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
2,523 ( 73)
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

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 massacres his family, burns the ranch to the ground, and abducts 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:

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to film restorer Ned Price, by 1991 when the first digital transfer was made (on Laserdisc), the yellow layer of the original VistaVision negative had completely faded, making it unusable. Black and white separation masters (yellow, cyan, and magenta) made in the late 1950s have been used since then to master DVD releases. See more »

Goofs

The opening scene, stating that it is in Texas, was filmed in Monument Valley, which is in Utah and Arizona. Texas never extended west of the Rio Grand River, which splits New Mexico in half and runs north through Colorado and up into Wyoming. 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!
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Crazy Credits

The credits state this Warner Brothers film is in VistaVision; this may be the only Warner film in VistaVision. See more »

Connections

Remade as Les Cowboys (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Lorena
(1856) (uncredited)
Music by J.P. Webster
Lyrics by Henry D.L. Webster
Heard in score
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User Reviews

 
Landmark Western.
7 October 2013 | by AaronCapenBannerSee all my reviews

John Ford and John Wayne re-team for their best and most famous western. Wayne plays returning Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards, who comes to the Texas ranch of his brother on hopes of settling down to a new life. Unfortunately, these plans are cruelly thwarted when the ranch(filled with the women and children) is raided by ruthless and renegade Indian chief Scar, who attacks and massacres the family, except for little Debbie Edwards(Natalie Wood) Ethan, enraged and distraught by this raid, vows to track down and kill the tribe, and rescue his niece, with the help from his nephew Martin(played by Jeffrey Hunter). This search takes several years of their lives, across the country and through all kinds of weather and obstacles, until one day they finally locate Debbie, who is now assimilated into the tribe Ethan hates, and he may not be able to spare her...

Gorgeously filmed on location in Ford's beloved Monument Valley, with an intelligent and ambitious script and a superlative performance by Wayne, as a driven and vengeful man who is not always likable, but is still righteous and fascinating. Film does ramble a bit, and the outcome is not really in doubt, but excellent film is still worth watching, with an astonishing closing scene.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,750,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

C.V. Whitney Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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