John Wayne is no stranger to his classic films being available to stream on Paramount+, but not many are as impressive as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The 1962 John Ford classic was added back to the streaming platform on May 16. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance also stars James Stewart, Lee Marvin, and Vera Miles.
Liberty Valance is based on a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson that asks audiences what they would do if they discover a long-held truth is not all that it seems. The movie is told from the perspective of Senator Ransom Stoddard (Stewart), who arrives back in the town of Shinbone to attend the funeral of Tom Doniphon (Wayne). A local newspaper editor asks Stoddard why he traveled so far to remember a local rancher, and this leads to the main story.
When a young Stoddard arrived in Shinbone 25 years ago, he learned the town was being terrorized by the criminal Liberty Valance (Marvin). Liberty's death is what propelled Stoddard to political success. Was Stoddard really responsible though? Did Doniphon really kill Liberty? Does it even matter? As the newspaper editor famously tells Stoddard, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
Of course, the questions Ford and screenwriters James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck ask are about much more than just the residents of Shinbone. The legends about the American West have been written in stone for over a century, and they stay that way, even if we learn there isn't much fact behind them. Ford himself made a career out of glorifying Western heroes in his earlier movies, but in his final classic, he admits that the facts can get in the way of telling a good story.
Since many of Wayne's classics were made at Paramount, you can find plenty of them on Paramount+. The streamer is home to The Quiet Man, McLintock!, Hondo, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Shootist, and True Grit. A few of his early B-movies are also on Paramount+, including The Star Packer, Sagebrush Trail, Texas Terror, The Trail Beyond, Riders of Destiny, and The Man From Utah. These B-movies usually run for about an hour or so.
Paramount+ added many other classics in May. The streamer's movie offerings this month include Cabaret, Days of Heaven, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Footloose, Gladiator, Love Story, Marathon Man, Mr. Mom, Mean Girls, Saving Private Ryan, Road to Perdition, Serpico, Steel Magnolias, The Color of Money, The Odd Couple, and The Longest Yard. Western fans will also want to check out 1883, the hit Yellowstone prequel series exclusive to Paramount+.