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      Northwest Passage

      Released Feb 23, 1940 2h 6m Adventure List
      100% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 67% Audience Score 500+ Ratings An epic Western, about Major Robert Rogers, the tough frontiersman who led a grueling expedition to Canada in 1759 to punish a fearsome Indian tribe and seek a northwest passage to the Pacific. Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner joined the Rangers at the Indian village, but when they head on to Fort Wentworth, they find the place deserted. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (6) Critics Reviews
      Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews A rousing adventure story of epic proportions. Rated: A- May 11, 2010 Full Review Steve Crum Surprisingly gritty, realistic MGM version of early pioneers led by Spencer Tracy's Rogers. Rated: 5/5 Feb 24, 2008 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 3/5 Jul 2, 2005 Full Review Jeremy Heilman Rated: 4/4 Feb 13, 2005 Full Review Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal Rated: 4/5 Aug 27, 2004 Full Review TV Guide Rated: 5/5 Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (34) audience reviews
      j f Underwhelming, some of worst editing I've seen. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/25/24 Full Review Gregory F About halfway through this movie I realized it's less about the story, aka the plot, and more about the particulars of good leadership; akin to Peck's 12 O'clock High. It's odd that I've not read where anyone else has had that same impression, though I admit I've not read all the viewers reviews. But the pro critics don't seem to get it either! If one took a business or military course on leadership as late as 1998, the instructor might show this movie at the end on the day of graduation. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 09/01/23 Full Review Ola G In 1759, Langdon Towne (Robert Young), son of a ropemaker and ship rigger, returns to Portsmouth, New Hampshire after his expulsion from Harvard University. Though disappointed, his family greets him with love, as does Elizabeth Browne (Ruth Hussey). Elizabeth's father (Louis Hector), a noted clergyman, is less welcoming and denigrates Langdon's aspirations to become a painter. At the local tavern with friend Sam Livermore (Lester Matthews), Langdon disparages Wiseman Clagett (Montagu Love), the king's attorney and the Native American agent Sir William Johnson, unaware that Clagett is in the next room with another official. Facing arrest, Langdon fights the two men with the help of "Hunk" Marriner (Walter Brennan), a local woodsman and both escape into the countryside. Fleeing westward, Langdon and Marriner stop in a backwoods tavern, where they help a man in a green uniform. After a night of drinking "Flip" - similar to hot buttered rum - the two men wake up at Fort Crown Point, where they learn the man they met is Major Robert Rogers (Spencer Tracy), commander of Rogers' Rangers. In need of Langdon's map-making skills, Rogers recruits the two men for his latest expedition to destroy the hostile Abenakis tribe and their town of St. Francis far to the north. Rogers' force rows north in whale boats on Lake Champlain by night, evading French patrols, but several soldiers are injured in a confrontation with Mohawk scouts. Rogers sends not only the wounded back to Crown Point, but also the disloyal Mohawks provided by Sir William Johnson (Frederick Worlock) and a number of men who disobeyed orders. Concealing their boats, the depleted force marches through swampland to conceal their movements. Informed by Stockbridge Indian scouts that the French have captured their boats and extra supplies, Rogers revises his plan and sends an injured officer back to Fort Crown Point requesting the British send supplies to old Fort Wentworth, to be met by the returning rangers... This adventure film about Major Robert Rogers and his rangers is a disappointment in my book. 90% of the film is a long transport stretch that adds nothing but boredom, Spencer Tracy´s Robert Rogers is a native american hating sadistic awful leader that don´t care about his men and leaves them in a second if they are injured or struggling with other issues. And his men are equally hateful in their actions. There´s also full on insanity presented in the film as one of Roger´s men carriers a head of a native american in a bag.... And this film was made in 1940. Not really a family friendly film. Yes, the cinematography and the scenes with real lavish environments in Idaho where the film was shot is nice, but as someone commented on IMDB, the film doesn't have enough other qualities to maintain a classic status. "Northwest Passage" is an awful film in many ways to me. I was hoping for a classic adventure film, but got something else. And the transfer of the film to DVD was awful as well. Trivia: "Northwest Passage", also billed as "Northwest Passage (Book 1: Roger's Rangers)" is based on the 1937 historical novel Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts. Roberts' novel is split into two parts, referred to as "Book 1" and "Book 2", and the film is based entirely on Book 1. There was originally discussion about filming a sequel that would cover Book 2, but this did not happen. Ironically, Rogers' quest to find a Northwest Passage through North America, which gave both the novel and the film their title, takes place in Book 2, and is only briefly mentioned in the film. The film wound up as MGM's most expensive film since Ben Hur (1926). The picture was originally slated for an even more lavish budget in an earlier incarnation and was to star Wallace Beery and Tracy but management difficulties between Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer interceded at that time. (via Wikipedia) Rated 3 out of 5 stars 05/09/23 Full Review kevin w With "epic" laced throughout this production, at least in intention, about the "heroic nation-builders struggles with bloodthirsty savages", this is more Hollywood flag-waving propaganda played big, subtlety not even a consideration. The French - Indian Wars of the early United States don't often get the film treatment, making this one a rarity. Spencer Tracy is properly heroic leading his men over-hill-and-dale against the odds, Robert Young represents the everyman perspective, and Walter Brennan leans towards his usual character actor comic relief. The battle sequences two-thirds of the way in make up for a lot. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Appalling. This is in contention for the worst movie ever made. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Audience Member Take 'The Hidden Fortress' and cross it with your basic Cavalry Western and this is the result. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Northwest Passage

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis An epic Western, about Major Robert Rogers, the tough frontiersman who led a grueling expedition to Canada in 1759 to punish a fearsome Indian tribe and seek a northwest passage to the Pacific. Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner joined the Rangers at the Indian village, but when they head on to Fort Wentworth, they find the place deserted.
      King Vidor
      Hunt Stromberg
      Laurence Stallings, Talbot Jennings
      Production Co
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Feb 23, 1940, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Sep 1, 2009
      2h 6m
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