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Broken Arrow (1950)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | August 1950 (USA)
Tom Jeffords tries to make peace between settlers and Apaches.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Joyce Mackenzie ...
Terry (as Joyce MacKenzie)
Milt Duffield


By 1870, there has been 10 years of cruel war between settlers and Cochise's Apaches. Ex-soldier Tom Jeffords saves the life of an Apache boy and starts to wonder if Indians are human, after all; soon, he determines to use this chance to make himself an ambassador. Against all odds, his solitary mission into Cochise's stronghold opens a dialogue. Opportunely, the president sends General Howard with orders to conclude peace. But even with Jeffords's luck, the deep grievance and hatred on both sides make tragic failure all too likely. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

peace | settler | mail | 1870s | stone | See All (126) »


Of this motion picture the screen can be proud... Today... Tomorrow... A generation from now...


Drama | Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »



Release Date:

August 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arrow  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filmed in 1949, but released after Stewart's next western, Winchester '73 (1950). See more »


When General Oliver is beginning to pick himself off the ground after the Apache attack on the military wagon train, the first shot shows the ground to be mostly desert sand, with very little vegetation, but when the scene jumps to a long shot of the General getting up, the ground around him is almost entirely covered with green vegetation, showing scarcely any sand at all. See more »


[first lines]
[opening narration]
Tom Jeffords: This is the story of a land, of the people who lived on it in the year 1870, and of a man whose name was Cochise. He was an Indian - leader of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. I was involved in the story and what I have to tell happened exactly as you'll see it - the only change will be that when the Apaches speak, they will speak in our language. What took place is part of the history of Arizona and it began for me here where you see me riding.
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Followed by Broken Arrow (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Delmer Daves offers an important major role to an Indian character, treating him with quality and esteem as human being...

Delmer Daves offers an important major role to an Indian character, treating him with quality and esteem as human being...

Stewart plays a scout who seeks to heal the divisions between the Apaches and white men… But while "Broken Arrow" is a perfectly acceptable depiction of frontier struggles, it does not display Stewart to the best advantages… Delmer Daves was competent enough, but he lacked the ultimate virility and intensity of Anthony Mann…

"Broken Arrow" examines, rather intensely and directly, the mistreatment and flagrant exploitation of the Indians by whites in the early West…

The strength of this often lyrically photographed picture which will a1ways have an honorable place among Westerns lies particularly in the touching dignity of Stewart's love and marriage to an Indian girl (Debra Paget). Indian haters, of course, stir up the usual sort of trouble and Stewart's bride becomes a victim with all the consequent poignancy for which the film is best remembered…

The over-wise Chandler counsels him that he must learn to live with his whiteness just as his new friends must contend with their own place in the cosmic scheme of things… Cochise has words of stark consolation for Stewart: "As I bear the murder of my people, so you will bear the murder of your wife."

The most interesting aspect of " Broken Arrow" is not the interracial romance between Stewart and Paget, but Stewart's relationship with Chandler's Cochise… There is intra-character complexity here, as Chandler struggles to overcome his disturb of all whites, and Stewart attempts to comprehend the different philosophy and cultural of the Indians…

Jeff Chandler was quite apt and professional… He was so believable in the role of the Apache chief Cochise that he was to essay it again in George Sherman's "The Battle at Apache Pass" in 1952… Chandler's facial bone structure lent itself to noble, incisive Indian profiles, and unlike other Caucasian actors he did not look out of place… He was even nominated for Best Supporting Actor at that year's Oscars…

35 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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