79 user 38 critic

The Comancheros (1961)

Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves dealing with the Comanches known as Comancheros.


Michael Curtiz, John Wayne (uncredited)


James Edward Grant (screenplay), Clair Huffaker (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Capt. Jake Cutter
Stuart Whitman ... Paul Regret
Ina Balin ... Pilar Graile
Nehemiah Persoff ... Graile
Lee Marvin ... Tully Crow
Michael Ansara ... Amelung
Patrick Wayne ... Tobe (as Pat Wayne)
Bruce Cabot ... Maj. Henry
Joan O'Brien ... Melinda Marshall
Jack Elam ... Horseface (Comanchero)
Edgar Buchanan ... Circuit Court Judge Thaddeus Jackson Breen
Henry Daniell ... Gireaux
Richard Devon ... Esteban


Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves dealing with the Comanches known as Comancheros.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Big Jake the Adventurer... Paul Regret the Gambler... Pilar the Gypsy beauty... Three With a Past... Destined to Cross and Clash... In a Kingdom of Killers!


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


When Captain Jake Cutter (John Wayne) signs the hotel register as "McBain", one of the names in the register is William H. Clothier, this movie's director of photography. See more »


Several characters wear pants with belts running through the available belt loops even though this was not the custom until the 1920s at the earliest. See more »


[first lines]
Gireaux: Since there is no reconciliation, we proceed. You will please stand with your backs to one another.
Emil Bouvier - Duelist: It may amuse you to know, monsieur, I never believed you cheated at cards.
Paul Regret: Well, maybe I don't have your sense of humor.
Emil Bouvier - Duelist: There's a lady who prefers your attentions to mine. I intend to... simplify her choice.
Paul Regret: Rachel?
[Emil snickers]
Paul Regret: Margo? No.
Gireaux: When I begin to count, you will each take 10 paces. You will turn and fire on the count of 10. If either man stops or turns before the count of 10, ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure an 'A' rating. When released on home video in 1988, the BBFC made cuts of 11 seconds to remove shots of horse-falls to secure a 'PG' rating. For the DVD release, the BBFC made cuts of 8 seconds in 2003 to remove similar shots of horse-falls resulting in a 'PG' rating. To date (December 2014), the film has not been released fully uncut on UK media. See more »


Referenced in The Simpsons: Apocalypse Cow (2008) See more »


Frère Jacques
Performed by Stuart Whitman and Aissa Wayne
See more »

User Reviews

THE COMANCHEROS (Michael Curtiz and, uncredited, John Wayne, 1961) ***
6 June 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

One of John Wayne’s best latter-day films also happened to be legendary (and versatile) director Curtiz’ last: he was ill with cancer at the time, and the star himself (who had recently tried his hands at directing for the first time with the large-scale THE ALAMO [1960]) stepped in when the latter proved too weak to work; incidentally, the two had previously collaborated on the atypical TROUBLE ALONG THE WAY (1953) which has just been released on DVD by Warners. Ironically, Wayne – who is at one time called “Big Jake” in the film – would likewise deputize as a director for the ailing George Sherman (who produced THE COMANCHEROS) on another solid Western of his entitled BIG JAKE (1971)!

Coming right in between the farcical NORTH TO THE ALASKA (1960) and the elegiac THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962), it’s neither as comic as the former nor as grim as the latter, but manages to strike a good balance between the two. The film has an interesting episodic structure: Texas Ranger Wayne chasing gambler Stuart Whitman (accused of murder), Whitman meeting mystery woman Ina Balin on a boat (having slipped from Wayne’s fingers), Wayne crossing paths with psychotic arms dealer Lee Marvin (with a prominent scalp), Wayne and Whitman eventually team up to rout the Comancheros – a renegade band with their own strict code of ethics who’s in league with the Indians (they’re led by Nehemiah Persoff, incidentally Balin’s father).

Wayne and Whitman work well together: the latter eventually co-starred in a similar Fox Western, RIO CONCHOS [1964], which is yet to be released on DVD – but, as it happens, has just been shown on Italian TV and I taped it for an instant reappraisal; Marvin has a brief but showy role, Persoff makes a fine villain, and Balin’s strong character is unusual for a Western (though she eventually reforms for the sake of Whitman!). There’s also a good supporting role for Wayne’s son, Patrick; and, while I don’t know how much say Curtiz had in casting the film, it was great to see two alumni of his in nice bits – Henry Daniell (from THE SEA HAWK [1940]) and Guinn “Big Boy” Williams (from DODGE CITY [1939]).

As can be expected, THE COMANCHEROS features plenty of well-staged action sequences (including a climactic bout in which all the various parties involved clash) – all set to a rousing Elmer Bernstein score, fresh from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960). Watching the film got me thinking about another good Wayne Western from this later period which I haven’t watched in over 20 years – THE WAR WAGON (1967; incidentally, the last of 3 collaborations with Kirk Douglas) – which is actually upcoming on R1 DVD as part of a Universal “John Wayne Screen Legends” set...

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Navajo

Release Date:

29 November 1961 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Comancheros See more »

Filming Locations:

Castle Valley, Moab, Utah, USA See more »


Box Office


$4,260,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm mag-optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (35 mm optical prints)


Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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