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Fort Apache (1948)

Approved | | Western | 14 June 1948 (Brazil)
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At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (suggested by the story "Massacre")
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sgt. Beaufort (as Pedro Armendariz)
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Jack Pennick ...
Ray Hyke ...
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Storyline

In John Ford's sombre exploration mythologising of American heroes, he slowly reveals the character of Owen Thursday, who sees his new posting to the desolate Fort Apache as a chance to claim the military honour which he believes is rightfully his. Arrogant, obsessed with military form and ultimately self-destructive, Thursday attempts to destroy the Apache chief Cochise after luring him across the border from Mexico, against the advice of his subordinates. Written by Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

John Ford's Masterpiece of the Frontier!

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 June 1948 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

War Party  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast member who had the hardest time with John Ford was John Agar, making his film debut. Whether it was because Agar was newly married to Ford's beloved Shirley Temple or because he wanted to test him, the director rode him mercilessly, calling him "Mr. Temple" in front of everyone, criticizing the way he delivered lines, chastising him for his lack of expert horsemanship. One day Agar stormed off, vowing to quit the picture, but John Wayne took him aside and helped him with some of the more difficult aspects of his job. See more »

Goofs

The Scene when Thursday arrives at Fort Apache could not happen in real life.

Captain York calls Thursday "General Thursday"; Thursday says his rank is lieutenant colonel, the rank he is paid in; and York explains he remembers Thursday as a general from the War.

But Thursday wears a major general's frock coat in this and some other scenes (you can tell by the arrangement of the buttons) , and is never accused of wearing the wrong uniform. Therefore Thursday had the right to wear a major general's uniform despite being a lieutenant colonel.

So Thursday must have been a substantive lieutenant colonel and a brevet (honorary) major general. That would give him the right to wear the uniform of his brevet rank on some occasions.

But being a brevet major general also meant that it was polite to call Thursday "general". For example, when Custer sent Captain Benteen on a scouting mission at the Little Big Horn on June 26, 1876, Custer is quoted as addressing Benteen by his brevet rank as "Colonel Benteen".

So either Thursday was violating regulations by wearing a major general's frock coat and should have been cited for it, or else Captain York would have been rude if he hadn't addressed Thursday as "General".. The scene could not have happened in real life. See more »

Quotes

[Lt. O'Rourke is being introduced to Philadelphia Thursday]
First Sgt. Festus Mulcahy: Ma'am, this is my godson, "Leftenant" O'Rourke. Many's the time he's come to me with a wet nose.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Projectionist (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

The Regular Army O
(uncredited)
Music by David Braham
Lyrics by Edward Hart
[Sung by soldiers after Sweet Genevieve.]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A great American film
20 April 2003 | by (Virginia) – See all my reviews

Director John Ford's first entry in his cavalry trilogy is this excellent film about life on a military outpost far from the glamorous theaters of the Indian Wars on the northern plains. The film touches on character development of the officers and enlisted men on the post, family relationships and the class distinctions among the military social order. Henry Fonda is great as a bitter, unhappy colonel who feels unappreciated by the military hierarchy and is displeased by his assignment to the isolated desert areas. John Wayne gives the film just the right balance as a captain who looks out for his men and knows Indians. Ford has his regular cast on board for the film, and John Agar and Shirley Temple handle the romantic clinches. The pace is slowed somewhat by comedy bits that add nothing to the film's substance. The black and white camera work is stunning and the music is reflective and melancholy.


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