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The Left Handed Gun

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Left Handed Gun
Theatrical release poster
Directed byArthur Penn
Screenplay byLeslie Stevens
Based onTeleplay
by Gore Vidal
Produced byFred Coe
StarringPaul Newman
Lita Milan
John Dehner
CinematographyJ. Peverell Marley
Edited byFolmar Blangsted
Music byAlexander Courage
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • May 7, 1958 (1958-05-07)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Left Handed Gun is a 1958 American Western film and the film directorial debut of Arthur Penn,[1] starring Paul Newman as Billy the Kid and John Dehner as Pat Garrett.

The screenplay was written by Leslie Stevens from a teleplay by Gore Vidal, which he wrote for the television series The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse 1955 episode "The Death of Billy the Kid", in which Newman also played the title character. Vidal revisited and revised the material for the 1989 TV movie titled Billy the Kid. The title refers to the belief that Billy the Kid was left handed, and he shoots left-handed in the film, though this was a false conclusion drawn from a reversed photograph. The film attempts to portray Billy the Kid as a misunderstood youth who got mixed up in a cattle war and was dragged down by the hostile population of New Mexico.

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  • The Left Handed Gun (1958) Official Trailer - Paul Newman Movie
  • Shoot Out 1971 Western Gregory Peck Patricia Quinn
  • Trailer | The Left Handed Gun | Warner Archive
  • The Left Handed Gun (1958) Clip
  • Gore Vidal's Billy The Kid [full movie]



Drifter William Bonney, known as "Billy the Kid", befriends a cattle boss named John Tunstall, who is known as "The Englishman". Tunstall is murdered by corrupt rival cattlemen led by the local sheriff in the Lincoln County War. Bonney plans to avenge the crime by hunting down those responsible and killing them in provoked gunfights. His violent actions endanger his surviving friends and the territorial amnesty proclaimed by New Mexico Territory governor Lew Wallace. Billy's former friend, Pat Garrett, becomes a sheriff and sets out to hunt him down.

Billy's worshipful companion, Moultrie, lionizes Billy's actions, fueling a series of dime novels that transform Bonney into a legend. Billy is disgusted with his fictionalization, and he rejects Moultrie. Embittered, Moultrie betrays Bonney to Garrett. In a final showdown, Garrett ambushes and kills the exhausted Bonney, who faces his nemesis unarmed in the hopes of ending his own life.[2]



The film was a flop in the United States, but was praised by French film critics for its bold experimentation with the stereotyped American Western genre. In 1961 it won the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association.[3]

Comic book adaptation

See also


  1. ^ Quinlin, David (December 1, 1983). The Illustrated Guide to Film Directors. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-389-20408-4.
  2. ^ Slatta, Richard W. (November 20, 2001). The Mythical West: An Encyclopedia of Legend, Lore, and Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 45–48. ISBN 978-1-57607-151-9. The Left Handed Gun marks the evolution of the Kid's character from one of either evil or romantic extremes to that of an illiterate victim of circumstance.
  3. ^ Denis, Fernand (November 23, 2014). "Cinematek fête les critiques". La Libre Belgique (in French).
  4. ^ "Dell Four Color #913". Grand Comics Database.
  5. ^ Dell Four Color #913 at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)

External links

This page was last edited on 31 January 2024, at 20:46
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