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The Searchers
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The Searchers (1956) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 46 | slideshow) Videos (see all 3)
The Searchers -- Working together for the 12th time, John Wayne and director John Ford forged The Searchers into an indelible image of the frontier and the men and women who challenged it.
The Searchers -- As a Civil War veteran spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable.
The Searchers -- As a Civil War veteran spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable.


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Frank S. Nugent (screenplay)
Alan Le May (from the novel by)
View company contact information for The Searchers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 March 1956 (USA) See more »
The story that sweeps from the great Southwest to the Canadian border in VistaVision. See more »
A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Won Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
New Discoveries See more (430 total) »


  (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)
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:
119 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.75 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Brazil:12 | Canada:G (British Columbia/Nova Scotia/Quebec) | Canada:G (Manitoba) | Canada:F (Ontario) | Finland:K-12 | Finland:K-11/9 (2001 reform re-rating) | Finland:K-12/9 (2012 reform re-rating) | Iceland:L | Norway:12 | Portugal:M/6 | Singapore:PG | 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?

Lana Wood went through a "gruelling" audition. She was ushered into a room where she was introduced to John Wayne and John Ford. Instead of rehearsing a scene from the script with the two performers, Ford issued one command to Wayne, "Lift her up, please." As Lana recounted in her autobiography, "Mr. Wayne stood up - he seemed to extend further toward the ceiling than anyone I had ever seen in my life - grinned, and rubbed his huge hands together. Then he reached down, picked me up, and never once stopped smiling at me. 'That's fine, no problem at all,' he finally said, putting me down. And that was it."See more »
Continuity: When the Indians charge across the river toward the reverend's posse, the river changes both direction and color throughout the scene. In some shots, the river is a muddy red, while in others it is clearer and blue. In the shots of Ethan firing his rifle, the river moves from his left to his right. But in the shots of the Indians getting shot and falling from their horses, the river moves from Ethan's (and the viewer's) right to his left. Then, as the Indians retreat, the river switches back to moving left to right.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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in 50 Films to See Before You Die (2006) (TV)See more »
Skip to My LouSee more »


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 »
72 out of 111 people found the following review useful.
New Discoveries, 12 December 2000
Author: Ric-7 from New Orleans LA

About ten minutes into the film, there is a shot which begins with Captain Clayton (Ward Bond) slamming a door behind two children who were teasing two young lovers, Lucy and Brad. There follows a wordless interior shot, lasting maybe a minute, wherein Aunt Martha takes out Ethan's Confederate overcoat, tenderly caressing it before she hands it to Ethan. I noticed the sequence when I recently watched the film again, and I had to rewind and play it once more because I found it so stunning--all of the information and emotions conveyed without a word. I'd watched the film previously maybe a dozen times and had never noticed the power of this sequence.

Don't for a second tell me that Ethan is a stereotype, because there is so much more at work here. Obviously we are not supposed to sympathize with Ethan's prejudices, but notice that Ethan is not the only one who feels that way. Laurie (not at all disapprovingly) tells Martin that Aunt Martha would have preferred her daughter to be killed after being defiled. Interestingly, Martin is one-eighth Cherokee, which under the old racial percentages of the Confederacy would make him the equivalent of an octoroon, and therefore non-white. Martin's intended marriage to Laurie, on racial terms, would have been as taboo as Debbie marrying Scar: Laurie believes that death is preferable for Debbie, but she intends to do likewise with Martin. The contrast is that Debbie was abducted, whereas Laurie would willingly go. And note at the end that Laurie walks right by Debbie, as she heads for Martin.

The final shot is famous, but I noted the doorway theme throughout the film: the message of an open or closed door, whether the character enters the door or just looks in, at other times, the character is inside looking out. And all of this in a 50's western.

The movie is not perfect: I could have done without some of the comic relief. However, this is John Wayne's best work (The Shootist is a close second). Those who think this is the best film of all time have good reason to support their belief.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (430 total) »

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John Wayne was just plain annoying, totally unlikeable Lin301
The greatest Western ever made? tanner-bartko-828-203237
Good film, not a great film... VivaAcetate
Scar alanwhit
Interesting movie vandykeu
shootin' irons... beauhooligan
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