Working together for the 12th time, John Wayne and director John Ford forged The Searchers into an indelible image of the frontier and the men and women who challenged it. Wayne plays ex-Confederate soldier Ethan Edwards, ... more »a believer more in bullets than in words. He's seeking his niece, captured by Comanches who massacred his family. He won't surrender to hunger, thirst, the elements or loneliness. And in his obsessive, five-year quest, Ethan encounters something he didn't expect to find: his own humanity.« less
Wayne's Finest Performance, in Ford Masterpiece...
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 05/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even if you've never seen John Ford's THE SEARCHERS, you will have, undoubtedly, seen a film that owes it's 'style' to the film. DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES, UNFORGIVEN, JEREMIAH JOHNSON, and OPEN RANGE are just a few westerns that have 'borrowed' from it, but THE SEARCHERS' impact transcends the genre, itself; STAR WARS, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE LAST SAMURAI, even THE LORD OF THE RINGS have elements that can be traced back to Ford's 1956 'intimate' epic. When you add the fact that THE SEARCHERS also contains John Wayne's greatest performance to the film's merits, it becomes easy to see why it is on the short list of the greatest motion pictures ever made.The plot is deceptively simple; after a Comanche raiding party massacres a family, taking the youngest daughter prisoner, her uncle, Ethan Edwards (Wayne), and adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), begin a long quest to try and rescue her. Over the course of years, a rich tapestry of characters and events unfold, as the nature of the pair's motives are revealed, and bigoted, bitter Edwards emerges as a twisted man bent on killing the 'tainted' white girl. Only Pawley's love of his 'sister' and determination to protect her stands in his way, making the film's climax, and Wayne's portrayal of Edwards, an unforgettable experience.With all of Ford's unique 'touches' clearly in evidence (the doorways 'framing' the film's opening and conclusion, with a cave opening serving the same function at the film's climax; the extensive use of Monument Valley; and the nearly lurid palette of color highlighting key moments) and his reliance on his 'stock' company of players (Wayne, Ward Bond, John Qualen, Olive Carey, Harry Carey, Jr, Hank Worden, and Ken Curtis), the film marks the emergence of the 'mature' Ford, no longer deifying the innocence of the era, but dealing with it in human terms, where 'white men' were as capable of savagery as Indians, frequently with less justification.Featuring 18-year old Natalie Wood in one of her first 'adult' roles, the sparkling Vera Miles as Pawley's love interest, Wayne's son Patrick in comic relief, and the harmonies of the Sons of the Pioneers accenting Max Steiner's rich score, THE SEARCHERS is a timeless movie experience that becomes richer with each viewing.It is truly a masterpiece!"
Unquestionably John Wayne's Best Film
James Koenig | Minnesota | 07/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On this site there are over 100 fan-reviews of this movie, and many tell the plot in great detail, therefore, my reivew will be short and sweet. With the great John Ford directing, John Wayne starring, and a superb story line - all this adds up to a 5-star movie if there ever was one! You cannot go wrong buying this DVD - it delivers!
Now considered possibly the greatest weatern movie of all-time, "The Searchers" was panned by the critics of its day for being just another "ho-hum" John Wayne western. It took years, but modern critics and viewers now recognize it as an epic of western filmmaking that perhaps will never be topped. If I had to choose one movie that represented the best of the west, it is undoubtedly "The Searchers".
John Wayne gives his most intense acting performance as the dark and vengeful Ethan Edwards, who vows to kill the Commanche raiders that murdered his beloved sister-in-law, brother, and took captive two of their daughters. Wayne easily carries the film on his broad brooding shoulders, pursuing the Indians for over 5 years through summer and winter, ever relentless to see their chief, "Scar", dead, and his captive nieces rescued.
Director John Ford is at the height of his creative powers in directing this western masterpiece. He weaves so many different themes and levels of interpretation into the film, that one discovers something new with each viewing. It would take a small treatise to bring out all the subtle details.
Succinctly and to the point, "The Searchers" is a film that you will watch again and again, and love it each time a bit more. It is that absolute best in western filmmaking!
Jim Konedog Koenig"
Amazing movie, terrible "remastering"
rasselas | Berkeley, CA | 09/21/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a review of the "Ultimate Collector's Edition," NOT a review of the film itself. If you're considering the purchase of a two-disc special edition, you probably already know that the film is great; you just want to know if this slick package is worth the pricetag.
In short, it's not. And let me be absolutely clear about one thing: I have known and loved this film for years. A few sequences look properly spectacular, but after watching this DVD on two separate (and high-quality) televisions, I'm amazed that all of the low-light scenes have been rendered almost completely dark. Like, too dark to tell what's even *happening*. For instance, the scene where Brad (Harry Carey, Jr.) runs off to his death, the scene where Marty's (Jeffrey Hunter's) "bride" is serving coffee along the river, and even the pre-dawn scenes leading up to the final storming of the Comanche camp, are utterly lost in the dark. By contrast, the bare-bones 1997 DVD release features noticeably richer colors in the daytime scenes and total clarity in the low-light scenes I've just mentioned. Don't waste your money on this special edition; you'll be much happier if you just shell out the $10.99 for the 1997 release."
John Wayne at his Western Best now on WideScreen DVD!
forrie | Nashua, NH United States | 12/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Searchers" (1956) Anamorphic Widescreen DVD version is one of the best classic westerns ever made! Ranked in the American Film Institute's (AFI) top 100 movies of the last 100 years (1998). Having the best Western Director, John Ford partnering up with his favorite cowboy star, John Wayne can only be the beginning of a grand movie. Adding Widescreen Technicolor, the colorful Panoramic Monument Valley - Utah (Ford's favorite western area to film), a fantastic musical score and top supporting cast leads us on one of the best filmed westerns ever!Summary - Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) is returning home to his only Brother & his family. After he and a posse of Texas Rangers (Lead by Ward Bond) were decoyed away by distant marauding Indians. The actual Indian raid was on remaining defenseless families left behind. Ethan's returned to find his Brothers family massacured all but his youngest niece, Debbie (played by Lana (younger)& Natalie Wood (older). His vengence takes him on a 5 year journey to recover her. Wayne is brilliant and proves he is a great actor."The Searchers" is a powerful 2 hour emotional rollercoaster ride. This movie will leave you with more respect of John Wayne's ability to act, Director John Ford's genius to tell a very complex story. Leaving us forever with a Great Western Classic! Enjoy."
The best of Ford
rasselas | 01/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As "The Searchers" approaches the half-century mark, this 1956 film may fail to conect with modern viewers. Indeed, the old fashioned acting styles are jarring and the film's racial themes seem like old business. Nonetheless, when seen in the context of its time and to other films around it, it stands tall.As much as any Ford film, "The Searchers" is a story about a family reunited, a theme to which Ford returned time and again. But in no other Ford film is that theme played out at such a tremendous emotional and spiritual cost.The implication that Debbie is Ethan's daughter and not his niece comes from Ford and not Alan LeMay's original story. By giving us a date--1868--in the opening fade, then belaboring the exposition of Debbie's age, Ethan's long absence, the barely suppressed tenderness Ethan displays toward Martha and his guilty uneasiness with his brother, it is not hard to do the math. Debbie is Ethan's daughter.As the theme of family plays out, there is repeated discussion about what constitutes blood kin, especially regarding Marty, who was once "saved" by Ethan, just as Ethan will "save" Debbie. Ethan discounts Marty's entire existence because Marty is one-eighth Cherokee. Conversely, Ethan endures an epic search for Debbie because she is not only kin and perhaps his last remaining relative, but in fact his daughter. The thought both motivates and crazes Ethan. Whether Ford decided to hide this dramatic construct because 1950's morality would have disapproved the overt depiction of an illegitimate child (especially in a horse opera!) or because the idea simply served to motivate Ford through the movie is unimportant.What is as important to this film as the scenery in Monument Valley or the chaotic corniness of a pre-massacre breakfast at the Edwards place or a rough and tumble wedding sequence is that Ford could submerge information and still make it resonate through every frame of the film.Perhaps the agonized Ethan Edwards speaks for Ford when he says, "What do you want me to do? Draw you a picture?" Ford is as important for what he doesn't show us as for what he does."