John Ford: His 30 Best films

by cafg-0 | created - 24 Apr 2012 | updated - 13 Mar 2020 | Public

One of the greatest directors of American cinema. A master directing westerns and dramas.

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1. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Passed | 129 min | Drama

96 Metascore

An Oklahoma family driven off their farm by the poverty and hopelessness of the Dust Bowl joins the westward migration to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin

Votes: 90,211 | Gross: $0.06M

2. Stagecoach (1939)

Passed | 96 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

93 Metascore

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine

Votes: 47,254

3. The Searchers (1956)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

94 Metascore

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a years-long journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches after the rest of his brother's family is massacred in a raid on their Texas farm.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond

Votes: 86,403

4. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Approved | 123 min | Drama, Western

94 Metascore

A senator returns to a western town for the funeral of an old friend and tells the story of his origins.

Director: John Ford | Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin

Votes: 73,711

5. The Quiet Man (1952)

Passed | 129 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

85 Metascore

A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in 1920s Ireland, where he falls for a spirited redhead whose brother is contemptuous of their union.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond

Votes: 37,358 | Gross: $10.55M

6. The Informer (1935)

Approved | 91 min | Crime, Drama

65 Metascore

In 1922, an Irish rebel informs on his friend, then feels doom closing in.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster, Margot Grahame

Votes: 6,292 | Gross: $2.07M

7. How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Passed | 118 min | Drama, Family

88 Metascore

At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp

Votes: 23,385

8. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Passed | 100 min | Biography, Drama, History

91 Metascore

A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Alice Brady, Marjorie Weaver, Arleen Whelan

Votes: 7,970

9. My Darling Clementine (1946)

Passed | 97 min | Drama, Romance, Western

After their cattle are stolen and their brother murdered, the Earp brothers have a score to settle with the Clanton family.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature, Cathy Downs

Votes: 23,022

10. The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Approved | 120 min | Adventure, Romance, War

In 1863, a Union outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in Mississippi to destroy enemy railroads but a captive southern belle and the unit's doctor cause frictions within ranks.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers, Judson Pratt

Votes: 10,206 | Gross: $1.75M

11. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Passed | 104 min | Western

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson

Votes: 17,058

12. Fort Apache (1948)

Passed | 128 min | Western

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Pedro Armendáriz

Votes: 17,550

13. Mister Roberts (1955)

Not Rated | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, War

72 Metascore

In the waning days of World War II, the cargo officer of a Navy supply ship chafes at its role far from the action in the Pacific's backwater areas, his frustration rising when its captain denies the crew liberty over petty irritations.

Directors: John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, Joshua Logan | Stars: Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, Jack Lemmon

Votes: 16,328 | Gross: $21.20M

14. The Long Voyage Home (1940)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, War

A merchant ship's crew tries to survive the loneliness of the sea and the coming of war.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Ward Bond

Votes: 4,210

15. Cheyenne Autumn (1964)

PG | 154 min | Drama, History, Western

The Cheyenne, tired of broken U.S. government promises, head for their ancestral lands but a sympathetic cavalry officer is tasked to bring them back to their reservation.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Sal Mineo

Votes: 5,611

16. The Last Hurrah (1958)

Approved | 121 min | Drama

Frank Skeffington is an old Irish-American political boss, running for re-election as mayor of a U.S. town for the last time.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Jeffrey Hunter, Dianne Foster, Pat O'Brien

Votes: 3,522

17. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, Romance, War

Newlyweds Gil and Lana Martin try to establish a farm in the Mohawk Valley but are menaced by Indians and Tories as the Revolutionary War begins.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins

Votes: 6,073 | Gross: $1.00M

18. 3 Godfathers (1948)

Passed | 106 min | Drama, Western

82 Metascore

Three outlaws on the run risk their freedom and their lives to return a newborn to civilization.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr., Ward Bond

Votes: 9,263

19. How the West Was Won (1962)

G | 164 min | Western

56 Metascore

A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the 19th century, including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.

Directors: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall, Richard Thorpe | Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda

Votes: 20,217 | Gross: $46.50M

20. The Sun Shines Bright (1953)

Approved | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Western

John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford | Stars: Charles Winninger, Arleen Whelan, John Russell, Stepin Fetchit

Votes: 1,544

21. The Hurricane (1937)

Approved | 104 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A Polynesian sailor -- unjustly imprisoned after defending himself against a colonial bully -- is relentlessly persecuted by his island's martinet French governor.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Dorothy Lamour, Jon Hall, Mary Astor, C. Aubrey Smith

Votes: 2,543

22. 7 Women (1966)

Passed | 87 min | Drama

In China in 1935, seven dedicated missionary women try to protect themselves from the advances of a barbaric Mongolian warlord and his cut-throat gang of warriors.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Anne Bancroft, Sue Lyon, Margaret Leighton, Flora Robson

Votes: 2,318

23. Mogambo (1953)

Passed | 116 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

On a Kenyan safari, white hunter Victor Marswell has a love triangle with seductive American socialite Eloise Kelly and anthropologist Donald Nordley's cheating wife Linda.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Donald Sinden

Votes: 8,124

24. The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)

Approved | 96 min | Biography, Drama, History

The story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned after innocently treating President Lincoln's assassin in 1865.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Warner Baxter, Gloria Stuart, Claude Gillingwater, Arthur Byron

Votes: 2,170

25. The Lost Patrol (1934)

Passed | 73 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A dozen British soldiers, lost in a Mesopotamian desert during World War I, are menaced by unseen Arab enemies.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, Reginald Denny

Votes: 3,261

26. They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved | 135 min | Drama, War

86 Metascore

A Navy commander fights to prove the battle-worthiness of the PT boat at the start of World War II.

Directors: John Ford, Robert Montgomery | Stars: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Jack Holt

Votes: 8,228

27. Two Rode Together (1961)

Not Rated | 109 min | Western

A corrupt marshal is pressured by his army friend into negotiating the release of white captives of the Comanches, but finds that their reintegration into society has its consequences.

Director: John Ford | Stars: James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones, Linda Cristal

Votes: 5,978

28. Arrowsmith (1931)

Approved | 108 min | Drama

A medical researcher is sent to a plague outbreak, where he has to decide priorities for the use of a vaccine.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Ronald Colman, Helen Hayes, Richard Bennett, A.E. Anson

Votes: 1,710

29. Mary of Scotland (1936)

Approved | 123 min | Biography, Drama, History

The recently widowed Mary Stuart returns to Scotland to reclaim her throne but is opposed by her half-brother and her own Scottish lords.

Directors: John Ford, Leslie Goodwins | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Fredric March, Florence Eldridge, Douglas Walton

Votes: 2,522

30. Four Men and a Prayer (1938)

Not Rated | 85 min | Adventure, Mystery

The sons of a disgraced British officer try to clear his name.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Loretta Young, Richard Greene, George Sanders, David Niven

Votes: 747



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