High Noon


directed by Fred Zinneman




1) What does it mean that Will and Amy would both prefer to "be alone" when getting married?

2) What do you make of Will's hesitancy to give up his star before the new marshal arrives?

3) What does Will mean when he says, "don't ever marry a Quaker, she'll have you running a store." Can you picture Will doing that?

4) Is the judge correct in thinking that Will becomes a free man when he gives up his badge?

5) Are you surprised that everybody seems to think the Marshal should leave, even though a criminal has been pardoned and is returning to town? Are you surprised to see Will leave?


1) Why does Amy think that Will wants to be a hero? Is there any truth in her statement?

2) Why does Will feel that he must return to Hadleyville? Is Miller any of his concern, why or why not?

3) Is Will the same man with or without the star? Why does Will think so, while Amy denies it?

4) Is Will unrealistic in counting on deputizing a posse?

5) Is Amy being unfair to Will, Will to Amy? Why or why not? Is an hour too long to wait to find out if she's a "widow or a wife"?


1) Why does the judge leave?

2) Is his a prudent course of action?

3) What is the lesson in civics he offers?


1) Who is Harvey Pell? What does he want from Will?

2) Will tells Harvey he can't help him get the job as marshal. When Harvey asks why, Will answers, "[If] you don't know, it's no use in me telling you." Why can't Will explain himself to Harvey?


1) Who is Mrs. Ramirez? What view does the town take of her?

2) What do we learn about Mrs. Ramirez from her relationship with Mr. Weaver?

3) How has Mr. Weaver overcome the prejudice of the townspeople?


1) Why doesn't the hotel clerk like Will Kane? What does he mean by "a comeuppance"?

2) According to the clerk, Will Kane has not been good for business. Is this true? Why or why not?

3) Why was Will attracted to Helen Ramirez? Does his marrying Amy show a change in character?

4) Is Will consistent in his choice of a Quaker for a wife?


1) Why does the filmmaker choose this particular text from Bible for the parson to be quoting when Will walks into the church?

2) Why has Will not been "a church-going man"?

3) What do you make of the parson's treatment of Will? What message was he trying to send, and why does he apologize to Will?

4) Characterize the townspeople's responses to Will's call for deputies. With whom do you most agree and why?

5) What does the Parson say about the situation? Why is he conflicted?

6) Jonas's reasoning carries the day. What is it? How does he reach the conclusion not to help Will, although he seems to respect Will and the job he's done?


1) Who is Mart? Why does he decide not to help Will Kane?


1) Why does Amy go to see Mrs. Ramirez? What does she learn from her?

2) What is it about Will's choice to stay in Hadleyville that Helen Ramirez can't explain to Amy?

2) What does Helen Ramirez mean when she asks Amy, "What kind of woman are you? How can you leave him like this?"

3) Do guns frighten Amy? Is she wrong to leave Will?

4) Why does Helen offer Amy her hospitality? Why does Amy accept it?


1) Does Harvey have both brains and guts, as the barkeep suggests?

2) What are Harvey's motives in seeking to encourage Will Kane to ride out of town? Why does he care?


1) Who is Herb? Why does Herb originally volunteer to help Will?

2) Why does he change his mind?


1) Why does Amy stay? Although she is a pacifist, she chooses to shoot a man in the back, and claw the eyes of another? Does she do the right thing? Why or why not?

2) When Will and Amy leave, Will, stopping only to acknowledge a young boy who had wanted to help, throws his star in the dirt. What does he mean by the gesture?


1) How do the citizens of Hadleyville reflect the virtues and defects of capitalist citizens as described by Locke, Smith, Rousseau, Marx, and Thoreau?

2) What praise or blame would the authors in this unit have for Hadleyville and how it is organized -- consider how services are provided to the townspeople, what qualities the townspeople possess, and how friendly the town is to commerce. Answer with reference to at least two authors.

2. How does the film criticize liberal society? What are its criticisms and how do they differ from those of Rousseau, Marx, and Thoreau?

3. What does the film show about community, and the virtues needed to support it?

4. What are the duties of the officers of the law -- the marshal, judge, board of selectmen -- in maintaining the community? What are the duties of the citizens?

5. Does Amy prove that she is the right woman for Will? Although in the end she acts contrary to her Quaker principles, is her choosing to fight for Will consistent with her character?

6. Is Amy a good American? Consider George Washington's "Letter to the Quakers," reprinted here, in your answer. What virtues and defects would Locke and Smith, the proponents of liberal, capitalist society find in Amy? What would its critics, Rousseau and Marx, say of Amy? And what might Thoreau think of her?

7. Is Will Kane more like Lawrence Garfield or Andrew Jorgenson in Other People's Money? How does he differ from both of them? What would Will Kane do if he were transported to Jorgy's position in Other People's Money? What do differences of time or place have to do with right action?

8. Is Hadleyville less Will's town because he has not been a churchgoing man? Is Will a good citizen? Of Hadleyville, or of any time or place? Is his personality problematic for civil society?

9. Does the film suggest anything hopeful for about liberal society? Does it echo the Judge's "lesson in civics," or does it constitute a different lesson?

10. How does High Noon respond to Keating's claim in Dead Poets Society that "only in their dreams can men be free"?


High Noon  — Guide to Unit 3 — Back to Unit 3