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3 Godfathers (1948)

Passed | | Drama, Western | 13 January 1949 (USA)
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When 3 outlaws on the run find a dying woman and her newborn baby in the desert they vow to save the child.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

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

JOHN WAYNE'S Greatest Role! 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)

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Wayne's character, Robert Marmaduke Hightower, was named by director John Ford after his favorite stuntman, Bryan 'Slim' Hightower, who also worked on this picture. See more »

Goofs

The Bible used as a prop has marginal cross-references, but the Bible pages used in the close-up shot, as read by Bob, do not. See more »

Quotes

Robert Marmaduke Sangster Hightower: Quit talkin' Mex in front of the infant!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ice Age (2002) 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 and affecting piece from Ford.
3 October 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Having already made a version of the story in 1919 as Marked Men with Harry Carey, John Ford clearly had a kink for this delightful redemption parable. Opening with a touching tribute to his friend and mentor Carey, who had sadly passed away the previous year (and who also starred in the 1916 version of The Three Godfathers), it was also the first out and out Ford Western to be made in colour.

The story tells of three outlaws - Robert Hightower (John Wayne), Pedro "Pete" Fuerte (Pedro Armendariz) and The Abilene Kid (Harry Carey Junior) - who after robbing a bank in the town of Welcome, are on the run from the law led posse. After hitting problems in a desert sandstorm, the men struggle on to Terrapin Tanks, where they happen across a woman in labour. Giving birth to her child, but sadly on her death bed, the woman begs the men to take care of her baby. They agree and embark on a perilous journey to get the child safely to "New Jerusalem"...

It's an odd sort of Western, but in a good way. Backed up by the usual high standard of location work from Ford and the irrepressible Winton Hoch. And with customary staunch support work from Ward Bond as the Sheriff, 3 Godfathers is a must see in relation to the careers of John Ford and John Wayne. It has a mixed reputation from fans of the two Johns, which is understandable given the flighty nature of the picture, but one thing that is true about the piece is that once viewed, it's unlikely to be forgotten. 7/10


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