Movie Night: High Noon

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From time to time I will write articles here to discuss movies that promote Christian ideals in one way or another. These movies are worth watching not only because they are well made, but also because they are worth our careful consideration in light of truths from Scripture.

High Noon (1952) is a pleasure to watch because it features Gary Cooper in a role that highlights his ability to bring emotional depth to a reserved character who doesn’t say much. His eyes do plenty of talking throughout. Cooper is Will Kane, marshal of Hadleyville, in the New Mexico Territory. Over the years, Kane has made Hadleyville a safe place to live, and he’s ready to hang up the badge, move on, and find a quieter life with his new bride Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly). But immediately after their marriage ceremony, news arrives that Frank Miller, a convicted murderer who was caught by Kane, has been released from prison and is doubtless on his way to get revenge. Word on the street is Miller is to arrive on the noon train and reunite with his gang of ruffians, in about an hour and a half.

Instead of escaping by going on his honeymoon, Kane feels bound by his responsibility as a lawman to stay and help the men of Hadleyville defend their town. But as danger approaches, the men become too afraid to be sworn in as deputies, and Kane’s wife says she is leaving town with or without him. Will Kane be all alone to face a certain death while a murderer takes over the defenseless town?

I won’t spoil the movie for you, but here are some lessons to discuss with your family after watching High Noon:

  1. When we take a stand for what’s right, we must keep standing no matter what. If Kane compromises when he is forsaken by his closest friends, the results will be disastrous. Are we willing to suffer alone for the cause of righteousness? Notice John 15:18-25; 2 Corinthians 11:23-29; 2 Timothy 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:16.
  2. The forces of evil are not as powerful as they seem. Notice the difference between how the citizens of Hadleyville anticipate that the battle will go, and the way it actually goes. We need to spend less time worried about the enemy and more time in prayerful anticipation about what we can accomplish through Christ (e.g., Matthew 21:21; Romans 8:31-39; Ephesians 3:14-21). Even if we don’t accomplish all we desire while on Earth, our ultimate victory over evil is secure in heaven. This is the message of the book of Revelation.
  3. Our faith must be in the truth, not in people. Just as Kane’s friends “chickened out,” people will sometimes give weak excuses and disappoint us. The Lord, on the other hand, never will (Hebrews 13:15). Do not be one who says, “I’m not going to be involved in the work of the church, because there are so many people at the church who have disappointed me.” We must compare ourselves to Christ rather than to other mere men (1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6).
  4. Marriage is for better or for worse. Kane’s marriage to Amy gets off to a rocky start, but the film is a lesson in perseverance especially for husbands and wives. Spouses cannot control external circumstances that may cause difficulties, but spouses must not the devil dictate the terms of their faithfulness to one another (Matthew 19:1-9; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5).

Download High Noon and watch it tonight. You will probably think of additional lessons Christians should draw from the film.

- 2017