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Comments 1 - 15 of 17

ShotMarvinInTheFace's avatar


Dated and silly. John Wayne's character is very unlikable. He is not a flawed character a la Travis Bickle, he is just a douche. And why did Debbie suddenly changed her mind and wanted to go back with Ethan and Martin?

Great cinematoraphy and composition. Poor acting, plot, and dialogue.. Did not really like this one
7 years 3 months ago
Sobchak's avatar


That'll be the day
12 years 7 months ago
screwball27's avatar


I don't understand where this film gets it's reputation from. I'm sure there's a lot going on beneath the surface that i'm not aware of, but the script and performances were dissappointng. I prefer other John Ford pictures to this one.
9 years 11 months ago
Paravail's avatar


Well, that was quite bad. I knew going in the movie would be racist. The Comanches are portrayed as mindless savages, and the white characters continuously talk about how terrible the Comanche are, despite the fact that we rarely see it.
But whatever, it was a product of its time. What really bothered me was that nothing made sense. The main characters are all psychotic assholes who overreact to everything. There isn't a single moment of love or humanity anywhere in this movie-everyone is just yelling at each other all the time. On top of that, the editing is weird and and choppy, as is the pacing. Things just happen all of a sudden for no reason whatsoever. One second we're watching two guy fight each other over the female lead, the next second some comedy-sidekick character we've never seen before shows up and says the villain everyone's been looking for for five years just so happens to be a few miles away. The cinematography was nice, but that's about it. I saw this because I heard it was possibly the best of all the classic westerns. After watching it I'm like "really?" Both High Noon and the Man Who Shot Liberty Valence were much, much better. Those movies had sympathetic characters whose actions made sense. This was all just violence and anger and pretty pictures. Anyone who saw this when they were young and was blown away by the visuals might want to revisit this one. Lots of old movies hold up, but The Searchers is not one of them.
6 years ago
baraka92's avatar


I go back to The Searchers all the time. A few years ago, I watched it with my wife, and I will admit that it gave me pause. Many people have problems with Ford's Irish humor, which is almost always alcohol-related. For some, the frontier-comedy scenes with Ken Curtis are tough to take, but again, I don't think they mar the film; these interludes are as much a part of the director's universe as Shakespeare's clowns are a part of his. For me, the problem was with the scenes involving a plump Comanche woman (Beulah Archuletta) that the Hunter character inadvertently takes as a wife. There is some low comedy in these scenes: Hunter kicks her down a hill, and Max Steiner's score amplifies the moment with a comic flourish. Then the tone shifts dramatically, and Wayne and Hunter both become ruthless and bullying, scaring her away. Later, they find her body in a Comanche camp that has been wiped out by American soldiers, and you can feel their sense of loss. All the same, this passage seemed unnecessarily cruel to me. But the last time I saw The Searchers, the picture seemed even greater than ever, and it's not that the scene had stopped troubling me; in fact, it troubled me on an even deeper level. In truly great films -- the ones that people need to make, the ones that start speaking through them, the ones that keep moving into territory that is more and more unfathomable and uncomfortable -- nothing's ever simple or neatly resolved. You're left with a mystery. In this case, the mystery of a man who spends 10 years of his life searching for someone, realizes his goal, brings her back and then walks away. Only an artist as great as John Ford would dare to end a film on such a note. In its final moment, The Searchers suddenly becomes a ghost story. Ethan's sense of purpose has been fulfilled, and like the man whose eyes he's shot out, he's destined to wander forever between the winds.

..............................................................................................................................................Martin Scorsese
2 years 8 months ago
mussels's avatar


This is one of the only "great" movies whose place in various Top 250 lists I question. There are many well-regarded movies which I don't personally care for while still acknowledging the greatness of the films themselves: their story, acting, production, direction, cinematography, etc.

But The Searchers?

The overall story is indeed pretty epic, and it has that going for it, but the details of the story just didn't work. The movie does little to convince me why John Wayne and his sidekick would spend so many . . . not months . . . but YEARS searching for the lost girl. After each "two years later" kind of jump in the story, I kept asking "why?!?"

Also, the rampant sexism and racism may have been acceptable in 1953, and I can almost always forgive it in other classic movies because those aspects reflected the values at the time the films were made, but I feel like The Searchers takes it one step too far by twisting a lot of the sexist and racist comments and actions into slapstick humour attempts. Okay, so in 1953 many Americans felt that a Comanche woman is a lower life form than a white man -- I get that -- and so the characters are going to treat her in a condescending way. But depicting white men kicking a Comanche woman down a hill while laughing at the situation (and judging by the sound effects and music at that time, expecting me to laugh at it as well) was just shameful, by any standards. It would be as if a sad trombone sound played every time a slave was whipped in a pre-civil war movie. Sure, show it like it is, but don't make a joke out of it. I just can't forgive it. Other attempts at humour in the movie were less offensive, but still tacky, in my opinion.

And lastly, Monument Valley, Utah, is far too iconic to pass as Texas; it would be like shooting a "New York" movie right next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It may look nice, but it just doesn't fit.

By all accounts, this isn't a "bad" movie, but I wonder how much of its Top 250 status is due to nostalgia (it's John Wayne's biggest movie!!!) as opposed to true critical opinion.
11 years ago
Dieguito's avatar


Great cinematography, a good western
12 years ago
peterskb45's avatar


Beautifully shot, but all over the place. Earned a "dislike" from me.
12 years 1 month ago
boulderman's avatar


Watched this got a second time after ten year gap, still didn't find it to be brilliant, too tongue in cheek.
11 years 5 months ago
ReVision's avatar


I usually like westerns, but this one didn't really do it for me. Didn't really get drawn into the story and the acting was nothing special.
8 years 1 month ago
mrmute's avatar


Absolutely beautiful cinematography, every shot is a masterpiece, but the film (like many American made westerns of the time) is overacted and dated. But it's not hurt too bad by these things, it just may be a little awkward to a modern audience.
11 years 2 months ago
TheMajor's avatar


Mediocre plot, some great scenes, visually very strong.
12 years 2 months ago
roobin_22's avatar


Liked this one a lot.. Hope to see it once back at the top250
12 years 8 months ago
mi-16evil's avatar


My whole life growing up I was told that The Searchers was a masterpiece and now I can finally confirm that it is! From the brilliant cinematography to the incredible story of the pointlessness of obsession, this is one for the ages.

I guess my only real problem with it is the very hammy acting that was really popular back in the 40s and 50s. Seriously, if John Wayne gives the most subtle performance in a film, you know you have problems.
11 years 9 months ago
Brantastic16's avatar


Another "cowboys & Indians" western, but this one's actually good. The cinematography, like others have mentioned, was stunning. However, I don't feel this is quite the masterpiece the critics say it is. I mean, when looking at its position on They Shoot Pictures, AFI 100 Movies, and Cahiers du Cinema, I'm a little stumped. There's no denying this is a great film, but I don't think it quite deserves THAT much acclaim.
11 years 10 months ago

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