6.8/10
206
5 user 2 critic

The American West of John Ford (1971)

The Western films of iconic director John Ford are fondly remembered by stars James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and John Wayne, with whom he shoots a scene in Monument Valley.

Director:

Denis Sanders

Writers:

David H. Vowell, Dan Ford (format) (as Daniel Sargent Ford)
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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

Quirt Evans, an all round bad guy, is nursed back to health and sought after by Penelope Worth, a Quaker girl. He eventually finds himself having to choose between his world and the world Penelope lives in.

Director: James Edward Grant
Stars: John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Jailed for murders he didn't commit, Randy escapes only to stumble into the den of the real murderers.

Director: Harry L. Fraser
Stars: John Wayne, Alberta Vaughn, George 'Gabby' Hayes
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The arrival of the telegraph put Pony Express riders like John Blair and his pal Smoky out of work. A race will decide whether they or stageline owner Drake get the government mail contract.

Director: Mack V. Wright
Stars: John Wayne, Phyllis Fraser, Lew Kelly
Certificate: Passed Music | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Bad guy Kincaid controls the local water supply and plans to do in the other ranchers. Government agent Saunders shows up undercover to do in Kincaid and win the heart of one of his victims Fay Denton.

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Cecilia Parker, Forrest Taylor
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

John Martin is a government agent working under cover. Leading citizen Morgan calls in gunman Galt who blows Martin's cover.

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Lucile Browne, George 'Gabby' Hayes
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

In a horse-riding rodeo contest bad guys want John Weston to lose. When he doesn't go along they add some insurance: a poisoned needle just under his saddle.

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Polly Ann Young, Anita Campillo
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A gang working for The Shadow is terrorizing the town. John Travers decides to take on the job of sheriff and do something about it.

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Verna Hillie, George 'Gabby' Hayes
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Ted Hayden impersonates a wanted man and joins Gentry's gang only to learn later that Gentry was the one who killed his father. He saves Virginia Winters' dad's ranch from Gentry and also rescues his long-lost brother Spud.

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Virginia Brown Faire, George 'Gabby' Hayes
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Rodeo star John Scott and his gambler friend Kansas Charlie are wrongly accused of armed robbery. They leave town as fast as they can to go looking for their own suspects in Poker City.

Director: Lewis D. Collins
Stars: John Wayne, Mary Kornman, Paul Fix
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Jerry Mason, a young Texan, and Jake Benson, an old rancher, become partners and strike it rich with a gold mine. They then find their lives complicated by bad guys and a woman.

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Barbara Sheldon, George 'Gabby' Hayes
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

When John Mason's father is killed, John is wounded. Attracted to his nurse Alice, a conflict arises between him and his friend Ben who plans to marry Alice. John later finds the killer of ... See full summary »

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Marion Burns, Dennis Moore
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, John Brant escapes and ends up out west where, after giving the local lawmen the slip, he joins up with an outlaw gang. Brant finds out that '... See full summary »

Director: Armand Schaefer
Stars: John Wayne, Nancy Shubert, Lane Chandler
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Himself - Narrator
James Stewart ... Himself - Narrator
Henry Fonda ... Himself - Narrator
John Ford ... Himself
Andy Devine ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Olive Carey ... actress 'The Searchers'
Jeffrey Hunter ... actor 'The Searchers'
John Qualen ... actor 'The Searchers'
Mickey Simpson Mickey Simpson ... acror 'My Darling Clementine'
Edit

Storyline

A sentimental look at the legendary iconic film director John Ford and some of his classic Westerns, nine of which were set in the breathtaking beauty of Monument Valley. Ford "directs" a short scene for the benefit of the documentarians which includes a horsefall by Ford's favorite star, John Wayne. Additional Ford stars Henry Fonda and James Stewart reminisce about the venerable director with clips from such Ford classics as "The Iron Horse," "Stagecoach," "My Darling Clementine," "Fort Apache," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbonn," "Rio Grande," "The Searchers," "THe Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," and "Cheyenne Autumn." Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great American West of John Ford See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

John Ford: When I pass on, I want to be remembered as John Ford, a man who made Westerns.
See more »

Connections

Features Wagon Master (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

"You're in the army Now' (uncredited)
Music by Isham Jones
Lyrics by Ole Olson and Tell Taylor (1917)
Instrumental version played undersome archive footage
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Elegy In A Rosy Desert.
8 February 2014 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Jimmy Stewart reminisce with John "Pappy" Ford about the old days of 1930 to 1964, when Westerns were being churned out wholesale, an art (if that's what it was) so American that it can be compared to jazz.

In 1973, all the participants were past their prime. Ford had made his last movie, the disastrous "Seven Women", in 1966. Everybody gets old, and when they do, their resources are depleted. Inspiration flags, long-time friends die or drift away, the deserts are turned not into gardens but into housing developments. The wonder of it is that directors last as long as they do.

That's depressing, but it's not the focus of these jovial conversations and tales. What emerges is vital and often funny, without carrying any particular degree of insight. ("The Western was founded on a dream", etc.) There are numerous clips from Ford's films and a great deal of action and comedy.

The comic scenes include one I've always admired for all of the constituents that are left unspoken. In the post Civil War Western, "Rio Grande", trooper Victor McLaglen, a bit drunk, is schmoozing with the company's doctor, Chill Wills, who is whittling on a sizable wooden stick. Throughout the film, Maureen O'Hara, a Southern lady has been harassing McLaglen for burning her plantation in the Shenandoah Valley, repeatedly shaming him by accusing him of being an "arsonist." Finally, McLaglen asks the doc exactly what an "arsonist" is. Chill Wills explains and McLaglen laughs with relief -- "Oh, is THAT all!" But the scene doesn't end there. McLaglen, now pretty drunk, begins to loathe himself for having burned the plantation. "And there's the hand that did the dirty deed!", he exclaims, staring at the offending appendage. He spits on it and says, "I wish you'd take that stick and whack it off!" Chills immediately raises the heavy stick and whacks the hand with all his might, breaking the stick in two. Silence. Wills returns placidly to his whittling. McLaglen, with tears of genuine pain, shakes his stricken hand and blows on it.

It loses in the telling because the performances and direction in the scene are as good as they are.

But, then, not everything is explored anyway. This is supposed to be a satisfying look back at the wraith of former pleasantries, not a penetrating discourse. Ford is described as a prankster but he was rather more than that. He reveled in humiliating his casts. He clearly enjoyed their anguish, both emotional and physical. James Cagney wrote that Ford was a "sadist". There is no reference to an incident in which Ford punched Fonda in the face. And the narrative has been cleaned up a bit for television. The "arsonist" joke I described was deleted. And when Wayne tells us "No stunt man was ever hurt on a Ford picture," he's not entirely accurate. An old friend of Ford's, a stunt man named Kennedy, broke his neck during a saddle fall in "The Horse Soldiers."

None of that detracts from Ford's professional curriculum vitae. He directed some of the best American Westerns ever made, and some of American cinema's most moving moments. But aside from the sentiment, the action, and the comedy, Ford's work at times was almost poetic, although he would never admit it. ("Just a job of work.") And this documentary is warm and generous with its subject. Just as well. The elegy befits a master craftsman.


0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 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 Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed