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Lawman (1971)

A lawman from Bannock arrives in Sabbath to arrest all the cattlemen whose wild celebration the year before resulted in the accidental death of an old man.

Director:

Michael Winner

Writer:

Gerald Wilson

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Bannock Marshal Jared Maddox
Robert Ryan ... Sabbath Marshal Cotton Ryan Cotten
Lee J. Cobb ... Vincent Bronson
Robert Duvall ... Vernon Adams
Sheree North ... Laura Shelby
Albert Salmi ... Harvey Stenbaugh
Richard Jordan ... Crowe Wheelwright
John McGiver ... Sabbath Mayor Sam Bolden
Ralph Waite ... Jack Dekker
John Beck ... Jason Bronson
William Watson ... Choctaw Lee (as William C. Watson)
Walter Brooke ... Luther Harris
Robert Emhardt ... Hersham
Charles Tyner ... Minister
J.D. Cannon ... Hurd Price
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Storyline

While passing through the town of Bannock, a bunch of drunken, trail-weary cattlemen go overboard with their celebrating and accidentally kill an old man with a stray shot. They return home to Sabbath unaware of his death. Bannock lawman Jered Maddox later arrives there to arrest everyone involved on a charge of murder. Sabbath is run by land baron Vince Bronson, a benevolent despot, who, upon hearing of the death, offers restitution for the incident. Maddox, however, will not compromise even though small ranchers like Vern Adams are not in a position to desert their responsibilities for a long and protracted trial. Sabbath's marshal, Cotton Ryan, is an aging lawman whose tough reputation rests on a single incident that occurred years before. Ryan admits to being only a shadow of what he once was and incapable of stopping Maddox. Maddox confides to Ryan that Bannock's judicial system is weak and corrupt, and while he's doubtful that anyone he brings back will suffer more than the ... Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He gave the West justice right up to its neck... then rammed more down its throat.

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Law Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Scimitar Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Some scenes were shot in the same Western location town as Howard Hawk's final film, Rio Lobo. Michael Winner says in his biography that both crews of both films met in the middle of the western town, as in a western showdown, but without guns. See more »

Goofs

When Vernon Adams (Robert Duvall) first aims down on Maddox (Burt Lancaster) with his rifle from above, Maddox is riding away from him up a long draw. Immediately afterward, Maddox is still traveling up the draw and looks up and sees Vernon in front of him and above him aiming down at him. The positions switched 180 degrees. See more »

Quotes

Minister: Is there something you wanted?
Bannock Marshal Jared Maddox: Can't say there is, minister.
Minister: A man comes to the house of God, he comes to seek.
Bannock Marshal Jared Maddox: I'm not a believing man, minister.
Minister: Then why have you come?
Bannock Marshal Jared Maddox: A man doesn't see many churches like this in a town like Sabbath.
Minister: The shape of the house of God is unimportant.
Bannock Marshal Jared Maddox: That's not so, minister. The kind of church man builds to pray in tells you a lot about the man. Further south there are some fine old adobe churches - Mexican. They're cool and dark inside. Give a man peace. They're...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

All UK video versions are cut by 4 secs to remove a cruel horse-fall. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Death Wish (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of The Greatest Post-Western Westerns
25 June 2004 | by terenceallenSee all my reviews

This movie stands out as one of the best of a subgenre that doesn't have a lot of great movies representing it. The Post-Western Westerns starting coming out in the mid-sixties until Westerns were hard to come by during the mid-seventies.

These "modern" westerns are distinguished by turning the "white hat good guy" and "black hat bad guy" on their ear. The good guys are not only not perfect, but ruefully flawed, and the bad guys are often people who made mistakes along the way and would not be a threat to society if they were left alone. Examples of other "modern" westerns are Unforgiven (The Clint Eastwood movie), Hang 'Em High (notice a pattern- another Eastwood movie), and Dances With Wolves.

Lancaster's Marshall Maddox is doing his job, but at this stage in his career, he is a walking, talking, killing machine who is ready to kill anyone who gets in his way, and some people who want very much to get out of his way. He is typical of the modern western. Where older westerns emphasized clear moral and ethical boundaries, modern westerns portray a world much less certain and easy to navigate. A world full of shadows and lots of gray ambiguities.

This is a perfect representation of how people felt in 1971. This is a very good film.


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