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Fort Apache (1948)

Approved  |   |  Western  |  14 June 1948 (Brazil)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 11,918 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 54 critic

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.



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



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


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


John Ford's Masterpiece of the Frontier!




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

14 June 1948 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

War Party  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on August 5, 1949 with John Wayne and Ward Bond reprising their film roles. See more »


As York and Thursday are about to leave to trail Lt O'Rourke and the repair wagon, Thursday is wearing a blue kepi with a white cloth in the back to protect his head. When they arrive at Meachem's, he's still wearing the kepi with the cloth. However, as they charge after the Apaches chasing the repair wagon, where's Thursday? There is nobody wearing a kepi in the whole charge. See more »


First Sgt. Festus Mulcahy: Is there any man here from Tipperary?
[no response]
First Sgt. Festus Mulcahy: Is there any man here from Cork?
[no response]
First Sgt. Festus Mulcahy: Is there any man here form County Sligo?
Tom O'Feeney: Here, sir.
[steps forward]
First Sgt. Festus Mulcahy: [shakes his hand] You are now an acting corporal.
See more »


Featured in The American West of John Ford (1971) See more »


O Dem Golden Slippers
Written by James Allen Bland
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User Reviews

probably John Wayne's greatest cowboy flick
26 January 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I know that many consider Red River or The Searchers to be Wayne's greatest cowboy movies, but for me, you can't get better than Fort Apache. It is the first of John Ford and John Wayne's cavalry trilogy and is the best of the lot.

I think the most interesting thing about the film is its rather sympathetic view of the American Indians--they were shown as being decent and 3-dimensional and Wayne repeatedly stressed the importance of our country keeping its word of honor to them as well. In fact, it was very funny seeing Wayne portraying the voice of reason while Henry Fonda was more of a martinet and could have cared less about honor and truth.

Along the way, these two great actors are supported by old familiars like Victor McLaglen and Ward Bond, as well as Shirley Temple and her then husband, John Agar. Despite criticism leveled towards Agar by the media over the years (and to a lesser extent, to the adult Temple), I think they did just fine in their roles and made a positive contribution to the movie.

And finally, the action and cinematography is tops. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful black and white film or one where so much care and effort was given to make a great film.

33 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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