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

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Laurence Stallings (screenplay), Frank S. Nugent (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,107 ( 10,412)

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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 ... Luke
Fred Libby Fred Libby ... Deputy
Michael Dugan Michael Dugan ... Posse Man #2
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Storyline

Fugitive bank robbers Robert (John Wayne), William (Harry Carey Jr.) and Pedro (Pedro Armendáriz) stand at a desert grave. Caring for the newborn infant of the woman they just buried will ruin any chance of escape. But they won't go back on their promise to her. They won't abandon little Robert William Pedro. Director John Ford's Western retelling of the Biblical Three Wise Men tale remains a scenic and thematic masterpiece. Ford adds color to his feature-film palette, capturing stunning vistas via cinematographer Winton C. Hoch, who would win two of his three Academy Awards for Ford films. Again, populist-minded Ford asserts that even men of dissolute character can follow that inner star of Bethlehem to their own redemption.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Color By Technicolor See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Wayne's pose on the rear of the railroad car and his sweeping wave of his hat at the end of the film were copied by John Belushi for the ending of Continental Divide (1981). See more »

Goofs

In the trial scene near the end of the film, the judge is leaning back in his chair during side shots but leaning forward during the front close-ups. See more »

Quotes

Robert Marmaduke Sangster Hightower: Quit talkin' Mex in front of the infant!
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Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.13 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Silent Night
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr
(piano instrumental)
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User Reviews

 
Three bandits led by John Wayne fleeing across the desert to escape their pursuers
11 January 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

First-rate Western masterfully directed by the great John Ford that results to be a marvelous retelling of Peter B Kyne's saga dealing with three desperate who take a newborn baby in the desert , as the group come across a dying woman and her infant child and they promise the woman that they will take care of the child and get it to safety, even though none of them knows anything whatsoever about children or babies . After robbing the local bank , three outlaws named Robert Hightower (John Wayne) , William Kearney (Harry Carey Jr) and Pedro Roca Fuerte (Pedro Armendariz) on the run to evade the local Marshal (War Bond) and his posse . In the wilderness they then find an abandoned wagon in which there is a dying woman (Mildred Natwick) who asks for help the men . The bandits take care of her child and they swear to bring the infant to safety across the desert , even at the risk of their own lives. The outlaws set out across the desert to deliver it to safety and then decide to do their best by the newborn and not all will survive and for those who get , prison likely awaits them.

This nice Western contains interesting characters , full of wide open space and dramatic moments . This classic , sturdy picture ranks as one of the most sentimental of John Ford's work . It contains Ford's usual themes as familiar feeling , a little bit funny humor, friendship and and sense of comradeship among people and ample shots on desert landscapes ,specially on Mojave . Thought-provoking , enjoyable screenplay portraying in depth characters and brooding events with interesting issues running beneath script surface by Laurence Stallings and Frank S. Nugent , Ford's usual . Multiple highlights as the raid bank at the beginning and of course the sensible final farewell on the train station . Outdoors are pretty good and well photographed by Winton Hoch and filmed on location in Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, Carson & Colorado Railroad, Owens Valley, Death Valley National Park, Mojave Desert,Zabriskie Point and RKO Encino Ranch Los Angeles ,California . Dedicated to the filmmaker's first actor , Harry Carey Sr . This excellent film featuring a magnificent performance by whole casting , including a top-notch support cast . Awesome John Wayne in a larger-than-life character along with his two likable partners Harry Carey Jr and Pedro Armendariz . In the film appears , as usual , Ford's favourite actors as Jack Pennick , Jane Darwell , Ben Johnson , Francis Ford , Guy Kibbee , Mae Marsh , Hank Worden, and of course Ward Bond as obstinate sheriff who sets off in pursuit . Sensible and emotive musical score including wonderful songs by Richard Hageman . The movie is stunningly produced by Merian C Cooper - Argosy Pictures Production- and magnificently filmed by Ford . Remade for TV as ¨The Godchild¨ (1974) directed by John Badham with Jack Palance , Keith Carradine, Ed Lauter and Jack Warden . This may not be Ford's best Western , as many would claim , but it's still head ad shoulders above most big-scale movies .You'll find the ending over-melodramatic according to your tastes , though it's lovingly composed by John Ford who really picks up the drama and sensibility towards the ending . Rating : Better than average , worthwhile watching . .


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Details

Official Sites:

HBOMAX | TCM

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 January 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Godfathers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,243,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Argosy Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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