SmudgeEFC1985’s review published on Letterboxd:
So here we are again watching another of my mum's choices, this time one of her all time favourites, and one she studied in college! She also insisted on this today when I said I've never seen a Western...
It's not a bad place to start is it? Despite coming so late in time to the genre, but there is so much here to love. The biggest thing that makes this such a good film is the characters and their interactions with each other. The almost prickly friendship between Stoddard and Donophin as their ideals contradict each other in how they should deal with a bully like Liberty Valance. Valance himself is proper black hat villain played by Lee Marvin. Charismatic, yet utterly threatening and unstable with his loyalty cronies in tow. The cast of characters who bring the little town of shinbone to life and make it the warm place that Stoddard has grown attached to. And that almost tension that we know in hindsight from the early part of the film, that Hallie may be Donophin's girl, but we know it is Stoddard who ultimately wins her.
I really enjoyed it. I have a thing for films that are so driven by character, and this one certainly is.