I always like to check who got a particular role/part/casting - and how - why? Who refused it - missed out? The casting story for The Wild Bunch reveals some very interesting candidates.
Who would you have picked? Why? A very tough decision.
Wikipedia says: "Director Sam Peckinpah considered many actors for the Pike Bishop role, before casting William Holden: Richard Boone, Sterling Hayden, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and James Stewart. Marvin actually accepted the role but pulled out after he was offered a larger pay deal to star in Paint Your Wagon (1969)."
Pretty well a Who's Who of Western film Icons.
Richard Boone Western Filmography
Way of a Gaucho - (1952) / Pony Soldier (uncredited) (1952)
City of Bad Men - (1953) / The Siege at Red River - (1954)
The Raid - (1954) / Ten Wanted Men - (1955)
Man Without a Star - (1955) / Robbers' Roost - (1955)
Star in the Dust - (1956) / The Tall T - (1957)
The Alamo - (1960) / A Thunder of Drums - (1961)
Rio Conchos - (1964) / Hombre - (1967)
Big Jake - (1971) / Against a Crooked Sky - (1975)
Diamante Lobo - (1976) / The Shootist - (1976)
Richard Boone TV Westerns
Frontier - episode - The Salt War -1956)
Studio One in Hollywood - episode - Dead of Noon - (1957)
Have Gun – Will Travel - 225 episodes - (1957–1963)
Cimarron Strip – episode - The Roarer - (1967)
Hec Ramsey - 10 episodes - (1972-1974)
Sterling Hayden Western Filmography
1949 El Paso / 1952 Flaming Feather
1952 Denver and Rio Grande / 1952 Hellgate
1953 Kansas Pacific / 1954 Arrow In the Dust
1954 Johnny Guitar / 1955 Timberjack
1955 Shotgun / 1955 Top Gun
1955 The Last Command / 1957 Gun Battle at Monterey
1957 The Iron Sheriff / 1958 Terror in a Texas Town
1975 Cipolla Colt
Sterling Hayden TV Westerns
1957 Zane Grey Theater / 1957 Wagon Train
1982 The Blue and the Gray
Charleton Heston Western Filmography
1952 The Savage / 1952 The President's Lady
1953 Pony Express / 1953 Arrowhead
1955 The Far Horizons / 1957 Three Violent People
1958 The Big Country / 1965 Major Dundee
1968 Will Penny / 1972 The Call of the Wild
1980 The Mountain Men / 1993 Tombstone
Burt Lancaster Western Filmography
1951 Vengeance Valley / 1951 Ten Tall Men
1954 Apache / 1954 Vera Cruz
1955 The Kentuckian / 1956 The Rainmaker
1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral / 1960 The Unforgiven
1965 The Hallelujah Trail / 1966 The Professionals
1968 The Scalphunters / 1971 Lawman
1971 Valdez Is Coming / 1972 Ulzana's Raid
1976 Buffalo Bill and the Indians / 1981 Cattle Annie and Little Britches
Lee Marvin Western Filmography
Gun Fury (1953) / The Raid (1954)
The Comancheros (1961) / The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Cat Ballou (1965) / The Professionals (1966)
Paint Your Wagon (1969) / Monte Walsh (1970)
The Spikes Gang (1974)
Wagon Train, Bonanza, and The Virginian …
Robert Mitchum Western Filmography
1943 Hoppy Serves a Writ / 1943 Border Patrol
1943 Leather Burners / 1943 Colt Comrades
1943 The Lone Star Trail / 1943 Beyond the Last Frontier
1943 Bar 20 / 1943 False Colors
1943 Riders of the Deadline / 1944 Nevada
1945 West of the Pecos / 1947 Pursued
1948 Blood on the Moon / 1949 The Red Pony
1952 The Lusty Men / 1954 River of No Return
1955 Man with the Gun / 1956 Bandido
1959 The Wonderful Country / 1967 El Dorado
1967 The Way West / 1968 Villa Rides
1968 5 Card Stud / 1969 Young Billy Young
1969 The Good Guys and the Bad Guys
1993 Tombstone Narrator / 1995 Dead Man
Robert Mitchum TV Work
1985 North and South
Gregory Peck Western Filmography
1946 Duel in the Sun / 1946 Yellow Sky
1950 The Gunfighter / 1950 Only the Valiant
1958 The Bravados / 1958 The Big Country
1962 How the West Was Won / 1967 The Stalking Moon
1967 Mackenna's Gold / 1982 The Blue and the Gray
1989 Old Gringo
James Stewart Western Filmography
1939 Destry Rides Again / 1950 Winchester '73
1950 Broken Arrow / 1952 Bend of the River
1953 The Naked Spur / 1954 The Far Country
1955 The Man from Laramie / 1961 Two Rode Together
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962 How the West Was Won / 1964 Cheyenne Autumn
1965 Shenandoah / 1966 The Rare Breed
1968 Firecreek / 1968 Bandolero!
1970 The Cheyenne Social Club
1976 The Shootist
Amazing ... stunning. You can't lose. Put all the names in a hat and pull one out ... any one of them would have done a great job.
Next let's have a look at Ernest Borgnine's role of Dutch Engstrom ...
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It's often interesting to read reviews from when the time the film was originally released - and see how they bear up as to how the film is presently regarded.
Several movies that are now regarded as Classics were savagely ripped by reviewers of the day. But time often tells a different story. However ...
Wikipedia tells us (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance)
"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was an instant hit when released in April 1962, thanks to its classic story and popular stars John Wayne and James Stewart. Produced on a budget of $3.2 million, the film grossed $8,000,000 at the box office, making it the 16th highest grossing film of 1962. Edith Head's costumes for the film were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, one of the few westerns to ever be nominated for the award. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has continued its popularity through repeated television broadcasts and the rental market. It is also widely considered to be one of director John Ford's best westerns and generally ranks alongside Red River, The Searchers, The Big Trail, and Stagecoach as one of John Wayne's best films."
The Critics liked - and the People liked it.
Below: A nice video presentation with a nice rendition of song The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance written by songsters Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis.
Warning: possible huge spoilers ... if you've never seen the movie.