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The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

Catalog Number
11174
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The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)

Additional Information

Additional Information
If this story ain't true... it shoulda been

Maybe This Isn't The Way It Was - It's The Way It Should Have Been!


Paul Newman plays the title role in John Huston's surreal, revisionist western as the infamous Texas hanging judge. Upon arriving in the tiny West Texas town of Vinegaroon, Roy Bean draws a moustache on a wanted poster of himself, marches into a saloon, and declares his presence. He is immediately robbed, beaten within an inch of his life, tied to a horse and dragged out into the prairie, then left to die. Rescued by a young Mexican girl, Maria Elena (Victoria Principal), Roy Bean heads back into town and murders everyone in the local saloon, declaring that he'll kill anyone of the same sort who turns up. He also sets himself up as the sole arbiter of law and order and renames the town Langtry, in honor of the legendary actress Lily Langtry (Ava Gardner). The community prospers as Judge Bean dispenses his own brand of frontier justice upon strangers passing by, robbing or killing anyone who tries to make their way through the town. But when Maria dies, Bean's old associates begin to turn on him, one at a time (in response to his constant harping on their wives, many of whom were former prostitutes) and Bean is forced to leave. Years later, Bean rides back into town, called back to the place to save his daughter from trouble - and finds that the community has been taken over by a shady character called Frank Gass (Roddy McDowall) - a circumstance that requires Bean to dispense his own unique brand of justice once again. Stacy Keach lends a neat comic turn to the film as Bad Bob, an albino gunslinger whose dining habits consist of chowing down on raw onion, drinking hot coffee from a pot, and demanding that an entire horse be cooked for his supper. John Milius (Red Dawn) scripted.

The film was based on an original script by John Milius, who hoped to direct. The script was sent to Lee Marvin who was making Pocket Money with Paul Newman; Newman read the script and became enthusiastic about starring. The producers were not keen on Milius directing and paid a record price to own the script outright. Milius later said he liked John Huston but thought he completely ruined the movie

Release Date: December 18, 1972


Distrib: Warner Brothers


Boxoffice: $7,250,000 2013: $33,785,000

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