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The Searchers
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The Searchers (1956) More at IMDbPro »

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The Searchers -- As a Civil War veteran spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable.
Lawrence of Arabia -- AFI's 10 Top 10 - The 10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres
The Searchers -- As a Civil War veteran spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable.

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   53,250 votes »
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Up 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Frank S. Nugent (screenplay)
Alan Le May (from the novel by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Searchers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 March 1956 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The story that sweeps from the great Southwest to the Canadian border in VistaVision. See more »
Plot:
A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Near Villainous Role for THE DUKE See more (418 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Wayne ... Ethan Edwards

Jeffrey Hunter ... Martin Pawley

Vera Miles ... Laurie Jorgensen

Ward Bond ... Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton

Natalie Wood ... Debbie Edwards - Age 15

John Qualen ... Lars Jorgensen
Olive Carey ... Mrs. Jorgensen

Henry Brandon ... Scar

Ken Curtis ... Charlie McCorry

Harry Carey Jr. ... Brad Jorgensen

Antonio Moreno ... Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y Figueroa

Hank Worden ... Mose Harper
Beulah Archuletta ... Look
Walter Coy ... Aaron Edwards

Dorothy Jordan ... Martha Edwards

Pippa Scott ... Lucy Edwards

Patrick Wayne ... Lt. Greenhill (as Pat Wayne)

Lana Wood ... Younger Debbie Edwards
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pipe Line Begishe ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Exactly Sonnie Betsuie ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Danny Borzage ... Accordionist at Funeral (uncredited)

Ruth Clifford ... Deranged Woman at Fort (uncredited)
Carmen D'Antonio ... Carmen (uncredited)
Tommy Doss ... Wedding Musician (uncredited)
Pete Grey Eyes ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Feather Hat Jr. ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Nacho Galindo ... Mexican Bartender (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward ... Man at Wedding (uncredited)
Jack Tin Horn ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Harry Black Horse ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Away Luna ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Robert Lyden ... Ben Edwards (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons ... Col. Greenhill (uncredited)
Peter Mamakos ... Jerem Futterman (uncredited)

Mae Marsh ... Dark Cloaked Woman at Fort Guarding Deranged Woman (uncredited)
Frank McGrath ... Texas Ranger (uncredited)
Bob Many Mules ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Jack Pennick ... Sergeant at Fort (uncredited)
Lloyd Perryman ... Wedding Musician (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson ... Texas Ranger at Wedding (uncredited)
Smile White Sheep ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Many Mules Son ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
Percy Shooting Star ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)
William Steele ... Nesby (uncredited)
Chief Thundercloud ... Comanche Chief (uncredited)
Terry Wilson ... Texas Ranger (uncredited)
Billy Yellow ... Comanche Indian (uncredited)

Directed by
John Ford 
 
Writing credits
Frank S. Nugent (screenplay)

Alan Le May (from the novel by) (as Alan LeMay)

Produced by
Merian C. Cooper .... executive producer
Patrick Ford .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
 
Cinematography by
Winton C. Hoch (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Jack Murray (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
James Basevi 
Frank Hotaling 
 
Set Decoration by
Victor A. Gangelin  (as Victor Gangelin)
 
Costume Design by
Charles Arrico (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Web Overlander .... makeup
Fae M. Smith .... hair dresser (as Fae Smith)
Jack Obringer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Vera Tomei .... assistant hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Lowell J. Farrell .... production supervisor
R.L. Johnston .... assistant production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Wingate Smith .... assistant director
Gary Nelson .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Edward O'Fearna .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Dudley Holmes .... properties
Richard Brandow .... props (uncredited)
Art Cole .... assistant property master (uncredited)
William Crider .... greensman (uncredited)
William Frederickson .... swing gang (uncredited)
Larry Hogan .... swing gang (uncredited)
Richard Huhn .... greensman (uncredited)
Don Hume .... drapery man (uncredited)
Jerry Hume .... drapery man (uncredited)
Frank M. Miller .... lead man (uncredited)
Grady Willard .... construction supervisor (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Hugh McDowell Jr. .... sound (as Hugh McDowell)
Howard Wilson .... sound
Danny Daniels .... boom operator (uncredited)
Bill Ford .... cable man (uncredited)
William Griffith .... radio man (uncredited)
Joseph Keener .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Willard W. Starr .... radio man (uncredited)
Roy Steele .... boom operator (uncredited)
William Stokes .... radio man (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
George Brown .... special effects
George F. Goss .... special effects (uncredited)
A. McLish .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Bill Cartledge .... stunts (uncredited)
Philip Crawford .... stunts (uncredited)
Dick Dial .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
Bryan 'Slim' Hightower .... stunts (uncredited)
John Hudkins .... stunts (uncredited)
Fred Kennedy .... stunts (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
Frank McGrath .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Dale Van Sickel .... stunts (uncredited)
Henry Wills .... stunts (uncredited)
Terry Wilson .... stunts (uncredited)
Billy Yellow .... stunts (uncredited)
Jack N. Young .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Alfred Gilks .... second unit photography
Alfred Baalas .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Vaughn Burns .... grip (uncredited)
Gilly Campbell .... grip (uncredited)
Joseph Edesa .... gaffer (uncredited)
Ted Fell .... camera mechanic (uncredited)
Travis Gage .... grip (uncredited)
Carl Gibson .... head grip (uncredited)
Al Green .... camera operator (uncredited)
Ralph Guthrie .... grip (uncredited)
James Hunter .... electrician (uncredited)
John E. Jacobson .... electrician (uncredited)
Bob Joannes .... camera operator (uncredited)
Alexander Kahle .... still photographer (uncredited)
Tom King .... grip (uncredited)
Bela Kovacs .... electrician (uncredited)
George Le Picard .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Norman Lindley .... electrician (uncredited)
Neil MacDonald .... best boy (uncredited)
Del L. Mort .... grip (uncredited)
Gene Polito .... technician (uncredited)
Robert Rhea .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Galin Schultz .... grip (uncredited)
Ray Sealock .... generator man (uncredited)
Eugene Testera .... electrician (uncredited)
John Vusich .... grip (uncredited)
Paul Whitcomb .... assistant grip (uncredited)
Bob Wycoff .... technician (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Frank Beetson Jr. .... wardrobe: men (as Frank Beetson)
Ann Peck .... wardrobe: women
Charles Arrico .... assistant wardrobe (uncredited)
Frank Cardinale .... assistant wardrobe (uncredited)
James Kelly .... tailor (uncredited)
Rose Viebeck .... wardrobe: females (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Murray Cutter .... orchestrations
 
Transportation Department
Ike Danning .... driver captain (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Robert Gary .... script supervisor
James Gooch .... technicolor color consultant
C.M. Florance .... location auditor (uncredited)
Ben B. Henry .... first aid (uncredited)
R.L. Hough .... location manager (uncredited)
W.F. House .... doctor (uncredited)
Albert Kraus .... timekeeper (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... technical man (uncredited)
Dr. Moresca .... doctor (uncredited)
John J. Sewell .... location auditor (uncredited)
Dr. Smilkstein .... doctor (uncredited)
Meta Stern .... dialogue supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
119 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.75 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Certification:
Australia:G | Brazil:12 | Canada:G (British Columbia/Nova Scotia/Quebec) | Canada:G (Manitoba) | Canada:F (Ontario) | Finland:K-12 | Iceland:L | Norway:12 | Portugal:M/6 | South Korea:12 (2003) | Sweden:15 | UK:U (passed with cuts) | UK:U (re-release: uncut) (2008) | USA:TV-G (TV rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #17787) | West Germany:12 (nf)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Martha (Dorothy Jordan) was the real life wife of film producer Merian C. Cooper.See more »
Goofs:
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When the Comanches ride down on Ethan and Marty from the sand dune, one Comanche can be seen and heard firing his rifle. However, he fires his rifle a second time but no gunshot sound effect can be heard.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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Shall We Gather at the RiverSee more »

FAQ

Did Ethan and Martha have an affair?
Is this based on a true story?
What are the words written on Ethan and Aaron's mother's headstone that Debbie sits next to?
See more »
105 out of 176 people found the following review useful.
Near Villainous Role for THE DUKE, 19 November 2001
Author: marquis de cinema from Boston, MA

The Searchers(1956) has been reflected to death by many filmmakers in their own work with main ideas, situations, and plot as guide. Many elements of The Searchers(1956) influenced film directors ranging from Brian De Palma, George Lucus, Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, and Sergio Leone. There are scores of other movie makers whom I cannot list at the top of my head that were affected by this one film. Obvious film influences are Once Upon a Time in the West(1968), Obsession(1976), Taxi Driver(1976), Star Wars(1977), and Hardcore(1979). It shows that great works of cinema are also able to inspire many admirers and disciples. Only films(stories) by Akira Kurosawa has been reflected more often by film directors than The Searchers(1956).

John Wayne was legendary American film star and big box office draw by 1956. The Searchers(1956) lends creedence to John Wayne being an exceptional actor enforced by his multi-layered performance. In a career that spanned five decades, The Searchers(1956) is the efflorescence of John Wayne. John Wayne gives a complex/flawed portrait of a man looking for redemption and salvation. One fine moment that examplifies the multi-layerness of John Wayne's performance is the look on Ethan Edwards face as he feys over what will happen to his brother and family. The Searchers(1956) was to John Wayne's career what Treasure of the Sierra Madre(1948) was to Humphrey Bogart and Vertigo(1958) was to James Stewart.

Story is about drifting, trying find something which is self-meaningful. Ethan Edwards is such a drifter who is always in search of a purpose. The Searchers(1956) is really about drifting in the American Frontier and search for self-discovery. There were many drifters like Ethan Edwards in the Old West especially in the wake of the Civil War. The Cowboy drifter in the Old West is almost the equivalent of the Samurai ronin in Tokugawa Japan Era. These drifters were men who were on the go, had temporary employment, and always wondered about their existence in life.

Rare individualistic motion picture in the old studio system days when many Hollywood films were studio controlled. The Searchers(1956) defies the typical 1950s Hollywood film presentation because its a director's picture. Excells on a visual level with interesting camera placement. Camera framing also plays a psychological and visual role in representation of two conflicting worlds(Civilized West and Wild West). Helped by crisp and flawless editing that flows the plot along effortlessly. Shades of Homer's THE ODYSSEY are penetrated into the heart of the story with irony.

Deals with racial prejudice with honest and truthful gusto. Racial prejudice in The Searchers(1956) is filmed in terms of emotional and psychological depth. The racial prejudice of the protagonist echos the prejudice of many white people in the Old West felt towards native Americans. The relationship between Ethan Edwards and Martin Pawley is met by distrust, prejudice, and sarcasm. Only towards the end does Ethan Edwards begin to show some sign of acception and respect for Martin Pawley. Shows that people are willing to change if they are willing to confront the dark side of humanity.

John Ford was the one director who was able to channel the talents of John Wayne to full heights. He made it possible for John Wayne to become an American film star by casting him in Stagecoach(1939). The other major director John Wayne had great success with was Howard Hawks. The Searchers(1956) is the greatest film of the Ford-Wayne tandem. Each are at their highest and most professional peak as film artists. In film working relationship they were halves of one and one of halves.

Ethan Edwards fullfills the requirements of hero and villain in narrative plot structure. This makes him an anti-hero with human strengths and flaws so typical of this type of protagonist. Its funny that John Wayne detested Italian Westerns and yet played a character in The Searchers(1956) who fits the mold of the Spaghetti Western anti-hero. Ethan Edwards is the closet thing to a villain John Wayne played in the movies. At the beginning Ethan Edwards lives only for hate and revenge. By the end he becomes merciful and forgiving.

On-location photography gives the film its rugged character. Monument Valley is depicted with beauty, mystery, and savagery. The people in the story are represented by their environment and location. Monument Valley was a favorite film location of John Ford who was obsessed by its untamed and individualistic nature. Monument Valley site is explored on a physical, psychological, and social level. Scenery is an important character of the Classic American Western and none so more true then in The Searchers(1956).

Another major motif in The Searchers(1956) is redemption. The path of hate and vengeance is replaced by compassion and forgiveness. Its this motif as well as others that makes the story a subtle Catholic driven tale. Redemption is the saving grace for a destructive and negative character like Ethan Edwards. Revenge until the climatic moment takes importance over everything else in Ethan Edwards life. Redemption is one motif from The Searchers(1956) that influenced Scorsese and Schrader.

Martin Pawley goes with Ethan Edwards on revenge pledge as way of following path of fealty. The moment of Ethan picking up his niece and holding her with compassion is a tender one. Jeffrey Hunter as Martin Pawley provides a nice foil to John Wayne's Ethan Edwards. Cinematography in The Searchers(1956) is forceful and graceful. In time The Searchers takes place, drifters like Ethan Edwards are dime a dozen but by the period depicted in films of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinaph, they are nearly extinct. The Searchers(1956) is a milestone in both American and World cinema.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (418 total) »

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Can I Ask: Why Do People -Like- This So Much? mail-2217
Interesting movie vandykeu
Glenn Frankels The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend turtletommy
John Wayne was just plain annoying, totally unlikeable Lin301
Martin Pawley elsa-reinsch
Lana Wood Appering at Maryland Nostalgia Con pickitwilly
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