The Sun Shines Bright (1953)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Western  |  2 May 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 781 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 11 critic

John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (short stories "The Sun Shines Bright", "The Mob from Massac" and "The Lord Provides")
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Winninger ...
Judge William Pittman Priest
Lucy Lee Lake
Ashby Corwin
Stepin Fetchit ...
Russell Simpson ...
Dr. Lewt Lake
Ludwig Stössel ...
Herman Felsburg (as Ludwig Stossel)
Francis Ford ...
Feeney (Old Backwoodsman)
Paul Hurst ...
Army Sgt. Jimmy Bagby
Mitchell Lewis ...
Sheriff Andy Redcliffe
Buck Ramsey
Horace K. Maydew
Lucy Lee's Mother
Elzie Emanuel ...
U.S. Grant 'You Ess' Woodford
Henry O'Neill ...
Joe D. Habersham
Sterling, Lanky Backwoodsman


John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William Priest is involved variously in revealing the real identity of Lucy Lake, reliving his Civil War memories, preventing the lynching of a youth and contesting the elections with Yankee Horace K. Maydew. Written by Bernard Keane <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Another triumph of entertainment comes your way in John Ford's magical story of an American River-Town, and all its secrets! (original print-ad) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

2 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le soleil brille pour tout le monde  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video) | (original theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final film of Paul Hurst. See more »


[the prayer he says at the funeral of Lucy Lee's mother]
Ashby Corwin: Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, / look upon a little child. / Pity her simplicity; / suffer her to come to thee. / Amen.
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Featured in John Ford (1993) See more »


Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here
Music by Theodore Morse and Arthur Sullivan
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User Reviews

Ford's own personal favourite - and a masterpiece.
24 June 2007 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

A masterpiece and reputedly John Ford's personal favourite from among his own movies. The sentimentality quotient is unnaturally high, even by Ford's standards and the racial stereotypes are appalling but this is still one of the cinema's greatest pieces of folk-art. It speaks of an American South about as realistic as the Ireland of "The Quiet Man" or "The Rising of the Moon", (another great, under-rated Ford film), where the old guard still cling to memories of a hopelessly romantic past, where blacks are treated 'honourably', even if their sole purpose is to play the banjo and the harmonica and in the name of the eponymous actor to 'Stepin Fetchit'.

By today's standards the film is anything but PC but it has an innocence that transcends its stereotypes and Ford handles the set pieces magnificently. In particular, the funeral of the 'fallen woman', (and mother of the heroine), that ends the film is deeply moving and is among the high points of Ford's work. The film itself is a remake of Ford's earlier "Judge Priest" with Charles Winninger in the role made famous by Will Rogers, but this is altogether superior.

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