High Noon (1952) is another classic I hadn’t seen till now. I remember lots of people talking about it, but never made the effort to see it — till now. As you probably, know it’s the story of Will Kane, a marshall, played by Gary Cooper, who stands up to Frank Miller, a bad guy who’s got it out for him. There are more details though.
Cooper’s character has just gotten married to a Quaker, who abhors violence. He’s planning to leave with her and start a new life. They’re on the road, when Kane realizes he can’t leave the town unprotected. The new sheriff won’t arrive till the next day and Miller, whom Kane arrested, is on a train to the town and will arrive at — high noon. Amy, Kane’s wife lost her brother to senseless violence and won’t turn back with him. Not at first.
Upon arriving back in town Kane tries to get a posse together to protect the people, but everyone’s too cowardly to join. It’s quite dramatic to see Kane summon the courage to fight on his own, for people too chicken to help themselves.
I found Kane’s moral conviction and courage to do something you’d rather not do compelling. Despite the passage of time, High Noon still works. No wonder it’s a classic.