One of my absolute favorite movies of all time (I know I say that all the time!) is Tombstone with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. The film came out in 1993 and remains a current classic. If you don’t know the story of Wyatt Earp and his escapades as a law man, you might want to check out some facts about him. Here are some facts about the film. Check it out!

–Director George P. Cosmatos is quoted as saying that all lightning and mustaches are real.

–Actor Trademark: [Val Kilmer] flipping a poker chip over his knuckles.

–The real Wyatt Earp’s fifth cousin, Wyatt Earp, plays Billy Claiborne.

–Although the gunfight at the O. K. Corral plays out more or less as it did in real life, the filmmakers made several small changes. In the actual incident it was Ike Clanton who ran through the corral to escape (in the film it is Barnes who runs out the back). The film instead shows Ike Clanton running into the photographer’s studio while firing a few shots back at the Earps and Doc. In reality, it was Billy Claiborne who performed this action before escaping unscathed.

–The Latin phrases spoken by Doc and Ringo have implied meaning beyond their literal translation. The conversation could be translated into vernacular English this way: DOC: Wine loosens the tongue. RINGO: You better pay attention to what you’re doing. DOC: Go tell someone else. RINGO: (tapping his gun) Fools must learn through experience. DOC: Rest in peace.

–When the Earps first enter Tombstone, a grave marker can be seen in the cemetery that reads “Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les No more.” There is an actual tombstone in Tombstone, Arizona that has that epitaph.

–The expression “I’m your huckleberry” spoken by Doc means “I’m the perfect man for the job.” It is not a reference to Mark Twain’s Huck Finn, as that book was published in 1885 and this movie takes place in 1881.

–Robert Mitchum was signed on to star as Old Man Clanton. On the first day of shooting he fell from his horse and injured his back, forcing him to quit the part. Instead, Mitchum provides the narration at the beginning and end of the film. The part of Old Man Clanton was eliminated from the script.

–The line quoted by Doc at the end of the fight at the OK Corral is historically true and was reported in the Tombstone papers reporting the fight. When confronted by one of the Cowboys at point blank range, the Cowboy reportedly said, “I got you now Doc, you son of a bitch,” to which Doc gleefully retorted, “You’re a daisy if you do!”

–Then-72-year old Harry Carey Jr. played Marshal Fred White in spite of the fact that the real Fred White was about 31 years old at the time of his murder.

–Throughout the movie, Ike constantly refers to the Earps as “Pimps”. This was due to the fact that the Earps’ wives were all Dodge City prostitutes and that the women would sometimes continue to sell themselves out for extra income while they were in Dodge.

–Both Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell played Elvis characters in different films around this time. Kilmer played the role of the Mentor in True Romance (1993) and Russell was the voice of Elvis in Forrest Gump (1994).

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  1. One of my favorites as well. It is one of my dad’s top 3 films and so i have seen it many times and have grown to love it myself. And the dialog is wonderful.

  2. Tombstone is awesome Kori. Glad you did a post on it. I’ve seen it like I don’t 70 times and it doesn’t get old. Thanks for sharing the facts. I did not know that about the Earps wives. That’s kinda creepy. I’m enjoying your summer movie posts. Keep em coming. I’ve started doing something similar on my blog.

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