My Favorite Westerns

A Celebration of Western Movies… Pardner!

Me and my Uncle / Katy Moffatt

Did you know that early in is career Val Kilmer played Billy the Kid?
Betcha didn’t.
That was in 1989 when Kilmer was 30 years old.
It was a made for TV movie by Gore Vidal?!

Wikipedia:Vidal said in his memoirs that he had written the original teleplay for The Left Handed Gun, (1958) starring Paul Newman as Billy the Kid, decades earlier, and always felt the studio had butchered the material when his television play was used as the basis for a theatrical movie, so he wanted to return to the story for a more accurate rendition. At the time of his original teleplay with Newman, it was thought that the real Billy was left handed. This was based on a photo of Billy that had been inadvertently flipped when printed. Years later, the error was discovered—Billy was right handed.”
MFW: Tintype photos are often reversed and need to be flipped horizontally for an honest image.

Unfortunately a poor quality trailer.
But the film is occasionally shown on TCM (Turner Classic Movies)

Wikipedia:
While receiving little general attention, the television movie was acclaimed by fans of the Western genre due to its comparative historical fidelity. [citation needed] Kilmer was praised [according to whom?] for his portrayal based on his extensive work to not only physically resemble William Bonney as much as possible, [citation needed] but also to capture his personality as related in historical accounts.[citation needed] This contributed to the film being widely recognized as one of the most historically accurate “Billy the Kid” films ever made.”
MFW: “[citation needed]”, “[according to whom?]”, “[citation needed]”, “[citation needed]”… hmmm …
Typical of anything (and everything) regarding The Kid,
it’s all cloaked in mystery.

Duncan Regehr is perhaps best known for his role in the TV Show as Zorro (1990-93)

Kilmer has had an Up and Down career (to say the least.)
But along the way he’s been in some notable Western style Movies.

Thunderheart (1992)
MFW: Not a bad movie.
Tomstone (1993)
Considered by quite a few people to be a Western Classic
“I’m your Huckleberry.”

4 thoughts on “Actors who played Billy the Kid: Val Kilmer

  1. I really loved him in Tombstone, but I love that movie. I don’t even know how many times we’ve watched it. I haven’t been impressed by his work in other movies, and I didn’t know he was in “Billy the Kid.” I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

    1. jcalberta says:

      Yeah you’re right, Tombstone is a good movie. Great Cast.
      It’s funny in a way, because every Actor who has played Doc Holiday has done a great job at it: Victor Mature (My Darling Clementine), Kirk Douglas (Gunfight at OK Corral), Dennis Quaid (Wyatt Earp), Jason Robards (Hour of the Gun), and now Kilmer (Tombstone). All were critically acclaimed for their portrayals. And most of those movies were great.

  2. John Charet says:

    Great post 🙂 You know speaking of Billy the Kid, this came out in 1989 by Turner Home Entertainment. This is the same company that put together that 1988 cut of Sam Peckinpah’s mistreated 1973 masterpiece Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always and here is the link to that tidbit below 🙂

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Garrett_and_Billy_the_Kid#Rediscovery,_legacy_and_Special_Edition

    1. jcalberta says:

      Hey John, to save money my wife recently chopped down the number of TV Channels we have – and cut TCM! I was shocked at this and I’m going fix that right away.
      I have Peck’s TCM version of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Indeed a Classic. Peck was rebel – but not without a cause.
      I have not been able to catch Vidal’s Billy the Kid as of yet.

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