41 user 19 critic

Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)

Passed | | Western | 4 December 1953 (USA)
During the Civil War, a group of Confederates escapes from the Union POW camp at Fort Bravo but has to contend with the desert, the Mescalero Apaches and the pursuing Union troops.


John Sturges


Frank Fenton (screenplay), Phillip Rock (story) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Marshal Jake Wade aids outlaw Clint Hollister escape jail but Clint wants to know where Wade hid an old hold-up loot taken while both men were outlaws in the same gang.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

At the end of the Civil War, two friends return home to Colorado and one of them has changed and is violent and erratic.

Director: Henry Levin
Stars: Glenn Ford, William Holden, Ellen Drew
Alvarez Kelly (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

During the Civil War, Mexican cattleman Alvarez Kelly supplies the Union with cattle until Confederate Colonel Tom Rossiter's hungry men force Kelly to change his customers.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: William Holden, Richard Widmark, Janice Rule
Backlash (1956)
Mystery | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jim Slater seeks a survivor of the Apache ambush his father died in.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Richard Widmark, Donna Reed, William Campbell
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A widowed farmer takes an indentured servant as his new wife, but the arrival of his old friend threatens their burgeoning relationship.

Director: Norman Foster
Stars: Loretta Young, William Holden, Robert Mitchum
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Marshal Wyatt Earp kills a couple of men of the Clanton gang in a fight. In revenge, Clanton's thugs kill the Marshal's brother. Thus, Wyatt starts to chase the killers together with his friend Doc Holliday.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An outlaw separates from his two partners in crime when they join the Texas Rangers, and he continues to commit daring robberies.

Director: Leslie Fenton
Stars: William Holden, Macdonald Carey, Mona Freeman
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Blacklisted in modern day WW2, a Swedish oil trader opts to assist British Allies, by means of infiltrating and surveying Nazi Germany.

Director: George Seaton
Stars: William Holden, Lilli Palmer, Hugh Griffith
Arizona (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

During the 1860s Tucson, a pioneer woman struggles to succeed in the freight and cattle business while at risk at the hands of corrupt and violent local businessmen and rampaging Indians.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Jean Arthur, William Holden, Warren William
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
Action | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A former sheriff blames himself for his wife's death during a Wells Fargo robbery and vows to track down and kill the seven men responsible.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Randolph Scott, Gail Russell, Lee Marvin


Complete credited cast:
William Holden ... Capt. Roper
Eleanor Parker ... Carla Forester
John Forsythe ... Capt. John Marsh
William Demarest ... Campbell
William Campbell ... Cabot Young
Polly Bergen ... Alice Owens
Richard Anderson ... Lt. Beecher
Carl Benton Reid ... Col. Owens
John Lupton ... Bailey


A ruthless Union captain is renowned throughout his prison fort as the toughest soldier in the business, capable of capturing every escaped convict under his supervision. However, when he falls in love with a visiting woman some of the prisoners seize the advantage and try to escape while he is in a more "mellow" mood. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


M.G.M.s Great Romance Excitingly photographed in Ansco Color.




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 December 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fort Bravo See more »

Filming Locations:

Rattlesnake, New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,520,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,158,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Anscocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Richard Anderson was wounded during the "arrow rain" scene, wounded in the shoulder and the leg. See more »


There were no Union Civil War POW camps in Arizona. In fact the closest one to Arizona would be a Confederate one in Tyler, Texas. See more »


Cabot Young: You must have missed!
Campbell: Naw, we just killed the same one twice!
[takes aim and shoots Indian off his pony with one shot]
Campbell: See what I mean?
See more »


Edited into How the West Was Won (1976) See more »


John Brown's Body
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

When you're in the grave, Beecher, it doesn't matter too much how you got there.
25 January 2011 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Escape from Fort Bravo is directed by John Sturges and collectively written by Michael Pate, Phillip Rock, Frank Fenton and John Forsythe. It stars William Holden, Eleanor Parker, John Forsythe, William Demarest & William Campbell. Jeff Alexander scores the music and Robert Surtees photographs it primarily in and around Death Valley in California, USA.

"In 1863 while the War Between the States still raged, a large group of Confederate prisoners were held in a sun baked stockade at Fort Bravo, Arizona Territory. Captor and Captive - - these men in blue and grey - - eyed each other with hatred. In the wilderness around them a common enemy eyed them both - - the deadly Mescalero Indians"

Escape from Fort Bravo has some notable points of interest that go with it. 1953 was the year that William Holden went "A" list and started to get "big" money, along side this picture he also made Stalag 17 and picked up the Best Actor Oscar for his efforts. The film also serves notice of what a fine director of action John Sturges would become, he of course would go on from here to be known for such film's like Bad Day at Black Rock, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Of interest, too, is that the film was shot in the rarely heard of Ansco Color. Ansco Color was the American off shoot of the German Agfa Color, used notably by MGM, Ansco would eventually evolve into Metrocolor.

As for the film itself? Entertaining and efficient with just enough in its last quarter to keep it away from merely being routine. The premise is a solid one, we have a unique situation where the prisoners of this stockade are not manacled or locked up. Such is the harshness of the surrounding desert and the hostile Indians that dwell there, Holden's tough and grizzled Union Captain doesn't feel the need to properly incarcerate the men. We then get a crafty "infiltration" of the stockade and it's here where the film sags a little as too much time is spent on fleshing out a potential romance. Thankfully Sturges pulls it all together for a grand last quarter that sees enemies forced to come together in the hope of surviving. It's here where we are treated to some psychological warfare and a memorable form of attack from the Mescalero's.

The acting across the board is effective, with Holden naturally the stand out doing one of his moody turns, while Surtees brilliantly captures the beauty, yet perfect harshness, of Death Valley. Major plus point is the score from the often forgotten Jeff Alexander (Jailhouse Rock/Party Girl). The title song for the film is "Yellow Stripes" by Stan Jones, this is reworked to good effect throughout, this is also notable for being used in John Ford's Rio Grande in 1950. There's the tender strains of "Soothe My Lonely Heart" (also used in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) and Alexander cleverly mixes that up to portray the pace and tones within the piece. It's a top score that wouldn't have been out of place in an "A" Western.

There's some distracting sound stage work that belie the fine work of Surtees' outdoor shooting, and the afore mentioned overkill of tedium as the romance angle is stretched too far. But it's a good production and never less than enjoyable. 7/10

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 41 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed