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The Searchers (1956)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Western  |  13 March 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 58,036 users  
Reviews: 429 user | 144 critic

A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe.



(screenplay), (from the novel by) (as Alan LeMay)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lars Jorgensen
Olive Carey ...
Mrs. Jorgensen
Charlie McCorry
Brad Jorgensen
Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y Figueroa
Beulah Archuletta ...
Walter Coy ...
Aaron Edwards
Martha Edwards


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

13 March 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Más corazón que odio  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,750,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Was voted the both the 13th Greatest Film of all time and the Greatest Western of all time by Entertainment Weekly. See more »


Ethan and Mose are on horseback and pass Martin who is on foot during the return to Aaron's ranch. Martin arrives at the burning ranch only seconds behind Ethan and Mose, but should have been hours behind. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Jaws (1975) See more »


Skip to My Lou
Performed by Ken Curtis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Forbidden Look Into The Past
7 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

Come with us to the world you can never see. The sanitized, decadent, self loathing Dances With Wolves served as the template for a plethora of lying self hating films which depict white Europeans as the repository of all evil and all others as pure goodness and light. The Last Samurai, Avatar, The Last Of The Mohicans, are all congruent with this theme. Here, experience the terror of being all alone on the frontier surrounded by hostile native Americans not bringing you gifts. The film is a time machine back to a past you are not allowed to see. The mutual hatred is very historically accurate. Wayne and Ward Bond are great in the movie. Wayne hates for a reason; you soon experience it when everyone but Natalie Wood is slaughtered. Hunter is disliked just for even being part enemy. Gradually, he earns Wayne's respect but it doesn't happen overnight. The scenery and the realism of such an old movie are breathtaking. Despite being sixty years old, watch the husband of one of the massacred when he learns that Wayne found her broken body, rides in to his death, just to take a few with him. Look, I only own this and True Grit, I love the latter but this towers over it. The intensity and the authenticity unapologetically set it apart. Experience the terror of the doomed family as the sun sets and they hear them coming.

Watch this after seeing Dances With Wolves. Another great modern movie made by a French director just to answer the whitewash of Wolves is Black Robe. See, people of all colors are equally evil. One color does not have the monopoly on goodness. One of the favorite methods of execution of those saints, visited upon settlers or captured Europeans, was to tie one leg to trees bent to the ground pointing in opposite directions. I would tell you to read a history book but those are sanitized also. Try finding one written before 1980, see what you cannot know. The movie moves well, has great acting and photography. It is lightened from its unrelenting grim tone by the romance between Miles and Hunter. The latter is not exactly a ladies man and drives Miles nuts by being clueless how to properly court a woman.

Moses and his obsession with owning a rocking chair is another source of humor. Jeff Chandler does a great job portraying Scar as a mean, sadistic monster. The key to discerning true from false, when studying the past, is spoken by gunnery sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. There is no racial bigotry here; here you are all equally worthless. That is the touchstone, friends. Whenever you are watching a movie that depicts one race of people as being better than another; the movie is mind control. The movie shows unflinchingly the effects of being captured by these saints for a long period of time. As Ethan tries to find Wood, he comes upon a post where some have been rescued. They are not singing happy songs or sitting around the fire drinking coffee. The hatred, that was mutual, believe it or not, is delineated well. Chandler brandishing his lodge pole in front of Ethan with the scalps of his loved ones on it did not make him want to become one. See the beginning of Wolves where Costner visits the drunken, suicidal commander is the essence of the movie. The core of decadence is: self loathing. They kill their God, morals and family; they are walking ash heaps trying to idealize other's cultures to relieve their guilt about stealing them.

The movie is Wayne's best because it is relatively devoid of the brainless bravado that marks most of his movies. There is a bit of it at the end but no long scenes of his shooting fifty men with one or two other men. The movie is a one of a kind look into a past that has been erased by Big Brother. In the interests of multicultural harmony, the past must be rewritten, another reason books are disappearing and libraries are turning into computer centers. Watch it while you still can, it will not be here much longer, trust me. I also recommend Black Robe, a very good antidote to Dances With Self Hating Decadent Fools.

"He Who Controls The Past Controls The Future." George Orwell

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