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Past Films

High Noon (1952)

  • Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
  • Director: Fred Zinnemann
  • Genre(s): Drama, Thriller, Western
  • Rating: PG
  • Running Time: 85 min.

Essential Western Films
This new quarterly series showcases the “essential” films everyone should see on the big screen. For each month-long program, we’ll screen five films organized by one of the following themes: directors, actors, genres, and eras/movements.
Essential tickets are $9 for Adults, $8 for Students/Seniors and Members get in Free!

High Noon (1952) is possibly the all-time best Western film ever made - a successful box-office production by Stanley Kramer and director Fred Zinnemann (who also directed From Here to Eternity (1953) and A Man For All Seasons (1966)). The Western genre was employed to tell an uncharacteristic social problem tale about civic responsibility, without much of the typical frontier violence, panoramic landscapes, or tribes of marauding Indians.

Summary: In this classic western, a marshal prepares to retire from law enforcement because of his marriage to a Quaker. But upon learning that four outlaws will converge on the town at noon to kill him, he is torn between his sense of duty and his love for his pacifist bride.

"High Noon combines its points about good citizenship with some excellent picturemaking."
- TIME Magazine
"Zinnemann carefully and deliberately makes the most of the mood cast by the threat of impending violence."
- William Brogdon, Variety
"More than a half-century later, Foreman was right after all: High Noon is a scorching and sour portrait of American complacence and capacity for collaborationism."
- Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"Regarded as '50s melodrama, it's nearly perfect."
- Stephen Hunter, Washington Post
"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."
- Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"The Western may be one of the few truly American art forms, and High Noon shows exactly how much potential it can embrace."
- James Berardinelli, ReelViews