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True Grit (1969)

3:39 | Trailer
A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.


Henry Hathaway


Charles Portis (novel), Marguerite Roberts (screenplay)
659 ( 2,089)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Rooster Cogburn
Glen Campbell ... La Boeuf
Kim Darby ... Mattie Ross
Jeremy Slate ... Emmett Quincy
Robert Duvall ... Ned Pepper
Dennis Hopper ... 'Moon'
Alfred Ryder ... Goudy
Strother Martin ... Col. G. Stonehill
Jeff Corey ... Tom Chaney
Ron Soble ... Capt. Boots Finch
John Fiedler ... Lawyer Daggett
James Westerfield ... Judge Parker
John Doucette ... 'Sheriff'
Donald Woods ... 'Barlow'
Edith Atwater ... Mrs. Floyd


The murder of her father sends a teenage tomboy, Mattie Ross, (Kim Darby), on a mission of "justice", which involves avenging her father's death. She recruits a tough old marshal, "Rooster" Cogburn (John Wayne), because he has "grit", and a reputation of getting the job done. The two are joined by a Texas Ranger, La Boeuf, (Glen Campbell), who is looking for the same man (Jeff Corey) for a separate murder in Texas. Their odyssey takes them from Fort Smith, Arkansas, deep into the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) to find their man. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net> [edited]

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Year's Best Seller About The True West! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

21 June 1969 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

True Grit See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$157,788, 5 May 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wallis-Hazen See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


John Wayne had initially promised the role of Mattie Ross to his daughter Aissa Wayne, but Director Henry Hathaway refused to cast her. See more »


At dinner with Mattie & Chen, Rooster angrily tosses his finished plate atop the stew pot and a chunk of bread tumbles off onto the table. Different size chunks of bread reappear and disappear in subsequent shots. See more »


[first lines]
Frank Ross: Little Frank... You take care of your mama.
Little Frank: I will.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When submitted for a rating from the MPAA in 1969, the film was given an "M". The film was edited and re-rated "G". The American VHS version contains the "G" rated cut while the DVD is the uncut "M" version (which would be printed as "PG" since the symbol was changed in the 1970s). See more »


Referenced in Getting Into Heaven (1970) See more »


Amazing Grace
Lyrics by John Newton and music by William Walker
Sung at the hanging
See more »

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User Reviews

A definitive adventure!!
1 July 2003 | by ledzapplin007See all my reviews

What is a Western? The genre conjures up images of gun totting cowboys, reckless outlaws and fierce encounters in countryside saloons. True, this was the setting that prevailed during the 19th century American West.

A few directors in the past have tried to present the West in a more refined way, giving importance to the settings and the characterization. Among them is Henry Hathaway's True Grit, an emotionally charged Western about a fearless; one-eyed Marshall named Rooster Cogburn.

The film very stylishly brings to fore the Western countryside, from the scenario at a public hanging to the courtroom drama. In the latter we see some tense and heated exchange of words between the prosecuting lawyer and the Marshall.

The intriguing plot unfolds itself very nicely on the silver screen. The story is simple. Tom Cheney, a cowboy, kills his employer. Maddie (Kim Darby), the headstrong daughter of the employer, vows to take revenge and get Cheney hanged for the murder of her father. For the mission she enlists the support of one Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne). Now this Rooster is the meanest Marshall in the entire territory. Having lost one of his eyes in the war, he is totally fearless in disposition, talks brazenly and has an unconventional sense of humor. Despite his hardened exterior, he is warm and benevolent at heart. This is evident in the conversations between him and Maddie.

The third angle to the mission comes in the form of Sgt Lebeof (Glen Campbell), an enthusiastic Texas Ranger, who is after Cheney for his own motive of collecting ransom money. At first instance, Maddie has reservations about Lebeof. He comes across as an ill mannered, uncivilized guy to her. Convinced that Maddie will not make him a party to the pursuit of Cheney, Lebeof, secretively, unknowing from her, teams up with Rooster. He takes Rooster into confidence and through him manages an entry into the chase for Cheney.

The character of Lebeof is an interesting study. He comes across as an inexperienced person who has a knack for saying something silly all the times. He is rebuked many times for such uttering by both Maddie and Rooster.

Rooster had his own reasons for going after Cheney. It so happened that this Cheney was an accomplice of ‘Lucky' Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall) and Rooster had some unfinished business with Ned. He recently had shot Ned in the lower lip during a confrontation but Ned had escaped. Now this chase provided Rooster with another shot at Ned.

The chase is beautifully picturized. Especially the final confrontation between Ned's gang and Rooster. The action sequence in this scene must be seen to be believed.

The reverberating and sweet music score by Elmer Bernstein forms an integral part of the plot. Glen Campbell has rendered the opening title song in his trademark voice. True Grit is a treat to watch for its believable depiction of the life and times of the West. Henry Hathaway, a specialist director of the crime, western and thriller genre has masterfully directed this flick. Re-uniting with Wayne after Sons of Katie Elder (1965), he has managed to extract the very best from his leading man. John Wayne has essayed the role of his lifetime. It is impossible to imagine anybody but him in the lead role as a tough, uncouth and drunken Marshall. Interestingly, Wayne won his only Oscar for this role in 1970.

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