7.9/10
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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)
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Popularity
518 ( 2,489)
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 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:

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:

The Searchers 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

The eccentric character of Mose Harper, played by Hank Worden, is loosely based on an actual historical personage called Mad Mose, a legendary half-crazy Indian fighter of the American southwest with a fondness for rocking chairs. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie when Captain Clayton is trying to recruit Ethan and his brother, John Wayne puts on his gun belt and in the next shot buckles it again. 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 1941 (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wearing of the Green
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish tune
[Heard in score at the beginning of the film after the first instance of Lorena]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

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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