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Red River (1948)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 17 September 1948 (USA)
Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors:

, (co-director)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Fen (as Colleen Gray)
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Mr. Melville (as Harry Carey Sr.)
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Dan Latimer
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Quo (as Chief Yowlatchie)
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Ray Hyke ...
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Old Leather (as Hal Talliaferro)
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Storyline

Fourteen years after starting his cattle ranch in Texas, Tom Dunston is finally ready to drive his 10,000 head of cattle to market. Back then Dunston, his sidekick Nadine Groot and a teen-aged boy, Matt Garth -who was the only survivor of an Indian attack on a wagon train - started off with only two head of cattle. The nearest market however is in Missouri, a 1000 miles away. Dunston is a hard task master demanding a great deal from the men who have signed up for the drive. Matt is a grown man now and fought in the Civil War. He has his own mind as well and he soon runs up against the stubborn Dunston who won't listen to advice from anyone. Soon, the men on the drive are taking sides and Matt ends up in charge with Dunston vowing to kill him. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Big as the men who faced this challenge! Bold as the women who loved them! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The River Is Red  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,500,000, 31 December 1948

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,012,000, 31 December 1948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Tess Millay was intended for Margaret Sheridan, but she became pregnant shortly before filming. She suggested her friend Joanne Dru for the role. See more »

Goofs

As the drive approaches Abilene, there is a fear that it will miss the town and eventually end up in Canada. At that time, it would have only existed as the United Provinces or today's southern Ontario and Quebec. See more »

Quotes

Matt, as a boy: How did you know when he was gonna draw?
Thomas Dunson: By watching his eyes. Remember that.
Matt, as a boy: I will.
Thomas Dunson: Get a shovel and my Bible. I'll read over him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Among the annals of the great state of Texas may be found the story of the first drive on the famous Chisholm Trail. A story of one of the great cattle herds of the world, of a man and a boy--Thomas Dunson and Matthew Garth, the story of the Red River D. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rio Bravo (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Epic Cattle Drive
19 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

Dimitri Tiomkin's thunderous score sets the tone for this rousing story of cowboy ranchers in nineteenth century Texas headed north, with a thunderous herd of cattle in tow. It's the archetypal story of the American West, with its strong, ethical male leader, Thomas Dunson (John Wayne), and his pursuit of a big dream, set in an era when men were men, times were tough, hardships were inevitable, guns ruled, and Native Americans were the bad guys. What a saga ...

What makes "Red River" such a grand adventure is its high quality. Its story is simple, direct, exciting, and well told, with complex characters, interesting and sympathetic because they show weakness as well as strength. Dunson is a good man, but he's stubborn and headstrong. His semi-adopted son, Matt (Montgomery Clift), is good with a gun but a little softhearted. Dunson's chief sidekick is Groot (Walter Brennan), a cantankerous old buzzard who has problems with his teeth.

It's the relationship between these three men that is the heart and soul of "Red River". Trouble ensues along the way, you can be sure. And how that trouble unfolds and plays out presents viewers with engaging human drama, and humor, centered on these three main characters. The lonesome High Plains, with all its inherent risks, adds grandeur to the epic story.

At strategic points in the film, the page of a book appears on screen with text that briefly summarizes upcoming events. It's like we, the viewers, are reading a book about some long ago trailblazers. It's a technique that could have been intrusive. But here, it is handled with such finesse that it actually helps the narrative, by functioning as a transition from one sequence to the next.

The acting is fine. John Wayne is more than convincing as Dunson. Walter Brennan is characteristically funny. And Montgomery Clift is terrific. Had he maintained his looks, and if real-life circumstances not intervened, Monty could have been one of the truly top actors through at least the 50s and 60s.

If the film has a weakness, it might be the cinematography. Not often, but at times, the actors appear to be standing in front of a canvas, an effect that renders a shallow depth of field. Maybe this was the result of technical limitations of photography at the time the film was made.

There are few film westerns that can compare in quality with "Red River". And I don't know of any other cinematic cattle drives that are this good. So, the next time you herd your cattle to market, this is the film to watch. Even if you have no cattle, "Red River" is still a wonderfully entertaining cinematic experience.


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