- AFI's 100 Years... Series:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies: #33.
- AFI's 100 Years 100 Thrills: #20
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains:
- Will Kane #5 Hero.
- AFI's 100 Years
- "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" #25
- AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores: #10
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers #27
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition): #27
- AFI's 10 Top 10: #2 Western film.
- Big Name Fan:
- The film has the reputation as being the most commonly requested film in the White House. Bill Clinton famously called it his favorite film.
- On the opposite side, the film had many famous detractors. Howard Hawks and John Wayne famously despised the film so much (in spite of Wayne signing its praises when he accepted Gary Cooper's Oscar) that they made Rio Bravo as a response.
- Career Resurrection: In 1951, after 25 years in show business, Gary Cooper's professional reputation was in decline and he was dropped from the Motion Picture Herald's list of the top 10 Box Office performers. In the following year he made a big comeback, at the age of 51, with this film.
- Completely Different Title: Subjected to many of these. "The Train Will Whistle Three Times" in France and Portugal, "Kill or Die" in Brazil, "The Threat" in Romania, "Alone Against Danger" in Spain, "At the Assigned Time" in Latin America, "Sheriff" in Norway... The original short story it was based on was called "The Tin Star."
- Creator Backlash: Grace Kelly disliked her own performance, feeling she was too stiff and wooden.
- Dawson Casting: Kane was written as a 30-year-old man, but Gary Cooper was 50. The supposedly 20-someting Deputy Harvey Bell is played by 38-year-old Lloyd Bridges.
- Deleted Scene: A comic relief scene involving town drunk Jack Elam in a deserted saloon and an entire subplot with James Brown playing another marshal didn't make it into the final cut.
- Doing It for the Art: Gary Cooper took a cut in salary to help this get made, taking $50,000 plus a share in the profits instead of his customary $250,000.
- Name's the Same:
- The main villain Frank Miller has no connection to the famous comic book writer. Incidentally, this is one of Miller's favourite films.
- Also Ben Miller, Frank's brother, has no connection to the latter half of Armstrong and Miller.
- No Stunt Double: Gary Cooper and Lloyd Bridges did their fight scene themselves. Beau Bridges, then a youngster, was in the hayloft watching the filming. When water was thrown on his father after the fight, Beau could not help laughing, requiring the scene to be shot a second time. Cooper was unwell and in pain, but was gracious and understanding, according to Lloyd.
- Playing Against Type: Jack Elam, who usually played gangsters and grizzled criminals, is in this movie playing an amiable alcoholic.
- Playing with Character Type: Gary Cooper does play The Stoic again in this film, but one who is clearly suffering in silence over the approaching menace.
- Reality Subtext: The film is popularly read as a slam against McCarthyism. During the making of the film, the screenwriter Carl Foreman was blacklisted from Hollywood for his association with Communism. note At the time, Hollywood was divided on whether to join together to resist McCarthyism or to testify against their fellows. Kane's disgust over being abandoned by his community to face the Villain with Good Publicity alone mirrors what Foreman must have felt. Not surprisingly, vehement anti-Communists like John Wayne hated the film.
- Referenced by...:
- Romance on the Set: Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly had an affair that lasted for the duration of filming.
- Star-Making Role: For Grace Kelly.
- Throw It In!: When Miller's train is coming in, the smoke is very black. This was not intentional but because of a problem with the train coming in too quickly and it almost crashing, it produced that effect.
- Underage Casting: Though supposed to be the older man, at 45 Lon Chaney Jr. was actually five years younger than Gary Cooper.
- What Could Have Been:
- Producer Stanley Kramer first offered the leading role of Will Kane to Gregory Peck, who turned it down because he felt it was too similar to The Gunfighter. Other actors who turned down the role included Charlton Heston, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Montgomery Clift, John Wayne and Burt Lancaster.
- Henry Fonda missed out on the film because he had been "graylisted" in the industry due to his political beliefs.
- Lee Van Cleef had never been in a film when he was offered the role of Deputy Harvey Pell on the condition that he get a nose job. Van Cleef declined, so he was instead given the smaller role of Colby, the silent thug.
Trivia / High Noon