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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

High Noon (1952)

Updated: Oct 15, 2022


Plot Summary: Former marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico, with his new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), when he learns that local criminal Frank Miller has been set free and is coming to seek revenge on the marshal who turned him in. When he starts recruiting deputies to fight Miller, Kane is discouraged to find that the people of Hadleyville turn cowardly when the time comes for a showdown, and he must face Miller and his cronies alone.


*Recognition: Nominated for Best Picture, Director (Zinnemann), and Screenplay (Foreman); Won Best Actor (Cooper), Editing, Original Score, and Song; 1 of 25 inductees to the first National Film Registry Class; 1998 AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies #33, 2001 AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Thrills #20, 2003 AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Heroes and Villains: Will Kane, hero #5, 2004 AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Songs: "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" #25, 2005 AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores #10, 2006 AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Cheers #27, 2007 AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) #27, 2008 AFI's 10 Top 10 #2 Western film


What is this movie is about?: Allegory of a man standing up, often alone, for a lost cause.


Best Performance: Fred Zinnemann/Gary Cooper

Best Minor Performance: Carl Foreman/Lloyd Bridges

Most Charismatic Award: Grace Kelly

Best Scene: Martin Howe declines Kane

Favorite Scene: The Shootout

Most Indelible Moment: High Perspective Shot of Kane alone/Kane takes off his badge


Best Line:

Helen: He isn't staying for me. I haven't spoken to him for a year - until today. I am leaving on the same train you are...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.

Helen: I hate this town. I always hated it - to be a Mexican woman in a town like this.

Amy: I understand.

Helen: You do? That's good. I don't understand you. No matter what you say. If Kane was my man, I'd never leave him like this. I'd get a gun. I'd fight.

Amy: Why don't you?

Helen: He is not my man. He's yours.


Honorable Mention:

Howe: People gotta talk themselves into law and order before they do anything about it. Maybe because down deep they don't care.


Matt Howe: It's a great life. You risk your skin catchin' killers and the juries turn 'em loose so they can come back and shoot at ya again. If you're honest, you're poor your whole life, and in the end you wind up dyin' all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothin'. For a tin star.


Funniest Line:

N/A


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 9.25

Impact/Significance: 9.5

Novelty: 9.5

Classic-ness: 9.75

Rewatchability: 6.75

Audience Score: 8.9

Total: 53.65


Remaining Questions:

  • Are there Quakers left?

  • Why does Helen Ramirez feel she has to leave?

  • Why would people be mad that Kane cleaned up the town?

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