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The Searchers
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The Searchers (1956) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 82 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
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   50,792 votes »
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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 »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Wayne's Finest Performance, in Ford Masterpiece... See more (409 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)
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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 artist
Fae M. Smith .... hair dresser (as Fae Smith)
 
Production Management
Lowell J. Farrell .... production supervisor
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Wingate Smith .... assistant director
Gary Nelson .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Dudley Holmes .... properties
 
Sound Department
Hugh McDowell Jr. .... sound (as Hugh McDowell)
Howard Wilson .... sound
 
Special Effects by
George Brown .... special effects
 
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
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Frank Beetson Jr. .... wardrobe: men (as Frank Beetson)
Ann Peck .... wardrobe: women
 
Music Department
Murray Cutter .... orchestrator
 
Other crew
Robert Gary .... script supervisor
James Gooch .... technicolor color consultant
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
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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/12 | South Korea:12 (2003) | Sweden:15 | UK:U (passed with cuts) | UK:U (re-release: uncut) (2008) | USA:Unrated | USA:TV-G (TV rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #17787) | West Germany:12 (nf)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film's screenplay was adapted by Frank S. Nugent from Alan Le May's 1954 novel of the same name, that was first serialized as a short story in late fall 1954 issues of the Saturday Evening Post, and first titled, "The Avenging Texans", acknowledged similarities existed between the film's script and an actual Comanche kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker, a young white girl in Texas in 1836.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: After the children go to sleep, Aaron's pipe disappears from his hand. Afterward, when he is hiding Ethan's money, the pipe reappears in his mouth.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:
The SearchersSee 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 »
59 out of 97 people found the following review useful.
Wayne's Finest Performance, in Ford Masterpiece..., 24 May 2004
Author: Ben Burgraff (cariart) from Las Vegas, Nevada

Even if you've never seen John Ford's THE SEARCHERS, you will have, undoubtedly, seen a film that owes it's 'style' to the film. DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES, UNFORGIVEN, JEREMIAH JOHNSON, and OPEN RANGE are just a few westerns that have 'borrowed' from it, but THE SEARCHERS' impact transcends the genre, itself; STAR WARS, THE English PATIENT, THE LAST SAMURAI, even THE LORD OF THE RINGS have elements that can be traced back to Ford's 1956 'intimate' epic. When you add the fact that THE SEARCHERS also contains John Wayne's greatest performance to the film's merits, it becomes easy to see why it is on the short list of the greatest motion pictures ever made.

The plot is deceptively simple; after a Comanche raiding party massacres a family, taking the youngest daughter prisoner, her uncle, Ethan Edwards (Wayne), and adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), begin a long quest to try and rescue her. Over the course of years, a rich tapestry of characters and events unfold, as the nature of the pair's motives are revealed, and bigoted, bitter Edwards emerges as a twisted man bent on killing the 'tainted' white girl. Only Pawley's love of his 'sister' and determination to protect her stands in his way, making the film's climax, and Wayne's portrayal of Edwards, an unforgettable experience.

With all of Ford's unique 'touches' clearly in evidence (the doorways 'framing' the film's opening and conclusion, with a cave opening serving the same function at the film's climax; the extensive use of Monument Valley; and the nearly lurid palette of color highlighting key moments) and his reliance on his 'stock' company of players (Wayne, Ward Bond, John Qualen, Olive Carey, Harry Carey, Jr, Hank Worden, and Ken Curtis), the film marks the emergence of the 'mature' Ford, no longer deifying the innocence of the era, but dealing with it in human terms, where 'white men' were as capable of savagery as Indians, frequently with less justification.

Featuring 18-year old Natalie Wood in one of her first 'adult' roles, the sparkling Vera Miles as Pawley's love interest, Wayne's son Patrick in comic relief, and the harmonies of the Sons of the Pioneers accenting Max Steiner's rich score, THE SEARCHERS is a timeless movie experience that becomes richer with each viewing.

It is truly a masterpiece!

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WAS ETHAN, MARTIN PAWLEY'S FATHER??? racine84
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shootin' irons... beauhooligan
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