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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   52,907 votes »
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MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 8% 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 »
NewsDesk:
(245 articles)
Venice Film Review: ‘Dearest’
 (From Variety - Film News. 3 September 2014, 12:33 PM, PDT)

Venice Q&A: Jordanian ‘Theeb’ Director Abu Nowar
 (From Variety - Film News. 28 August 2014, 10:00 PM, PDT)

Viennale unveils 2014 highlights
 (From ScreenDaily. 22 August 2014, 11:57 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Steiner's Ignored Contribution! See more (417 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 ... Chief Cicatriz - Scar

Ken Curtis ... Charlie McCorry

Harry Carey Jr. ... Brad Jorgensen

Antonio Moreno ... Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y Figueroa

Hank Worden ... Mose Harper
Beulah Archuletta ... Look - Wild Goose Flying in the Night Sky
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 (uncredited)
Exactly Sonnie Betsuie ... Comanche (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 (uncredited)
Feather Hat Jr. ... Comanche (uncredited)
Nacho Galindo ... Mexican Bartender (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward ... Man at Wedding (uncredited)
Jack Tin Horn ... Comanche (uncredited)
Harry Black Horse ... Comanche (uncredited)
Away Luna ... Comanche (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 ... Ranger (uncredited)
Bob Many Mules ... Comanche (uncredited)
Jack Pennick ... Sergeant at Fort (uncredited)
Lloyd Perryman ... Wedding Musician (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson ... Ranger at Wedding (uncredited)
Smile White Sheep ... Comanche (uncredited)
Many Mules Son ... Comanche (uncredited)
Percy Shooting Star ... Comanche (uncredited)
William Steele ... Nesby (uncredited)
Chief Thundercloud ... Comanche Chief (uncredited)
Terry Wilson ... Ranger (uncredited)
Billy Yellow ... Comanche (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:
In the dance scene just before the wedding, the male dancers are some of the most famous and toughest stunt men of the period. Chuck Hayward, Terry Wilson, John Hudkins, Fred Kennedy, Frank McGrath and Chuck Roberson can all be seen dancing. After the scene the crew nicknamed them "Ford's chorus girls". At the end of the scene John Wayne moves to the bar and Roberson says, "Let's have a drink." As he speaks, Hayward and Wilson move into the shot behind Wayne. Wayne is then surrounded by the three men who doubled him at various times in the movie.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When the Reverend breaks up the fight between Martin and Charlie, a group of men are seen behind the Reverend with Martin and Charlie in front of him however, when the fight resumes, Seth, the violinist, has appeared behind Charlie.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:
Referenced in How the West Was Lost (2008) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Yellow Rose of TexasSee 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 »
126 out of 134 people found the following review useful.
Steiner's Ignored Contribution!, 31 May 2011
Author: jpdoherty from Ireland

The best western ever made is how many regard this 1956 John Ford classic. Its star John Wayne gave his most winning performance and it is reputed to have been his favourite movie even to the extent of his naming his last born son Ethan after the character he played. Ford's beloved Monument Valley in Arizona never looked more spectacular in Vista Vision and colour and over the years the picture has gained cult status. An integral part of the combined elements that makes THE SEARCHERS great is Max Steiner's outstanding score. It is the picture's driving force - its backbone. Steiner's music propels the film forward, unifies the narrative and gives greater density to its key scenes. In fact without his music much of the picture's impact would be considerably diminished. Yet I am consistently amazed and at a total loss to see here on these pages - where the best part of 400 reviews appear - that Steiner's music is hardly referred to at all by any of the writers. Not only that but even on the extras of the last DVD release three well established film directors, Martin Scorsese, John Milius and Peter Bogdanovitch each speak glowingly of Ford's masterpiece but fail to mention Steiner's exceptional contribution. Bogdanovitch, at one stage, briefly mentions the music and how good it is but never puts a name on its composer. I find this not only doctrinaire but quite bizarre that these three men, who you would imagine should know better, would have such a detached attitude concerning one of the most perfectly conceived scores for a motion picture. Therefore I will attempt here to amend this anomaly and the afore mentioned omissions and give some deserving credence to Max Steiner's exceptional music for THE SEARCHERS which has well earned its place in the history of cinema.

A veritable orchestral explosion opens the picture in the form of a fanfare over the Warner Bros. logo. As the credits roll we hear the haunting Stan Jones ballad "Song Of The Searchers" wonderfully rendered by Ford favourites The Sons Of the Pioneers. The composer later interpolates this song into his score as the theme for the racist protagonist Ethan Edwards (Wayne). Then a lovely version - scored for guitar, solo trumpet and strings - of the traditional ballad "Lorena" plays under Ford's evocative 'frame within a frame' opening scene as the door of a remote homestead opens to reveal an approaching rider. It then skillfully segues into "Bonnie Blue Flag" to point up the rider's confederate allegiance. The "Lorena" ballad later becomes the family theme and is especially effective on solo violin for the scene where Ethan gives the young Debbie his wartime medal as her "gold locket" ("Oh, let her have it - it doesn't amount to much" declares Ethan somberly). And later it is arrestingly heard on spinet as Ethan bids farewell to the family and rides out with the posse to begin what effectively will be his great search. But where the score really shines is in the powerful music for the Indian sequences. Here there is a palpable authenticity in the scoring. Aided by the clever orchestrations of Murrey Cutter and some virtuoso playing by the Warner Bros. orchestra (particularly in the percussion section) Steiner fires on all cylinders adding realism, pathos and a sense of foreboding. There are echoes of the composer's "King Kong" (1933) in the cue for the scene where the Indians surround the posse and the music becomes rhythmically savage for the charge at the river and for the attack on the Indian camp near the finale. The composer's celebrated "Indian Idyll" (which he originally wrote five years earlier for the Burt Lancaster picture "Jim Thorpe-All American") comes into play and can be heard to splendid effect in the Indian camp sequences and as the motif for Look, Martin's (Jeffrey Hunter) new Indian "wife". Hearing these cues one can't help but wonder how remarkable it is that this most romantic of film composers - steeped in the musical tradition of late 19th century Vienna - his birthplace - should be so ethnically proficient at musically depicting the native American. More akin to what we have come to expect from this composer are lovely cues such as the sprightly theme for Martin and the lush and sweeping music for Martin and Laurie (Vere Miles). The score - and the movie - ends just like it began with "The Song Of The Searchers" playing as Ethan and Martin finally bring Debbie home and conclusively the door of a homestead closes on Ethan where a brief fortissimo quotation from that explosive fanfare closes the picture.

Alongside the great film music works of Miklos Rozsa, Alfred Newman, Dimitri Tiomkin and others Max Steiner's music for THE SEARCHERS stands head high as one the finest scores ever written for one the finest films ever made and as such should, and must, be alluded to in any dissertation or essay on the film.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Glenn Frankels The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend turtletommy
John Wayne was just plain annoying, totally unlikeable Lin301
Can I Ask: Why Do People -Like- This So Much? mail-2217
Martin Pawley elsa-reinsch
Lana Wood Appering at Maryland Nostalgia Con pickitwilly
WAS ETHAN, MARTIN PAWLEY'S FATHER??? racine84
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