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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 13,430 users  
Reviews: 114 user | 55 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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Title: The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

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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
Edit

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:

The Ox-Bow Incident  »

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

The Hays Office--the industry's censors--initially was reluctant to approve the script because of its suggestion that the sheriff condoned the lynchings. The treatment of the lynchings and the characterization of those participating were discussed by the PCA and the studio at great length, and in a June 9, 1942 letter, PCA director Joseph Breen advised studio public relations head Jason S. Joy that the script would be approved if: "Major Tetley's" suicide is retained, "thus constituting a punishment for the ring-leader of the lynching party;" there is an indication that the whole gang will be arrested; the character of "Gil" is rewritten to make him less callous and more active in trying to stop the lynchings; and "Davies'" denunciation of the killings is retained. See more »

Goofs

Despite being of Mexican descent, Juan Martínez (Anthony Quinn) repetitively replies "No sabe" to questions. The correct conjugation of "I don't know" in Spanish is "No sé". See more »

Quotes

Jeff Farnley: [Gil lights a cigarette during the posse's night in the woods] Put out that light you fool. You wanna give us away?
Gil Carter: Who to?
Jeff Farnley: [pulling gun] Chuck that butt or I'll plug you.
Gil Carter: Start somethin'. For every hole you make, I'll make two.
Sparks: [when eight other men promptly light up] Looks like you gonna have a lot of shootin' to do, Mr. Farnley.
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 »


Soundtracks

Great Camp Meeting in the Promised Land
(uncredited)
Traditional Negro Spiritual
Performed a cappella by Leigh Whipper
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.


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