Wyatt Earp - on the Screen
Quick Facts: Legendary lawman Wyatt Earp was born in 1848.
Before becoming a lawman Wyatt Earp's jobs included farmer, miner, bouncer, teamster, boxing referee and Saloon-keeper. Wyatt's brother James had once owned a brothel in Dodge City.
Wyatt took up the position of Chief Deputy Marshal of Dodge City in 1876.
In 1879 Wyatt, his brothers James, Virgil and Morgan and their wives moved to Tombstone, Arizona. And before long Doc Holliday joined them. Tombstone was one of the last hellholes of the wild west, teeming with gamblers, rustlers, prostitutes, gunmen and thieves.
The Clantons along with Johnny Ringo, Curly Bill Brocius and the McLaury brothers were the worst troublemakers in Tombstone and part of an outlaw gang known as the Cowboys, sooner or later the Earps would have to deal with them.
The most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West took place in Tombstone at 3pm on Wednesday, October 26th 1881 and lasted just 30 seconds, it was Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil and Doc Holliday against Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Claiborne.
Three men were killed at the Gunfight at the OK Corral - Billy Clanton and the two McLaury brothers. Virgil and Morgan Earp were injured, as was Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne escaped the gunfight unwounded.
In 1882 Morgan Earp was shot in the back and killed while playing pool. Wyatt Earp swore vengeance and rode off with Doc Holliday and some deputies to finish off Curly Bill Brocius and the other Cowboys.
Curly Bill was cornered at Iron Springs and shot dead by Wyatt Earp. Ike Clanton escaped Wyatt's wrath but was later shot and killed while cattle rustling.
Johnny Ringo was found dead by a tree with a single bullet wound to the head, the official verdict was suicide. But others believe that Wyatt or Doc had caught up with Ringo.
Amazingly in all those shootouts Wyatt Earp was never shot and wounded, the closest he got was a bullet hole in his coat at the OK Corral, he also had the heel of his boot shot off.
Wyatt first met John Henry 'Doc' Holliday in Fort Griffin, Texas in 1877 and they remained friends until Doc's death from tuberculosis in 1887, aged 36.
Wyatt Earp died of prostate cancer in 1929, he was 81. Hollywood cowboys Tom Mix and William S. Hart were pallbearers at his funeral.
Randolph Scott as Wyatt Earp in Frontier Marshal (1939) Directed by Allan Dwan and also starring Nancy Kelly, Cesar Romero as Doc Holliday, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr, Eddie Foy Jr and Ward Bond. Music by David Raksin. 71mins.
Randolph Scott is the first actor to play "Wyatt Earp" though there was a previous version of Frontier Marshall in 1934 with George O'Brien playing a character named "Michael Wyatt".
IMDB rating 6.7
Tombstone: The Town Too Tough to Die (1942) Directed by William C. McGann and starring Richard Dix as Wyatt Earp, Edgar Buchanan as Curly Bill, Frances Gifford, Don Castle, Rex Bell as Virgil Earp, Kent Taylor as Doc Holliday and Victor Jory as Ike Clanton. Music by Gerard Carbonara. 79mins.
Tagline - TOO TOUGH FOR DODGE CITY...He Brings His Guns To The Devil's Own Stamping Grounds
IMDB rating 7.0
My Darling Clementine (1946) Directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp, Linda Darnell as Chihuahua, Victor Mature as Doc Holliday, Cathy Downs as Clementine Carter, Walter Brennan as Old Man Clanton, Tim Holt as Virgil Earp, Ward Bond as Morgan Earp, John Ireland as Billy Clanton and Grant Withers as Ike Clanton. Music by Cyril J. Mockridge. 97mins (103mins).
One of the great western movie classics.
Wyatt Earp: Mac, you ever been in love?
Mac: No, I've been a bartender all my life.
John Ford claimed to have known Wyatt Earp and that the gunfight at the OK Corral in his movie was how Earp described it to him. But the film deviates from the facts quite a bit, for instance Doc Holliday was a dentist not a surgeon and did not die at the OK Corral.
The town of Tombstone was moved to Ford's beloved Monument Valley, the setting of many of his westerns.
Vincent Price was considered for the role of Doc Holliday.
Old Man Clanton: When ya pull a gun, kill a man.
Walter Brennan, in a departure from his usual mumbling lovable old coot persona, is the personification of pure evil as Old Man Clanton.
IMDB rating 7.8
Winchester 73 (1950) Directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally, Millard Mitchell, Charles Drake, John McIntire, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Will Geer as Wyatt Earp. Music by Joseph Gershenson. 92mins
The Winchester Rifle, 1873 Model "The Gun that Won the West" as it passes from one ill-fated owner to the other.
The first of five classic James Stewart westerns directed by Anthony Mann.
IMDB rating 7.8
Wichita (1955) Directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Joel McCrea as Wyatt Earp, Vera Miles, Lloyd Bridges, Wallace Ford, Edgar Buchanan, Peter Graves as Morgan Earp, Keith Larsen as Bat Masterson, Mae Clarke and Jack Elam. Music by Hans J. Salter. 81mins.
In this movie Wyatt Earp is the Marshal of Wichita, Kansas.
Sam Peckinpah has a small role as a bank teller.
IMDB rating 6.9
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955-1961) TV series starring Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp, Douglas Fowley as Doc Holliday, Trevor Bardette as Old Man Clanton, William Phipps as Curly Bill and John Milford as Ike Clanton.
224 x 30mins episodes - Six Seasons
IMDB rating 8.4
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) Directed by John Sturges and starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp, Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday, Rhonda Fleming, Jo Van Fleet, John Ireland as Johnny Ringo, Lyle Bettger as Ike Clanton, Dennis Hopper as Billy Clanton, Earl Holliman, John Hudson as Virgil Earp, DeForest Kelley as Morgan Earp, Martin Milner as James Earp, Kenneth Tobey as Bat Masterson, Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam. Music by Dimitri Tiomkin. 122mins.
Wyatt Earp: Hold up your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to uphold... oh, this is ridiculous. You're deputized. Grab some gear, I'll get the horses.
Doc Holliday: Wait a minute, don't I get to wear a tin star?
Wyatt Earp: Not on your life!
One of the most popular westerns of the 1950s and the second of seven films Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas made together.
While the actual gunfight lasted about 30 seconds, in this film the gunfight lasts about 5 minutes. Johnny Ringo wasn't present at the real OK Corral shootout.
Doc Holliday: If I'm going to die at least let me die with the only friend I've ever had.
Oscar nominated for Best Editing and Best Sound.
IMDB rating 7.2
Badman's Country (1958) Directed by Fred F. Sears and starring George Montgomery as Pat Garrett, Neville Brand as Butch Cassidy, Buster Crabbe as Wyatt Earp, Gregory Walcott as Bat Masterson, Malcolm Atterbury as Buffalo Bill Cody, Russell Johnson as Sundance, Karin Booth and Morris Ankrum. Music by Irving Gertz. 68mins.
An odd little movie, a sort of Western-Avengers Assemble in which Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Pat Garrett and Buffalo Bill team up to put a stop to Butch Cassidy and his Hole-in-the-Wall gang.
IMDB rating 6.2
Cheyenne Autumn (1964) Directed by John Ford and starring Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Sal Mineo, Dolores del Rio, Ricardo Montalban, Gilbert Roland, Edward G. Robinson, Arthur Kennedy as Doc Holliday and James Stewart as Wyatt Earp. Music by Alex North. 154mins.
The true story of hundreds of Cheyenne Indians on an exodus from a reservation in Oklahoma to their home in Wyoming.
Ford didn't want an intermission in his long movie instead he filmed a segment featuring James Stewart as Wyatt Earp which was meant to be the intermission. But how many people knew that?
IMDB rating 6.9
Hour of the Gun (1967) Directed by John Sturges and starring James Garner as Wyatt Earp, Jason Robards as Doc Holliday, Robert Ryan as Ike Clanton, William Windom, William Schallert, Monte Markham, Sam Melville as Morgan Earp, Frank Converse as Virgil Earp and Jon Voight as Curly Bill Brocius. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. 100mins.
An interesting film, almost a follow up to Sturges Gunfight at the OK Corral, except that Ike Clanton more accurately survives the gunfight in this film. When Morgan Earp is killed Wyatt sets out to wipe out Ike and his gang.
James Garner would play Wyatt Earp again in the movie Sunset (1988) alongside Bruce Willis.
IMDB rating 6.6
Star Trek: "Spectre of the Gun" (1968) Third season episode directed by Vincent McEveety and starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Ron Soble as Wyatt Earp, Charles Maxwell as Virgil Earp, Rex Holman as Morgan Earp, Sam Gilman as Doc Holliday and Abraham Sofaer as Melkotian (voice). Music by Jerry Fielding. 51mins.
After trespassing into Melkotian space, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Chekov are forced into re-enacting the gunfight at the OK Corral on the planet Theta Kiokis II in an unfinished replica of the town of Tombstone, taken from Kirk's mind.
The problem is that Kirk and co are on the wrong side, facing the Earps. Kirk Is Ike Clanton, Spock is Frank McLaury, McCoy is Tom McLaury, Scotty is Billy Clanton and Chekov is Billy Claiborne.
DeForest Kelley had played Morgan Earp in Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957).
IMDB rating 7.4
"Doc" (1971) Directed by Frank Perry and starring Stacy Keach as Doc Holliday, Faye Dunaway, Harris Yulin as Wyatt Earp, Michael Witney as Ike Clanton, John Bottoms as Virgil Earp, Philip Shafer as Morgan Earp, Bruce Fischer as Billy Clanton and Fred Dennis as Johnny Ringo. Music by Jimmy Webb. 96mins.
A revisionist western showing Wyatt Earp and the Clantons as seen from Doc Hollidays point of view. A far from accurate telling of the tale with Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne dying at the OK Corral.
IMDB rating 6.0
Sunset (1988) Directed by Blake Edwards and starring Bruce Willis as Tom Mix, James Garner as Wyatt Earp, Malcolm McDowell, Mariel Hemingway, Kathleen Quinlan, M. Emmett Walsh and Joe Dallesandro. Music by Henry Mancini. 102mins.
A fictional tale of Wyatt Earp and Hollywood cowboy Tom Mix teaming up to solve a murder in 1929.
Tom Mix and Wyatt Earp were real life friends.
Wyatt died in 1929 aged 81, Garner was 60 when he made the film and had played Wyatt Earp before in the 1966 film Hour of the Gun.
IMDB rating 5.6
Tombstone (1993) Directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp, Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, Sam Elliott as Virgil Earp, Bill Paxton as Morgan Earp, Powers Boothe as Curly Bill Brocius, Michael Biehn as Johnny Ringo, Stephen Lang as Ike Clanton, Thomas Haden Church as Billy Clanton, Jason Priestley, Dana Delany, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Joanna Pacula, Jon Tenney, Michael Rooker, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Zane, Terry O' Quinn and Charlton Heston as Henry Hooker. Music by Bruce Broughton. 130mins (134mins).
Narrated by Robert Mitchum.
One of the most popular westerns of modern times and one of the most quotable.
Wyatt and his brothers move to Tombstone along with his friend Doc Holliday, they soon confront the Clantons, Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo.
Wyatt Earp: You skin that smoke wagon and we'll see what happens!
Johnny Tyler: Listen mister, I'm getting awful tired of your...
[Wyatt slaps him]
Wyatt Earp: Are you gonna do something? Or just stand there and bleed?
The shooting of the film was problematic with people getting fired left and right, the original director Kevin Jarre was given the boot after filming some scenes with Charlton Heston and George Cosmatos was brought in to direct.
The film was originally meant to be a 3 hour epic and the script was cut down to 2 hours.
John Carpenter, a friend of Kurt Russells, was considered as director at one point.
Doc Holliday: I'm your huckleberry...
First choice for Doc Holliday was Willem Dafoe but the studio didn't want him fearing a backlash after he played Jesus in the controversial Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Val Kilmer was second choice and was excellent in the part, the best role in his career.
Wyatt Earp: How are you?
Doc Holliday: I'm dying, how are you?
The gunfight at the OK Corral was pretty accurate and some of the dialogue was actually spoken by the real life characters, when Doc says "You're a daisy if you do." at one of the Cowboys, he was heard to say that at the time.
Wyatt Earp: All right, Clanton... you called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that? It says United States Marshal! The Cowboys are finished, you understand? I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! So run, you cur... RUN! Tell all the other curs the law's comin'! [shouts] You tell 'em I'M coming... and hell's coming with me, you hear?... HELL'S COMING WITH ME!
Tombstone cost $25m and has grossed $56.5m at the US box office.
IMDB rating 7.7
Wyatt Earp (1994) Directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Kevin Costner as Wyatt Earp, Dennis Quad as Doc Holliday, Gene Hackman as Nicholas Earp, Michael Madsen as Virgil Earp, Linden Ashby as Morgan Earp, Jeff Fahey as Ike Clanton, Mark Harmon, Catherine O' Hara, Isabella Rossellini, JoBeth Williams, Bill Pullman, Tom Sizemore as Bat Masterson, Tea Leoni and Jim Caviezel. Music by James Newton Howard. 191mins (212mins).
Kevin Costner was originally involved with the film Tombstone but couldn't agree with Kevin Jarre over the screenplay. Costner wanted the focus to be on Wyatt Earp's life story, so he decided to produce his own epic film and hired Lawrence Kasdan to direct.
Wyatt Earp: You'd be doing me a favor if you called me Wyatt or Earp, but not both.
Dennis Quaid lost over 30 pounds to play Doc Holliday, probably the best character in the film.
Doc Holliday: What do you want to do?
Wyatt Earp: Kill them all.
Oscar nominated for Best Cinematography.
Received five Golden Raspberry nominations including Worst Picture, winning for Worst Actor (Costner).
Wyatt Earp cost $63m and grossed just $25m at the US box office.
IMDB rating 6.5