8.0/10
66,999
448 user 156 critic

The Searchers (1956)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Western | 26 May 1956 (USA)
An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (from the novel by) (as Alan LeMay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,487 ( 305)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rio Bravo (1959)
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
Stagecoach (1939)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
High Noon (1952)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A town marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan
True Grit (1969)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell
Red River (1948)
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
The Quiet Man (1952)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he finds love.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald
Fort Apache (1948)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
Shane (1953)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Lars Jorgensen
...
Mrs. Jorgensen
...
...
...
Brad Jorgensen
...
Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y Figueroa
...
Beulah Archuletta ...
Look
...
Aaron Edwards
...
Martha Edwards
Edit

Storyline

Ethan Edwards, returned from the Civil War to the Texas ranch of his brother, hopes to find a home with his family and to be near the woman he obviously but secretly loves. But a Comanche raid destroys these plans, and Ethan sets out, along with his 1/8 Indian nephew Martin, on a years-long journey to find the niece kidnapped by the Indians under Chief Scar. But as the quest goes on, Martin begins to realize that his uncle's hatred for the Indians is beginning to spill over onto his now-assimilated niece. Martin becomes uncertain whether Ethan plans to rescue Debbie...or kill her. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story that sweeps from the great Southwest to the Canadian border in VistaVision. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

26 May 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Más corazón que odio  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,750,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was tied with Rebel Without a Cause (1955) as 1956's 11th top box-office attraction. Natalie Wood starred in both films. See more »

Goofs

Debbie's head is visible at the top of a distant sand dune as she awaits her cue to run over the hill to join Ethan and Martin. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[seeing a horseman in the distance]
Aaron Edwards: Ethan?
Debbie Edwards: Hush, Prince.
Lucy Edwards: That's your Uncle Ethan!
Martha Edwards: [he approaches] Welcome home, Ethan!
See more »

Crazy Credits

This Warner Brothers film was said to be in VistaVision, according to the credits - this may be the only Warner film in VistaVision. See more »


Soundtracks

Garryowen
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish tune
Heard in score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"We Be Texicans"
11 January 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

If John Wayne was ever cornered about what his favorite movie role was he'd be answering Ethan Edwards in The Searchers. Proof of that is obvious, he named his son by his third marriage John Ethan Wayne.

Ethan Edwards takes his time in returning home to Texas from the Civil War to the home of his brother and his family. But soon after he does the family is massacred in an Indian raid. The two young daughters are taken prisoner and Wayne with Jeffrey Hunter and Harry Carey, Jr. go off in search of them. Carey is killed early on, but Wayne and Hunter go on for years, both driven men for different reasons.

Ethan Edwards is probably the most racist man Wayne ever portrayed on the screen, yet we feel sympathy for him at the same time. It's been a hard and bitter life on the frontier for him. Just as it's been for the Indians as well. Chief Scar, played by Henry Brandon, is Wayne's opposite number and he makes clear what he thinks of whites. Two of his sons were killed and he's going to take many white scalps in reprisal.

My guess is that Ethan Edwards war service involved him seeing the war of desolation waged by William T. Sherman in the deep South. Small wonder he goes out and starts killing buffalo with a maniacal intensity that Wayne never showed before or since in film. Not an aspect that is normally brought out by reviewers.

Wayne's relationship with Jeffrey Hunter is a strange one. He found Hunter as a toddler during a raid on a wagon train. Hunter is a distant cousin of the Edwards family and one eighth Cherokee. But to Wayne he's an Indian. He gains a grudging respect for him on the trail though.

But Hunter's there to stop him. The oldest Edwards daughter is discovered dead early on. That by the way is an intense scene where Wayne's facial expressions register more than pages of dialog. Wayne had one of the great faces for close-ups and John Ford well knew it.

The younger daughter has grown up and is played grown up by Natalie Wood. Wayne feels he has to avenge some family code of honor because Wood's been taken as a bride by Henry Brandon. Hunter just wants his cousin back on any terms.

John Ford as he always does, gets some good comedy relief of the broad kind in the film. Jeffrey Hunter and Vera Miles who is Harry Carey's sister have a thing going, but when she doesn't hear from him she almost ups and marries Ken Curtis. Hunter and Curtis's confrontation is pretty funny.

Ford also probably made his best use of Monument Valley in this film. Though Stagecoach and Fort Apache are also among his best photographed films, The Searchers being in color is in a class by itself. Proof of that is the scene at the Edwards home at twilight just before the Indian raid. Beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

Ward Bond has a great role as Reverend/Captain Samuel Clayton, parson and Texas Ranger at the same time. A difficult job for some to reconcile, but I'm sure Bond believes that conversion of the Indians is not uppermost on his mind. Bond also has some great blustering comic moments with Patrick Wayne who plays an earnest young army lieutenant.

The Searchers is usually found on just about every top ten list of best westerns ever made and it surely belongs there.


78 of 115 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?