The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Western  |  21 May 1943 (USA)
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Reviews: 121 user | 58 critic

When a posse catches up three men suspected of killing a local farmer, some of them become strongly divided on whether or not to lynch the men.



(written for the screen by), (from the novel by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Art Croft (as Henry Morgan)
Matt Briggs ...
Judge Daniel Tyler
Arthur Davies
Frank Conroy ...
Jeff Farnley
Paul Hurst ...
Monty Smith
Victor Kilian ...
Chris-Pin Martin ...
Willard Robertson ...
Sheriff Risley


Two drifters are passing through a Western town, when news comes in that a local farmer has been murdered and his cattle stolen. The townspeople, joined by the drifters, form a posse to catch the perpetrators. They find three men in possession of the cattle, and are determined to see justice done on the spot. Written by David Levene <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Tough! True! Terrifying! See more »


Crime | Drama | Western


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Conciencias muertas  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director William A. Wellman loved the novel "The Ox-Bow Incident" and had long wanted to make it into a film, but the rights-holders insisted that he cast Mae West in any adaptation, which Wellman thought was ridiculous. Finally, Wellman bought the rights himself, and proceeded to make the film "his" way. See more »


At the very end of the movie when Art and Gil get on their horses, you can see that Art steps up on something with his right foot, before he puts his other foot into the stirrup. In the next shot there is nothing for him to have stepped on. See more »


Gil Carter: Say, what is there to do in this town anyway?
Darby: Well, unless you want to get in line and woo Drew's daughter...
Art Croft: We don't.
Darby: The only other unmarried woman I know is 82, blind and a Payute. That leaves you five choices: eat, sleep, drink, play poker or fight. Or you can shoot some pool. I got a new table in the back room.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits an ad for U.S. war savings bonds is shown on the screen. It says that "15,000 movie theatres are now selling U.S. war savings stamps and bonds! Buy yours in this theatre." See more »


Lonesome Valley
Traditional Negro Spiritual
Performed a cappella by Leigh Whipper
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User Reviews

Posse mentality
17 May 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"The Ox-Bow Incident" is a film that parallels the times we are living in many ways. Darryl Zanuck probably didn't even think much of this project that has proved to be a film admired by a lot of people that find in it, something that resonates with them.

William Wellman, the director, made an excellent film out of the adaptation by Lamar Trotti, of the Walter van Tilburg Clark's novel. The film, only 75 minutes long, packs a lot in a short period, something that other films, twice as long, fail to deliver. Arthur C. Miller's cinematography is an asset for the picture.

This film brought to mind another Henry Fonda film: "12 Angry Men", in which a more or less posse is trying to decide the fate of a young man accused of committing a heinous crime. In this film, we get a similar idea, in that the mob group that is formed will end up bringing the wrong kind of justice to the three unfortunate men that are deemed guilty and will be lynched; for all practical purposes these men would be proved innocent in a real court of justice.

Henry Fonda does an excellent job as Gil Carter. The biggest surprise though is the then unknown Dana Andrews, one of the men that is made to pay for a crime he didn't commit. Also, this is an early film in which Anthony Quinn appeared as one of the doomed men. The director got marvelous acting in general from the supporting cast, notably, Frank Conroy, William Eythe, Jane Darwell and Mary Beth Hughes.

This is a classic film to be treasured.

58 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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