the works of the Marshall whom they're already paying, despite Will doing it outside of momentary gain--I mean he was recently retired, ten more brownie points for him.

    The wife played a pivotal role as well, arguably the most important one as far as changing the outcome of the crisis is concerned. She's a quaker that's totally against violence, and she witnessed family members die in a shootout. And yet despite those overwhelming traumatic experiences she went against her beliefs to aid the one she loves. That was incredibly charming.

    The best part was after Will had defeated Frank Miller he throws his badge in the ground in disgust. He did it for the town, and it was only after the crisis was averted they leave the safety of their own homes. All that pride that he had in the town, all the loyalty and friendships he had built over the years, no longer meant nothing to him. The simple act of him throwing his badge on the ground personified all those emotions in one swift second.

    Unfortunately High Noon is almost the perfect movie, but there is one thing I cannot get over. The fight itself. He single handedly goes up against four gunslingers like himself, and defeats the first two with ease. It's kind of tinkering towards Deus Ex Mechanica here, which I forgave because protagonists are allowed a little leeway on that department. But the whole thing with Frank Miller and him taking the wife hostage, it seemed a bit senseless. She EASILY broke free of his control that gave Will a clear shot at his chest. Too convenient, waaaaaay too convenient.

    Other than that, High Noon is an absolutely fantastic film, and if you're looking to break into the screenwriting, this is an absolute must!moreless
Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper

Marshal Will Kane

Harry Morgan

Harry Morgan

Sam Fuller

Lon Chaney

Lon Chaney

Martin Howe

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

Amy Fowler Kane

Lloyd Bridges

Lloyd Bridges

Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell

Otto Kruger

Otto Kruger

Judge Percy Mettrick

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Classics, Military & War