This one is considered an uberclassic. A huge deal. In my experience, it was hit or miss.
First off, the huge miss… the entire film includes a terrible, overly literal theme song that basic just tells you the plot of the film. Horrible!
Other than that, the film is good through almost the entire thing. I enjoyed Gary Cooper as the lead, Grace Kelly played the hottest Quaker in history, and throughout the film the story built really great tension, both between the characters, and in general as things looked more and more hopeless for our poor lawman.
Yet, all that tension leads to a pretty lackluster finale. It was the western equivalent of the woman who waits until marriage for sex, only to have her husband fire his pistol early on their wedding night. I was left with a, “THAT is what we have been waiting for?” feeling.
I used to give old movies the benefit of the doubt, assuming that over the generations since their release, something got lost in translation. However, Kurosawa changed that. Not only was he making movies around the same time as this one, he was also making them in Japan, so there was far more translating to do, and his films were brilliant just the same.
High Noon is good, don’t get me wrong, but in my experience it pales in comparison to a bunch of these other films I’ve been watching.