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The Whitsell Auditorium and the Northwest Film Center Equipment Room are closed to the public in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All classes canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by Nicholas Ray

United States 1954 110 mins.

Widely cited as an allegory for the anti-Communist hearings overseen by the House Un-American Activities Committee that led to the Hollywood blacklist of 1955, Johnny Guitar is one of the fiercest Westerns ever made. Vienna (an unforgettable Joan Crawford), a saloon owner in a small Arizona town, walks a fine line between the conservative townsfolk, led by vicious ex-rival Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge), and an outlaw gang led by the Dancin’ Kid (Scott Brady). When the mysterious Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) arrives into town, it dredges up a tumultuous past with Vienna, and drives a wedge between the warring parties. McIvers, the local sheriff (Ward Bond), gives Vienna, Guitar, and the gang 24 hours to leave town, which sets up one of the most unexpected showdowns in Hollywood history. Shot in retina-searing Trucolor by veteran lenser Harry Stradling, Johnny Guitar is one of the most original films of the 1950s. “Once seen, never forgotten.”—Scout Tafoya, Brooklyn Magazine.



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.