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3 Godfathers (1948)

Passed | | Drama, Western | 13 January 1949 (USA)
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3:20 | Trailer
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 »
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A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Wead.

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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

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:

Color By Technicolor See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

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 »
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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is a remake of the silent film The Three Godfathers (1916), which starred Ford's long-time friend Harry Carey. When Carey died in 1947, Ford decided to remake the story in Technicolor and dedicate the film to his memory. Carey's son, Harry Carey Jr., plays one of the three, "The Abilene Kid". The film Three Godfathers (1936) is based on the same source, so this film is, in some sense, a remake of that film as well. See more »

Goofs

The coach car on the train in Welcome has 7 windows, no roof-walk, and the number under the windows. The car at Mojave Tanks, which is supposed to be the same, has 5 windows, a roof-walk, and the number in front of the windows. The 5-window car also has no interior, as seen through the rear door. See more »

Quotes

Posse Member #1: A lot of boys stick up stagecoaches and banks and one thing and another. But a man who would dynamite a water hole in this kind of country is downright criminal.
See more »

Connections

Version of Hell's Heroes (1929) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful River (Shall We Gather at the River)
(uncredited)
Written by Robert Lowry and Charles Ives
Performed by Harry Carey Jr.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sentimental but warming Christmas parable
24 December 2008 | by LejinkSee all my reviews

Nice to watch this hoary old (Christmas) chestnut at Yuletide, almost exactly 60 years after its original release. And yes, while it is guilty of a number of sins by way of corniness, improbability and sentimentality, it still works for me and proves you don't need tinsel and snow to evoke the Christmas spirit. Here old Papa Ford relates his Christmas parable against the background of the searing heat of the Arizona desert as Duke Wayne struggles against the odds to deliver orphan child Robert William Pedro to safety, bang on, wouldn't you know it, Christmas Day. All the usual Ford staples are here, the panoramic scenery, male camaraderie, bawdy humour and of course big John Wayne himself in yet another barnstorming lead role. I'm not the biggest Wayne fan going, but Ford invariably got the best out of the big lunk and he certainly carries the film (and the baby!) manfully. His two confederates, the youthful Harry Carey Jr and TexMex Pedro Armendariz both of whom sadly expire along the way, offer effective and humorous counterpoint to big John's proselytising. Ford cleverly doesn't reveal his hand too quickly with only the odd Biblical reference alluded to early on but by the time the three amigos are spotlit gazing out at the camera having just accepted the dying mother's infant child into their care, it piles on from there. Along the way the humour and sentimentality are mixed up lightly with a little (not too much) dramatic tension as Wayne completes his epic journey (like he was ever going to fail!), spurred on by the ghosts of his fallen colleagues and completes his own spiritual regeneration in accepting with good grace his jail sentence at the end in exchange for a guarantee that he'll be reunited with his infant charge once his sentence is complete. Noting that the film is Ford's own remake of his earlier silent movie production of the same story would help explain why some of the scenes are somewhat static and staged tableau-style. Wayne gets to walk more than he talks, no bad thing, and the rest of the cast are all at home under the director's loving eye. All told, then a colourful (check the blue filter shot Ford employs to evoke the desert at night) and festive treat. But surely this child wasn't the Son of God...?!


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