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The Searchers

Released May 16, 1956 1h 59m Western List
87% Tomatometer 98 Reviews 88% Audience Score 25,000+ Ratings
In this revered Western, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) returns home to Texas after the Civil War. When members of his brother's family are killed or abducted by Comanches, he vows to track down his surviving relatives and bring them home. Eventually, Edwards gets word that his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood) is alive, and, along with her adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), he embarks on a dangerous mission to find her, journeying deep into Comanche territory. Read More Read Less
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The Searchers

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Critics Consensus

The Searchers is an epic John Wayne Western that introduces dark ambivalence to the genre that remains fashionable today.

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Critics Reviews

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Jean Yothers Orlando Sentinel The story is appealing, the action is exciting and the expanse of scenery in VistaVision and Technicolor is truly awe-inspiring. Mar 25, 2024 Full Review Helen Bower Detroit Free Press Ford has achieved an extraordinary effect. There is the sense of time passing, yet the picture never drags. There is continued action, yet the picture conveys in almost leisurely fashion the life of isolated families in the remote early West. Mar 25, 2024 Full Review Jack Moffitt Hollywood Reporter [The Searchers] is undoubtedly one of the greatest Westerns ever made. For sheer scope, guts and beauty I can think of no picture... to compare with it. In it John Wayne delivers a performance that tops his great performance in The High and the Mighty. Mar 25, 2024 Full Review Jay Carmody Washington Star It is in keeping alive this seemingly endless [quest] that Ford's genius asserts Itself. He has landscape to work with, and colored film and a Vista-Vision camera. With these he can achieve miracles and, to the picture's great advantage, he does. Mar 25, 2024 Full Review Francois Truffaut Arts (France) John Ford symbolizes an age of Hollywood, the one when good health prevailed over intelligence, craftiness over sincerity. This age has gone; Elia Kazan's and Nicholas Ray's movies make more money than John Ford's, poetry triumphs over entertainment. Mar 25, 2024 Full Review William R. Weaver Motion Picture Herald (Exhibitors Herald) The Searchers is one of the great ones -- one of the greatest of the great pictures of the American West. Mar 25, 2024 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (1000+) audience reviews
Joseph C one of the most iconic westerns of all time. john fords direction is a accurate depiction of the american west. john wayne is great as uncle ethan and the music by max steiner is superb. a little slow at times but never boring the searchers is a excellent reccomendation to the western genre. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 06/27/24 Full Review John Z This is a truly great Western film by John Ford. Not to be missed! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 04/05/24 Full Review Agustín R The movie is a western beatiful Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/29/24 Full Review Mike P Intense western/actioner from John Ford; stars John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles and Natalie Wood. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/10/24 Full Review Mike P Legendary John Ford Western/Actioner stars John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter; who play desperado vigilante cowboys... In the old west... They're both members of the Edwards family; a large clan of Homesteaders from Texas... And they're on the prowl to find their relative, Natalie Wood, who's been kidnapped by the Comanche Tribe. Most of this plays like a buddy-cop detective story set in the Old West; it's a Starsky and Hutch for the 1800s. Fascinating and enthralling; infused with alot of intensity and darkness...And unexpected humor...And inspite of many cringe moments; the movie is actually pretty morally complex. There's also a great cast; with a young Vera Miles and Jeffrey Hunter in particular leaving a strong impression... I don't know if it's one of the best movies ever made...But it is very good.. Overall: 👍 recommended Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/10/24 Full Review Ciaran T John Wayne being the ultimate badass on a cheif called scar Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/09/24 Full Review Read all reviews
The Searchers

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis In this revered Western, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) returns home to Texas after the Civil War. When members of his brother's family are killed or abducted by Comanches, he vows to track down his surviving relatives and bring them home. Eventually, Edwards gets word that his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood) is alive, and, along with her adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), he embarks on a dangerous mission to find her, journeying deep into Comanche territory.
Director
John Ford
Producer
C.V. Whitney
Screenwriter
Alan Le May, Frank S. Nugent
Distributor
Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Co
Warner Brothers
Genre
Western
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
May 16, 1956, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Oct 24, 2008
Runtime
1h 59m
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