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The Searchers (1956)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Western | 26 May 1956 (USA)
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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)
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Popularity
2,585 ( 2,184)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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Storyline

Ethan Edwards, returned from the Civil War to the Texas ranch of his brother, hopes to find a home with his family and to be near the woman he obviously but secretly loves. But a Comanche raid destroys these plans, and Ethan sets out, along with his 1/8 Indian nephew Martin, on a years-long journey to find the niece kidnapped by the Indians under Chief Scar. But as the quest goes on, Martin begins to realize that his uncle's hatred for the Indians is beginning to spill over onto his now-assimilated niece. Martin becomes uncertain whether Ethan plans to rescue Debbie...or kill her. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story that sweeps from the great Southwest to the Canadian border in VistaVision. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Navajo | Spanish

Release Date:

26 May 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Más corazón que odio See more »

Filming Locations:

Kayenta, Arizona, USA See more »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Temperatures were frequently in excess of 120 degrees. See more »

Goofs

At the Jorgenson ranch when Laurie is cooking breakfast, the bottoms of the legs of the jeans she is wearing are turned up. In the next scene where she hands her horse over to Marty, the bottoms are no longer turned up. 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

Featured in 100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Shall We Gather at the River
(1864) (uncredited)
Written by Robert Lowry
Sung at funeral and later at wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.


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