After the long career of lawman that made him a legend, Wyatt Earp deciedes to quit and join his brothers in Tombstone, Arizona. There he would see them in feud with Clantons, local clan of thugs and cattle thieves. When the showdown becomes inevitable, the help will come from Doc Holliday, terminally-ill gambler who happens to be another Wild West legend.
Burt Lancaster ... Marshal Wyatt Earp
Kirk Douglas ... Dr. John 'Doc' Holliday
Rhonda Fleming ... Laura Denbow
Jo Van Fleet ... Kate Fisher
John Ireland ... Johnny Ringo
Lyle Bettger ... Ike Clanton
Frank Faylen ... Sheriff Cotton Wilson
Earl Holliman ... Deputy Sheriff Charles 'Charlie' Bassett
Ted de Corsia ... Shanghai Pierce - Cattleman
Dennis Hopper ... Billy Clanton
Whit Bissell ... John P. Clum - 'Tombstone Epitaph' Editor
George Mathews ... John Shanssey - Griffin Saloonkeeper
Director: John Sturges
Codecs: XVid / AC3
"Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" derives from one of the most celebrated shoot-outs in Western history in Tombstone, Arizona, on October 26, 1881... The semi-legendary confrontation had made of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, men of exceptional quality...
"Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" has some of the Sturges virtues, but not all… It doesn't however disappoint when it comes to the crunch—the gunfight itself… This is magnificently staged… It probably equals anything that law and order movies have produced in set-piece battles…
The film also focuses on the friendship between Earp and Holliday and the good will of two different kinds of men... Earp, is an honest lawman with authority, and Holliday, a gambler with a 'real big hate for the law.'
The two characters are powerful, strong, and at the same time compassionate, with respect and dignity... Holliday's character as the black sheep, is much more interesting than the straight marshal who is at the same time the lawman, the judge and the jury.' The main assets of the motion picture are Lancaster and Douglas, two great stars conscious of their potentialities with excellent ability...
Douglas is impressing and brilliant as the troubled sick Doc Holliday and Lancaster is confident, solid and likable as Wyatt Earp... The mirror scene, in the beginning of the film, is great: Douglas, cool and steady, is ready for action observing carefully in the mirror the sharp feature and narrow steely eyes of Lee Van Cleef who is so anxious to kill him with a small gun hidden in his left boot...
Fine performances by a first-class cast heighten the interest: Rhonda Fleming is ravishing as the redhead lady gambler; Jo Van Fleet is very effective as the jealous lady, torn between Ringo and Holliday; Earl Holliman is good as the naive deputy who 'picks up the hardware as soon as the cowboys hit town;' John Ireland is unforgettable with his slight stoop and menacing walk; Lyle Bettger is strong as Ike Clanton, the organizer of the toughest bunch of gunslingers; Dennis Hopper is difficult and rebellious as the young Clanton who can't take the advice of the marshal; and Jack Elam is threatening as the tall and lean man with an evil leer...
Dimitri Tiomkin's great score back up the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," a pure Western, magnificently photographed by Charles Lang in VistaVision and Technicolor...
John Ireland has been twice on the losing side of the Corral incident... The first time as Billy Clanton in John Ford's "My Darling Clementine."
'Gunfight at O.K. Corral' is one of the many films that have told the tale of the famous showdown between the Earps and the Clantons, but setting this version apart is the ideal casting of Burt Lancaster as the straight-shooting Marshal Wyatt Earp, and Kirk Douglas as the sardonic, dying gambler, Doc Holliday. As in all their pairings, there is a chemistry between them that makes even mundane scripts seem magical!
Lancaster, continuing his rule of alternating between heavy drama and action films, researched the historic Earp extensively, speaking to many who knew him, and his performance is restrained and assured. Douglas, on the other hand, fresh from playing Vincent Van Gogh in 'Lust for Life', knew he needed a splashy hit film, and played Doc Holliday as larger than life, swaggering, diseased, and charismatic. His portrayal is far closer in spirit to the interpretations of Holliday by Val Kilmer, in 'Tombstone', and Dennis Quaid, in 'Wyatt Earp', than Victor Mature, in John Ford's 'My Darling Clementine'.
The film, co-written by Leon Uris, author of 'Exodus', is a historically fanciful but very entertaining exploration of the friendship between Earp and Holliday, as the lawman moves from Dodge City to Tombstone, followed by the gambler, covering a 'blood debt', after Earp saves his life. The climax is, naturally, the infamous gun battle between the Earps (with Holliday) versus the Clanton family and their allies. While purists will quickly note that the shoot-'em-up presented is totally fabricated (watch 'Wyatt Earp' or 'Tombstone' if you want accuracy), it certainly is rousing!
Other aspects of the film to enjoy...Dimitri Tiompkin's magnificent musical score, highlighted by Frankie Laine's unforgettable performance of the title tune, throughout the film...Excellent supporting players, including Jo Van Fleet as Holliday's mistress, John Ireland as evil Johnny Ringo, a young Dennis Hopper as Billy Clanton, and Rhonda Fleming as the gambler girlfriend of Wyatt (based on Earp's actual wife, Josie)...Cameos by Kenneth Tobey as Bat Masterson, DeForest Kelley as Morgan Earp, Martin Milner as James Earp, and Frank Faylen as the corrupt sheriff.
The director, John Sturges, revisited the Earp saga some years later in 'Hour of the Gun', with James Garner as Earp, and Jason Robards as Holliday, but while the later film may be more correct, historically, 'Gunfight at the O.K. Corral' is a far more enjoyable film.
Who really cares if this film is historically accurate? This is the re-telling, no matter how grandiose and overblown, of a gunfight that has gained in reputation over the years and has become legendary, deserved or un-deserved. The result is one jim-dandy of a western with a little bit of love, a little bit of drama and a whole lot of violence as the Earps and the Clantons go head to head.
And who better to be the bigger than life heroes than those two bigger than life stars, Lancaster and Douglas. Talk about perfect casting...... Lancaster as Wyatt Earp moves through this film like a ballet dancer and Douglas as Doc Holliday squares that famous chin and gets tough while hacking up his lungs to tuberculosis. Who can forget Lancaster running and diving across the corral with a shotgun. His former career as an acrobat and trapeze artist is on display here.
The supporting cast is about as good as it gets. From Lyle Bettger to John Ireland as the bad guys......to Jo VanFleet as Doc's woman.....to Dennis Hopper as the confused youngest Clanton. Rhonda Fleming is beautiful and is only part of the sub-plot used to flesh out the running time but I'm not complaining.
You don't have to be a fan of westerns to get involved in this epic tale......and I haven't even mentioned Frankie Lane's title song. It's a heroic tale of family honor and violent consequences when honor is challenged. Accuracy be damned......it's a great film.
# Much of this film was shot at the famous "Old Tucson" facility, not far from the real Tombstone. However, its "town street" set was used surprisingly as Fort Griffin, Texas, in the opening reels, while later Tombstone street scenes were shot in southern California, on the same Paramount Ranch set that was later used as Virginia City, Nevada, on TV's "Bonanza" (1959).
# Dennis Hopper, who plays Billy Clanton, was actually born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas.
# The actual gunfight took place on 26 October 1881 and lasted a mere 30 seconds, resulting in three dead men after an exchange of 34 bullets. Compared to this adaptation, the movie gunfight took 4 days to film and produced an on-screen bloodbath that lasted 5 minutes.