7.2/10
7,481
61 user 28 critic

3 Godfathers (1948)

Passed | | Drama, Western | 13 January 1949 (USA)
Trailer
3:20 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Three outlaws on the run find a dying woman in the desert who gives birth to a baby. The mother entrusts the care of the child to the three men.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Laurence Stallings (screenplay), Frank S. Nugent (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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
Fort Apache (1948)
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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
Rio Grande (1950)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson
Adventure | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Wead.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey
Wagon Master (1950)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two young drifters guide a Mormon wagon train to the San Juan Valley and encounter cutthroats, Indians, geography, and moral challenges on the journey.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Ben Johnson, Joanne Dru, Harry Carey Jr.
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The PT boat unit Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three defends the Philippines from Japanese invasion during World War II.

Directors: John Ford, Robert Montgomery
Stars: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed
Hondo (1953)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Army despatch rider Hondo Lane discovers a woman and young son living in the midst of warring Apaches and becomes their protector.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond
Chisum (1970)
Biography | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Cattle baron John Chisum joins forces with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett to fight the Lincoln County land war.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Christopher George
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Comedy subtly dealing with moral issues such as racial bigotry, corporate greed, American belief of societal superiority and hypocrisy.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Elizabeth Allen
Red River (1948)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
Drama | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Robert Marmaduke Sangster Hightower
Pedro Armendáriz ... Pedro Roca Fuerte (as Pedro Armendariz)
Harry Carey Jr. ... William Kearney ('The Abilene Kid')
Ward Bond ... Perley 'Buck' Sweet
Mae Marsh ... Mrs. Perley Sweet
Mildred Natwick ... The Mother
Jane Darwell ... Miss Florie
Guy Kibbee ... Judge
Dorothy Ford ... Ruby Latham
Ben Johnson ... Posse Man #1
Charles Halton ... Oliver Latham
Hank Worden ... Deputy Curly
Jack Pennick Jack Pennick ... Luke
Fred Libby Fred Libby ... Deputy
Michael Dugan Michael Dugan ... Posse Man #2
Edit

Storyline

Three outlaws on the run discover a dying woman and her baby. They swear to bring the infant to safety across the desert, even at the risk of their own lives. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

John Ford's Legend of the Southwest! (lobby card) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 January 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Godfathers See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,243,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,078,000, 31 December 1948

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,841,000, 31 December 1948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Argosy Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film inspired the anime film Tokyo Godfathers, as it takes a few plot points from it. (Three unlikely people find a baby and try to return him to his parents). See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the movie, Hightower reads a bible passage Matthew, yet the bible is open close to the beginning. See more »

Quotes

Pedro "Pete' Roca Fuerte: [dying] Hey, Bob... I just remembered what tomorrow is. Feliz Navidad.
See more »

Connections

Featured in John Ford et Monument Valley (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Streets of Laredo
(uncredited)
Written by Troy Hale
Performed by Harry Carey Jr.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Robert, William, Pedro
30 October 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Like The Maltese Falcon, 3 Godfathers had to be made three times before we got the definitive version. This one has to rank at the top of John Wayne's films.

Wayne and fellow outlaws Pedro Armendariz and Harry Carey, Jr. arrive at the town of Welcome, Arizona and after a brief chance meeting with the marshal, Ward Bond, proceed to rob the Welcome bank.

In pursuit of the robbers, Bond shoots the waterbag draped across Wayne's saddle. And then he cleverly stations men at the few sources of water. Nevertheless the three outlaws decide to chance it across the desert.

Life takes a peculiar turn for them as they come across a dying Mildred Natwick who has just delivered an infant. Before she goes she exacts a promise from them to rescue her baby.

Even though their own freedom is at stake, Wayne, Armendariz, and Carey subordinate it to the care and rescue of the infant. At this point the Christmas parable takes over. The three wise men setting out with the infant in their charge to the nearest town which happens to be New Jerusalem, Arizona.

I said on another review of a Wayne film that John Wayne had one of the greatest faces for movie closeups ever. Check some of them here, especially during the desert trek. They say more than 10 pages of dialog. Ford, Hawks, Wellman all the great directors who worked with the Duke knew that and took advantage.

Pedro Armendariz and John Ford came to blow up on the set of 3 Godfathers according to Harry Carey, Jr.'s memoirs. Armendariz almost walked off the film. He finished it though and was great as the fatalistic Mexican outlaw. But he never worked for Ford again.

Although he'd done a few films before this, John Ford had in the credits, introducing Harry Carey, Jr. Of course the film is dedicated to his father who in fact had starred in the original silent Three Godfathers. Maybe this should have really been his debut film, Dobe Carey is just fine as the callow youth, The Abilene Kid.

This also marked the last film of veteran actor Guy Kibbee. As the practical and perceptive judge who tries Wayne, Kibbee is given a fitting swan song to a great career as a player.

This is certainly a more religious work than John Wayne is used to doing. Wayne, although he was baptized Catholic at the end of his life was not a particularly religious man. I do wonder if he had lived another decade what he would have made of the religious right.

Ford of course got in his obligatory Shall We Gather At the River, but also Bringing in the Sheaves was sung. And in the scene where a dehydrated John Wayne arrives at a saloon in New Jerusalem, the piano player is first playing The Holy City and then Silent Night. All to great effect by the way.

I think people that are not necessarily fans of the Duke will be amazed at the heights he rose to as a player in 3 Godfathers.


60 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 61 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed