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She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Western  |  22 October 1949 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 10,680 users  
Reviews: 89 user | 44 critic

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

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(story), (screenplay) (as Frank Nugent) , 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Lt. Flint Cohill
...
...
Second Lt. Ross Pennell
...
Top Sgt. Quincannon
...
Abby Allshard
...
Major Mac Allshard
Arthur Shields ...
Dr. O'Laughlin
Michael Dugan ...
Sgt. Hochbauer
...
Fred Graham ...
Sgt. Hench
Chief Sky Eagle ...
Chief Sky Eagle
Tom Tyler ...
Cpl. Mike Quayne
Noble Johnson ...
Chief Red Shirt
Edit

Storyline

After Custer and the 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Indians, everyone expects the worst. Capt. Nathan Brittles is ordered out on patrol but he's also required to take along Abby Allshard, wife of the Fort's commanding officer, and her niece, the pretty Olivia Dandridge, who are being evacuated for their own safety. Brittles is only a few days away from retirement and Olivia has caught the eye of two of the young officers in the Company, Lt. Flint Cohill and 2nd Lt. Ross Pennell. She's taken to wearing a yellow ribbon in her hair, a sign that she has a beau in the Cavalry, but refuses to say for whom she is wearing it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

JOHN FORD'S EPIC OF THE FIGHTING CAVALRY! (1954 & 1957 reissue posters) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 October 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Teufelshauptmann  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Sgt. Quincannon (Victor McLaglen) is addressing the troops and warning them to "watch them words," he asks who owns a dog that had wandered over and was watching the assembled soldiers. Not receiving an answer, he concludes, "Nice dog! Irish setter!" The scene was improvised on the spot by director John Ford. The dog was an unnamed Navajo pet that had fallen asleep during the setup. Multiple takes were required because McLaglen kept blowing the line, calling the dog a "cocker spaniel." See more »

Goofs

Captain Brittles marks off his final days of service on the calendar, crosses off the week, then tears the page off and throws it in the fire. When he does so, the next page is identical (31-day month, starting on Wednesday). See more »

Quotes

Narrator: So Nathan Brittles, ex-captain of cavalry U.S.A., started westward for the new settlements in California: westward toward the setting sun, which is the end of the trail for all old men. But the army hadn't finished with Nathan Brittles and it sent a galloper after him. THAT was Sgt. Tyree's department.
Sgt. Tyree: Yo-oh! Capt. Brittles!
[catches up to him]
Sgt. Tyree: Captain, sir.
Captain Nathan Brittles: Huh?
Sgt. Tyree: For you, sir. From the Yankee War Department.
[hands him the dispatch]
Captain Nathan Brittles: I knew it. Dad blast it... I knew it!
[reading the dispatch]
Captain Nathan Brittles: What...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in For Ever Mozart (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

St. Patrick's Day
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish tune
In score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
John Wayne, Cinematography, Both Brilliant
14 November 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Anyone who thinks John Wayne can't act should see this movie and eat crow. A young man then, he played a cavalry officer on the verge of retirement. Watch his eyes (the sign of a great actor). It's a wonder he wasn't even nominated for the Academy Award for this role, which few in Hollywood could pull off convincingly.

It's also a John Wayne western the woman in your life will probably like. Wayne talks tenderly at the grave of his wife, and even has a moment of sucking back weeping when his men show their fondness for him.

This bittersweet, elegaic film about a retiring officer on his last mission doesn't have lots of action in it (Ford seems to have thrown in a fistfight with McLaglin just because that actor had little to do, and though it's corny, it has a wonderful beginning).

Apart from Wayne, the reason to watch this is the cinematography. Monument valley, host to myriad westerns, never looked better. They even captured a marvelous thunderstorm in the background, in these days before special effects (the cinematographer, who did snatch an Oscar, originally protested the work, but Ford made him film the scene and they ended up with one of the most striking natural scenes ever).

For years people didn't think Wayne could act. Some, like me, grew up on his later, post-"True Grit" movies, when he did tend to walk through his parts, more icon than actor. He didn't have great finesse with his lines (neither does a fine actor of today, Harrison Ford), but his roles rarely called for the nicety of a Jeremy Irons. In his better movies, Wayne proves he's more than just a movie star. This is his finest hour, and may be John Ford's.


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