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3 Godfathers (1948)

Passed | | Drama, Western | 1 December 1948 (USA)
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When 3 outlaws on the run find a dying woman and her newborn baby in the desert they vow to save the child.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Pedro Roca Fuerte (as Pedro Armendariz)
...
...
...
...
...
...
Dorothy Ford ...
...
Posse Man #1
...
...
Deputy Curly
Jack Pennick ...
Luke
Fred Libby ...
Deputy
Michael Dugan ...
Posse Man #2
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Storyline

Three outlaws on the run discover a dying woman and her baby. They swear to bring the infant to safety across the desert, even at the risk of their own lives. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dying | desert | outlaw | newborn | baby | See All (105) »

Taglines:

John Ford's Legend of the Southwest! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1 December 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Godfathers  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,243,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Fordhad previously directed a silent film version of the same story, called Marked Men (1919). No prints of this films are known to be in existence. See more »

Goofs

When Pedro first skips the saddle the horse without the saddle is black. Later when the horses are pulled behind a dune, it is brown. See more »

Quotes

[as Buck and the deputies are chasing the three outlaws, Buck shoots the outlaws' water bag. He then stops chasing them]
Deputy: Gosh, Marshal, you missed 'em.
Perley 'Buck' Sweet: They ain't payin' me to kill folks. Them Texas boys are gonna be mighty thirsty before they get to water.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.13 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful River (Shall We Gather at the River)
(uncredited)
Written by Robert Lowry and Charles Ives
Performed by Harry Carey Jr.
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User Reviews

One To Look At
14 June 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

`Three Godfathers' is cinematographically one of John Ford's finest looking Westerns. The location filming is breathtaking and comes as close as can be found in capturing the beauty of Death Valley. That the story is relatively straightforward, pretty fairly untenable and in Ford fashion highly sentimental is rather inconsequential. This is a great looking movie shot primarily in one of the most starkly striking places on Earth.

John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz and Harry Carey Jr. (one of his first roles) are bank robbers on the run, saddled with an infant they have promised to care for to its dying mother. They plunge into desperate straights as they flee across the desert. That no part of Death Valley lies close to Arizona (the story is set there) is of no account but again as in all Ford movies his vision of the American West ignores the hundreds of thousand square miles that is not Utah, Monument Valley, or as in this case, Death Valley. And that he pioneered an American View Of The West is undeniable.

Winton C. Hoch was responsible for the cinematography; he later demonstrated his art in `The Searchers' (most famous) and actually won an Oscar for `She Wore A Yellow Ribbon'. His use of color film was extraordinary and any movie he made is best viewed on the big screen.

There are numerous references to Christian views of morality sprinkled throughout the movie; Christmas is revered as the traditional American celebration, a Bible figures in Wayne's worst moments as he struggles against the wilderness and the songs we hear are primarily religious hymns. That some good comes of the efforts of the trio is redemptive enough to raise this effort above the average Western.

It is doubtful this movie could be shot again. It is exceedingly unlikely the disturbance a film crew would make while filming in a national park would be permitted. Try to imagine the rails required for the cameras being laid today.

Score: Three Stars


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