Last Man Standing

September 20th, 1996


more trailers Last Man Standing

Still of Karina Lombard in Last Man StandingStill of Bruce Willis in Last Man StandingLast Man StandingStill of Bruce Willis in Last Man StandingStill of Christopher Walken in Last Man StandingLast Man Standing

A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town.

Release Year: 1996

Rating: 6.2/10 (25,486 voted)

Director: Walter Hill

Stars: Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson

John Smith is an amoral gunslinger in the days of Prohibition. On the lam from his latest (unspecified) exploits, he happens upon the town of Jericho, Texas. Actually, calling Jericho a town would be too generous--it has become more like a ghost town, since two warring gangs have 'driven off all the decent folk.' Smith sees this as an opportunity to play both sides off against each other, earning himself a nice piece of change as a hired gun. Despite his strictly avowed mercenary intentions, he finds himself risking his life for his, albeit skewed, sense of honor....

Writers: Ryûzô Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa

Bruce Willis - John Smith
Bruce Dern - Sheriff Ed Galt
William Sanderson - Joe Monday
Christopher Walken - Hickey
David Patrick Kelly - Doyle
Karina Lombard - Felina
Ned Eisenberg - Fredo Strozzi
Alexandra Powers - Lucy Kolinski
Michael Imperioli - Giorgio Carmonte
Ken Jenkins - Capt. Tom Pickett
R.D. Call - Jack McCool
Ted Markland - Deputy Bob
Leslie Mann - Wanda
Patrick Kilpatrick - Finn
Luis Contreras - Comandante Ramirez

Taglines: If you lived in this town, you'd be dead by now.

Release Date: 20 September 1996

Filming Locations: Cook Ranch, Galisteo, New Mexico, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $67,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $7,010,331 (USA) (22 September 1996) (2561 Screens)

Gross: $33,200,000 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

This movie, like A Fistful of Dollars, is a retelling of the story in Yojimbo, which is itself based on Dashiell Hammett's 1927 novel "Red Harvest".

Revealing mistakes: When Jacko slams the double doors shut on the room where the captured and beaten John Smith is being held the locks are visible on the John Smith side of the doors. Later the locks are shown, properly, on the opposite side.

[first lines]
John Smith: It's a funny thing. No matter how low you sink there's still a right and wrong. You always end up choosing. You go one way so you can try to live with yourself. You go the other, you'd still be walkin' around, but you're dead and you don't even know it.

User Review

Unfairly trashed actioner from a master director

Rating: 8/10

Plot summary: In a prohibition era update of Yojimbo, Bruce Willis shoots a load of gangsters.

First off I will never understand why Walter Hill does not have a better reputation. He's probably best known for his commercial success with the 48 Hrs films, and his other brilliant features get criminally overlooked. He scored a cult hit with "The Warriors", he delivered one of the best westerns ever with "The Long Riders", and put all other car chase movies to shame with the ultra cool "The Driver." As anyone who has seen these films should realise, Hill should be mentioned in the same breath as Peckinpah, Woo and Rodriguez when it comes to slow-mo gunplay.

"Last Man Standing" doesn't rival these earlier works, but it is a tough, gritty film with some fantastic shootouts. It doesn't hold itself back in terms of blood and violence, something current US films of the genre are guilty of doing. It has everything an action film needs; tough antihero, loath able bad guys, a creepy main villain and plenty of cannon fodder. As long as you don't get hung up on technicalities (ie the guns fire ten times more ammo than they hold) you should be entertained.

It doesn't feel like any effort went into the screenplay, but Hill adds some nice touches to the film in terms of nods towards the source material. I particularly like the opening where Bruce spins his empty whisky bottle on the ground to decide which road to take; a clear reference to Toshiro Mifune throwing a stick into the air to decide on his path. There is also an interesting cast; there's earlier Hill collaborator Bruce Dern (The memorable villain from The Driver), William Sanderson (Blade Runner) and of course Christopher Walken, who chews the scenery talking tough with his hoarse accent and threatening people with a Tommy gun. His performance is really the most memorable thing about the film. Willis is not Mifune or Eastwood, but he does suit the mysterious drifter character well and this is one of his better action man roles.

All things said, the film certainly doesn't come close to "Yojimbo", but it does give the more rough hewn "Fistful of Dollars" a run for its money. By no means a masterpiece, "Last Man Standing" should still provide enough for any action fans tired of watered down mainstream Hollywood nonsense that currently dilutes cinemas. It is certainly a lot better than its reputation makes out.