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The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

 -  Crime | Drama | Western  -  21 May 1943 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 13,693 users  
Reviews: 114 user | 54 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.

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(written for the screen by), (from the novel by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mary Beth Hughes ...
Rose Mapen
...
William Eythe ...
Gerald Tetley
...
Art Croft (as Henry Morgan)
...
Jenny Grier
Matt Briggs ...
Judge Daniel Tyler
...
Arthur Davies
Frank Conroy ...
...
Jeff Farnley
Paul Hurst ...
Monty Smith
Victor Kilian ...
Darby
Chris-Pin Martin ...
Poncho
Willard Robertson ...
Sheriff Risley
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Storyline

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 <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

LYNCH LAW RULES THE MOB! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Consciências Mortas  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A very unusual film for its time in that it features an Afro-American character as one of the main voices of conscience. See more »

Goofs

Juan Martinez throws a knife that lands right next to Farnley's foot. If you look closely you can see a thin wire attached to the end of the knife, indicating that first the scene was filmed with the knife being jerked backwards by the wire, then the film was played in reverse, to give the desired illusion of the knife landing at Farnley's feet. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Art Croft: Where are we goin'?
Gil Carter: He said he wanted his wife to get this letter, didn't he? Said there was nobody to look after the kids, didn't he?
[they both mount and ride out of town]
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Devil Fish (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Lonesome Valley
(uncredited)
Traditional Negro Spiritual
Performed a cappella by Leigh Whipper
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Fabulous Study of Mob Mentality
29 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Before "12 Angry Men" there was "The Ox-Bow Incident," a bleaker and never less than fascinating exploration of the nature of mob violence. Unlike "12 Angry Men," this film has no clear-cut heroes. It takes place in a more primitive, wilder time and location, and the principal question at the crux of this movie's conflict is whether or not three suspected cattle thieves should be punished without due legal process. A small group is in favor of letting the frontier town sheriff handle the situation, while a much larger group smells only blood (and in some cases are motivated by personal vengeance) and convince themselves of the suspects' guilt without listening to any of the evidence. It's quite a frightening movie in its own way, and it has a stark look at odds with the average studio film being churned out at the time (1943). Henry Fonda is quite good, as usual, in the closest thing the movie has to a main character, but it seems pointless to single him out in what is obviously such an ensemble effort, and in a movie that only lasts a mere 75 minutes or so and has such a large cast, each actor manages to color his/her character with delightful details, sometimes with no more than a single line of dialogue or one reaction shot.

"The Ox-Bow Incident" is a fantastic film. I don't think it's well-remembered now, but I'm thrilled to see it on DVD and hope that it will be rediscovered.

Grade: A


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