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Hondo (1953)

 -  Drama | Romance | War  -  5 April 1954 (UK)
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Army despatch rider Hondo Lane discovers a woman and her son living in the midst of warring Apaches, and he becomes their protector.



(screenplay), (story)
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Title: Hondo (1953)

Hondo (1953) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Two episodes from the TV series "Hondo" edited together and released as a feature.

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Complete credited cast:
Rodolfo Acosta ...
Leo Gordon ...
Tom Irish ...
Lt. McKay
Rayford Barnes ...
Pete - Card Player in Saloon


Hondo Lane, a despatch rider for the cavalry, encounters Angie Lowe, a woman living alone with her young son in the midst of hostile Apache territory. She presumes she is safe because the Apaches, under their chief Vittorio, have always left them alone. Later Lane has a run-in with Angie's reprobate husband and is forced to kill him, not knowing who he is. Vittorio captures Lane and to save his life, Angie tells the Apache chief that Lane is her husband, unaware that Lane has killed her real husband. In order to protect her from a forced marriage with one of the Apache, Lane reluctantly goes along with the lie, though he knows the truth must eventually come out, to Vittorio and to Angie, both. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


First she was afraid he'd stay---then she was afraid he wouldn't. See more »


Drama | Romance | War | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

5 April 1954 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

They Called Him Hondo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the Married with Children (1987) episode "Assault and Batteries," Al Bundy says that Hondo is his favorite movie of all time, and he spends the entire episode trying to watch it in peace. See more »


(at around 1 min) When the Apache first appear (when Mrs. Lowe meets Vittorio for the first time), Johnny comes out to defend his mother. Silva goes to confront the boy and Johnny first tries to shoot Silva and then throws the pistol at him. The pistol lands to the right on the ground by the pole (porch post), but then after a short scuffle, when Vittorio tells Silva to bring the boy, the pistol is laying on the porch next to where Johnny was. See more »


Hondo Lane: How is he?
Buffalo Baker: He'll make out. Don't know much. Led us into an ambush. But I ain't ashamed of him nohow. Bullet holes are in the front of him.
Hondo Lane: All those youngsters from the Point are like that.
Buffalo Baker: Well, they gotta learn.
Hondo Lane: Partly they learn, partly they die. But I gotta float my stick same as you, I never saw one of 'em I had to be ashamed of.
See more »


Referenced in Men in Black 3 (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

John Doe Wayne Is Hondo Lane
30 November 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The Duke was 44 years old when he made "Hondo", the film in which he, as a producer, hit on the formula which he would successfully employ for the entire second half of his long career. Like many good ideas, the formula is very simple. A strong human-interest story is played out against a backdrop of majestic scenery, and includes plenty of beat-'em-up and shoot-'em-up sequences, with the masculine values of the western genre very much to the fore - independence of spirit, standing up for what is right, self-reliance and loyalty to friends.

Hondo Lane is a free man. Indian blood runs in his veins, and he loves to roam the western wilderness which he shares with a few settlers and the Mescalero Apaches. Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page) lives the life of a lonely homesteader, bringing up her little boy Johnny on her own in an isolated log cabin. When Hondo swaggers onto her spread, seeming like an emanation of the desert itself, the sexual sparks begin to fly.

Vittorio, the chief of the Mescaleros, is an upright and proud man, a great leader who has finally lost patience with the treacherous white man. He and his braves have donned the war paint and are prowling the region, baying for blood. In the coming clash, Hondo will have to decide where his loyalties lie.

Processed in Warners' own 'Warnercolor', the film has an attractive tempera look. It was originally shot in 3-D format, which explains the sudden knife-thrusts towards the camera and the front-on spear lunges. There is some fine horsemanship on display in this movie, with small, elegant horses being ridden in a well-forward saddle style. Hondo's descent of the butte to escape his indian pursuers is particularly good.

When Hondo walks out of the wilderness, his horse having died several days previously, how come he is clean-shaven? In the knife-fight with Silva (Rodolfo Acosta), the continuity is poor, some shots having been filmed in bright sunlight, others under an overcast sky. However, though they are worth pointing out, these small snags do not mar an enjoyable film.

The sexual manoeuvring between Hondo and Angie is measured to perfection. Their propriety is impeccable, but there can be no doubting the intensity of their mutual desire or its earthiness ("I can smell you when I'm downwind of you"). Angie puts on her lilac dress for no conceivable reason other than mating display.

When Hondo talks of his dead squaw, the script soars. The half-indian's deeply poetic feel for the beautiful Apache language merges with his romantic reverie, forming a lament for both his lost love and the doomed indian way of life. This passage is symbolic of the whole film, which is largely about the interpenetration of indian and anglo-saxon cultures. Vittorio adopts the blonde Johnny (Lee Aaker) as a blood relation, and returns frequently to the Lowes' place to watch over the boy. Hondo, of course, bestrides the two civilisations, both of which are his birthright. On the broader canvas, the film is an elegy to the Mescaleros who share this land with the white settlers, but who are now in terminal decline.

Hondo is the living embodiment of Manifest Destiny. Because he is stronger and abler (and dare one say, whiter) than the Apaches, he will supersede them. And the passing of the Mescalero civilisation does not bother him unduly. "End of a way of life," he observes, having just slaughtered several dozen indians. "Too bad. It was a good way." And without another thought, he cheerfully gets on with conquering the West.

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