7.9/10
78,116
486 user 121 critic

The Searchers (1956)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Western | 26 May 1956 (USA)
Trailer
2:47 | Trailer
An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Frank S. Nugent (screenplay), Alan Le May (from the novel by) (as Alan LeMay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,505 ( 15)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Ethan Edwards
Jeffrey Hunter ... Martin Pawley
Vera Miles ... Laurie Jorgensen
Ward Bond ... Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton
Natalie Wood ... Debbie Edwards - Age 15
John Qualen ... Lars Jorgensen
Olive Carey ... Mrs. Jorgensen
Henry Brandon ... Scar / Cicatriz
Ken Curtis ... Charlie McCorry
Harry Carey Jr. ... Brad Jorgensen
Antonio Moreno ... Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y Figueroa
Hank Worden ... Mose Harper
Beulah Archuletta Beulah Archuletta ... Look
Walter Coy ... Aaron Edwards
Dorothy Jordan ... Martha Edwards
Learn more

More Like This 

Stagecoach (1939)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A senator returns to a western town for the funeral of an old friend and tells the story of his origins.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
Rio Bravo (1959)
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson
High Noon (1952)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan
Red River (1948)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    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
True Grit (1969)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian Territory.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell
The Quiet Man (1952)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he falls for a spirited redhead whose brother is contemptuous of their union.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald
Certificate: Passed Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
Fort Apache (1948)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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 7.1/10 X  

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande is confronted with murderous raiding Apaches, a 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
Biography | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Earps battle the Clantons at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature
Edit

Storyline

After a long three-year absence, the battle-scarred Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, Ethan Edwards, turns up on the remote and dusty Texan homestead of his brother, Aaron. In high hopes of finding peace, instead, the taciturn former soldier will embark on a treacherous five-year odyssey of retribution, when the ruthless Chief Scar's murderous Comanche raiding party massacre his family, burn the ranch to the ground and abduct his nine-year-old niece, Debbie. Driven by hatred of Indians, Ethan and his young companion, Martin Pawley, ride through the unforgiving desert to track down their lost Debbie; however, is the woman they lost and the prisoner in Scar's teepee still the same woman the searchers seek? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He had to find her... he had to find her... See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place from 1868 to 1873. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, when Ethan takes his brother's place in the Ranger posse, he walks out wearing his chaps. When he gets on his horse and rides out, his chaps are laying across the front of his saddle. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[seeing a horseman in the distance]
Aaron Edwards: Ethan?
Debbie Edwards: Hush, Prince.
Lucy Edwards: That's your Uncle Ethan!
Martha Edwards: [he approaches] Welcome home, Ethan!
See more »

Crazy Credits

This Warner Brothers film was said to be in VistaVision, according to the credits - this may be the only Warner film in VistaVision. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Major Dundee (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Skip to My Lou
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by Ken Curtis
See more »

User Reviews

 
Simply breathtaking.
21 April 2014 | by queen_meow_of_ontarioSee all my reviews

A lone home amidst tranquil mesas. A family gathers on their front porch to watch a solitary man ride slowly up to their ranch on his horse in the waning sun. He stops, disembarks and walks up to the house, all in one single weary move. Note his stance, the rugged tiredness of life etched on his face. This lone drifter is Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) and is perhaps the most brilliant character devised by Wayne and director John Ford. As the film progresses, we learn of his military days, his contempt of Indians and, most importantly, his psyche. Compared to another John ford movie, "Stagecoach", we can see the massive differences in character psychology and within the genre itself. Gone are the days of the brave hero riding in to save the day with wistful smiles all around; instead we have a savage man on an odyssey of revenge, hatred and bloodshed.

In one scene, Ethan and a search party comes across a dead Indian buried in the ground. Ethan's suppressed rage overcomes him, and he shoots the corpse's eyes out. "What good did that do ya?" asks the Reverend. Ethan coolly replies, "Ain't got no eyes so he can't enter the spirit land, has to wander forever between the winds". This is by far my favourite line in the movie, because of the resonance it has at the end, with Ethan walking away into the winds, doomed to forever drift the earth. This movie is a beautiful spectacle of sight and sound. Not only do we marvel at scenes in Ford's beloved Monument Valley, we also find ourselves amazed at the level of detail in set design. Each frame is as if it were from a painter's canvas. Colour coordination was certainly something John Ford and his cinematographers fit perfectly into. There are few vibrant colours in each frame, but those that exist pop out vividly amongst the bleak, sepia-stained walls of the houses, and the valley.

John Ford again demonstrates his powerful storytelling technique by using several methods of progressing the narrative. While crosscutting between action is used sparingly, a quasi-flashback stemming from a letter of Luke's kept my attention firmly rooted to my screen. These different methods of narrative progression are important because it keeps the viewer continuously involved with the story. Not once did I feel as if a particular scene droned on and on for too long, instead I felt captivated not only by a gripping storyline, but also because of the brilliant dichotomy between Ethan Edwards and the other characters. The Searchers is a lesson on psychology, sociology and filmmaking all at once. I love it.


29 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 486 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Navajo | Spanish

Release Date:

26 May 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Searchers See more »

Filming Locations:

Kayenta, Arizona, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

C.V. Whitney Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed