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Northwest Passage (1940)

'Northwest Passage' (Book I -- Rogers' Rangers) (original title)
Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner join Major Rogers' Rangers as they wipe out an Indian village. They set out for Fort Wentworth, but when they arrive they find no soldiers and none of the supplies they expected.


, (uncredited) | 1 more credit »


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth Browne
'Cap' Huff
Louis Hector ...
Reverend Browne
Humphrey Towne
Lord Amherst
Donald MacBride ...
Sergeant McNott
Jennie Coit
Lieutenant Avery
Lieutenant Crofton
Hugh Sothern ...
Jesse Beacham
Wiseman Clagett


Based on the Kenneth Roberts novel of the same name, this film tells the story of two friends who join Rogers' Rangers, as the legendary elite force engages the enemy during the French and Indian War. The film focuses on their famous raid at Fort St. Francis and their marches before and after the battle. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Big Picture that was made in our own Pacific Northwest See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 February 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Northwest Passage  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,677,762 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rogers sends by 40 men; which was said to be 20% of his force. Making his force 200 - 40 = 160 men. He loses one to a broken leg, sends four more back with info on where he's going, and lastly he leaves one behind at the river crossing. That left 154 men to cross the river. When they had crossed and Rogers asked for an accounting he was told 142 were present. That would indicate they lost 12 men in the rapids. See more »


In the speech that Rogers gives to his men to explain where they are going, near the beginning of the film; he is holding a staff that is above his head by almost two feet. When the scene changes to a close up the staff is now held differently and is well below the height of his shoulders. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: This is a story of our early America... of the century of conflict with the French and Indians... when necessity made simple men, unknown to history, into giants in daring and endurance. It begins in Portsmouth New Hampshire, in 1759...
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Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Spencer Tracy (1961) See more »


America, My Country Tis of Thee
(1832) (uncredited)
Music by Lowell Mason, based on the Music by Henry Carey from "God Save the King" (1744)
In the score during the opening credits
Reprised in the score near the end
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An exciting movie ..... holds up well.
3 November 1998 | by (Seattle, Wa) – See all my reviews

Northwest Passage was produced in one of the golden years of the golden era of Hollywood....1939-1940., and contains all of the best of what MGM had to offer. Based on the Kenneth Roberts novel of the same name, Northwest Passage covers "Part I - Roger's Rangers" of that epic work. Set in Colonial American during the French and Indian Wars, it recalls the true exploits of a group of Rangers sent up into the French-Canadian woods to wipe-out a village of enemy-aiding warriors..... and especially the agonizing hardships on the trip home as they are pursued by the French. The scope of this movie has always impressed me, from the coziness of the firelight of a Studley's Tavern, the richness of The Reverend Brown's palor, the solid construction of Crown Point, and the beauty of the forest.

The Cast is top-notch headed by Spencer Tracy as Major Rogers. Robert Young, Walter Brennen, Ruth Hussey, and others help to make this a real treat to watch. The technicolor is of the fine old process, and we see hues and tones that are not visible in today's movies. Also, the musical score is compelling. This movie is absorbing, and when watched without interruption, the viewer gets swept along as though part of the story.

31 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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