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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:
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Up 81% 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:
1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
John Ford shows us how to make a Western See more (416 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
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


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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:TV-G (TV rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #17787) | West Germany:12 (nf)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Ward Bond played the captain of a small unit of Texas Rangers. Among the actors playing the Rangers were Terry Wilson and Frank McGrath, both of whom later co-starred with Bond in the TV series "Wagon Train" (1957).See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Early in the movie when Captain Clayton is trying to recruit Ethan and his brother, John Wayne puts on his gun belt and in the next shot buckles it again.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 Rio Bravo (1959)See more »
Soundtrack:
Bonnie Blue FlagSee 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 »
77 out of 132 people found the following review useful.
John Ford shows us how to make a Western, 17 June 2002
Author: dover from Manhattan

John Ford is a classic Western filmmaker (though certainly not the only genre in which he excelled), employing the classic Western film star, John Wayne, in perhaps one of the most underappreciated films of our time. Ford builds a thoroughly entertaining movie which explores classic Western themes without necessarily relying on these themes to drive the plot.

Like any good Western, we are inorexably drawn to a kind of Cowboys vs. Indians saga, but Ford manages to draw us into the conflict in such a way that the mere "Cowboys good, Indians bad" aesthetic isn't really applicable here. While relying on the archetypical roles of the two groups to set up a conflict, Ford is ahead of his time in managing to characterize the Indians as more than "noble savages". Wayne's character's (Ethan Edwards) hatred of "the Commanch" is called into question a number of times, especially in his stormy relationship with adopted nephew and fellow searcher Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), who we are told is a quarter-Indian himself, and cannot bring himself to find the same sort of hatred for the Indians that Ethan holds.

Ethan was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, returning to his brother's Texas homestead after the war. A group of Commanches, led by the ominous Chief Scar, route and kill his brother's family while Ethan and Martin are investigating a cattle rustling, the Commaches' diversionary tactic. The Indians took the family's youngest daughter, and the majority of the film has us following Ethan and Martin in their attempts to track down Scar and take back the girl, Debbie (played by Lorna and Natalie Wood, at different times).

Such a situation sets up one of the many moral ambiguities that make this more than an ordinary Western: the Commanches slaughtered Ethan's brother and his family - he seemingly has reason to hate them with the almost crazy passion that he does. Yet the more naive Martin cannot bring himself to hate them in such a way, and the split between them becomes a major point of contention when it becomes clear that Debbie has more or less been adopted as a Commanche (the two "Searchers" chase after her for about five years in film time). Furthermore, when the two "Searchers" actually meet Scar, who they've been chasing for years, he is presented as a rather intelligent character, although certainly one filled with vengance - he, too, has his reasons for waging war with the likes of Ethan and Martin, and cannot merely be written off a the type of bloodthirsty savage that is typical of the portrayal of most Indians within the genre.

The film relies on enough classic Western material to imbue with the feel with the sense of such pictures. Aside from the question of Ethan's morality, Wayne plays him with classic John Wayne freewheeling confidence and swagger that made the actor such an icon, and it comes off quite well. We are also given a side story involving Martin's romance with the hard-as-nails Laurie Jurgensen (played by Vera Miles, best known for playing Janet Leigh's sister in "Psycho"). The relationship is from a classic, archetypical Western mold - the two have been in love since they were kids, but Martin has responsibilites to his family that stop him from making the proper time for his beau, and his rough frontier-uprbringing leave him seemingly lacking the proper sensitivity for dealing with Laura (though he does, of course, have a heart of gold).

As a side note, this film should prove immensely interesting to any serious fan of the "Star Wars" trilogy (the original one). While those films undoubtably draw a great deal of inspiration from Kurosawa's samurai films, there is most certainly a great deal (especially in the film subtitled "A New Hope") drawn from here. One scene in particular (when Luke returns to his farm after stormtroopers have blasted in pieces) is virtually ripped straight from "The Searchers". Ford's film is also full of the sort of gallows humor present throughout the trilogy, and even incorporates some rather goofy characters, the half-cracked Mose Harper (Hank Warden) and the incredibly over-the-top rival for Laura's hand Charlie McCorry (Ken Curtis), without ruining the overall serious feel of the film, but managing to squeeze laughs out of absurd situations (such as a fight between Martin and Charlie) without compromising the ability to quickly return to a solemn tone. Such deft touch, as well as the addition of wise-cracking dialogue (provided largely by Wayne and Ward Bond here) are a large part of what made the original trilogy so successful, and it's strikingly similar to the type of paradigm on display between various characters here.

Regardless of ranting and raving about Star Wars, however, this is an excellent film on it's own merit.

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John Wayne was just plain annoying, totally unlikeable Lin301
WAS ETHAN, MARTIN PAWLEY'S FATHER??? racine84
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