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The Searchers (1956)

Director: John Ford Cinematographer: Winton C. Hoch

After a break from the genre which had lasted six years, John Ford returned to the western with what many consider to be his masterpiece. The Searchers is Ford’s most psychological film and stars John Wayne, eliciting a monumental performance, as Ethan Edwards, a bitter middle-aged Civil War veteran, who spends seven years obsessively roaming the West to find his niece, who was abducted by Comanches, with Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), his adoptive nephew. Achingly poignant, it’s a film where Ford shows off his great skill for humanising the epic and finds a perfection in his measured and assured shooting style and his command of landscape as realised in his extraordinary vistas of his beloved Monument Valley. While reaction was a little muted on release, The Searchers has gone on to be acclaimed as Ford’s most important and influential film.

Buy or Rent (watch online)
Searchers / Wild Bunch / How the West Was Won (Triple-Feature) [Blu-ray]
Cowboys, The / Green Berets, The / Searchers, The (BD) (3FE) [Blu-ray]
The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend (Paperback)
4 Film Favorites: John Wayne (The Searchers, The Shootist, El Dorado, The Sons of Katie Elder) DVD
Western Gunfighters Collection: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral / Shane / WIld Bunch / Searchers (DVD)



  • John Wayne as Ethan Edwards
  • Jeffrey Hunter as Martin Pawley
  • Vera Miles as Laurie Jorgensen
  • Ward Bond as Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnson Clayton
  • Natalie Wood as Debbie Edwards (older)
  • John Qualen as Lars Jorgensen
  • Olive Carey as Mrs. Jorgensen
  • Henry Brandon as Chief Cicatriz (Scar)
  • Ken Curtis as Charlie McCorry
  • Harry Carey, Jr. as Brad Jorgensen
  • Antonio Moreno as Emilio Gabriel Fernández y Figueroa
  • Hank Worden as Mose Harper
  • Beulah Archuletta as Wild Goose Flying in the Night Sky (Look)
  • Walter Coy as Aaron Edwards
  • Dorothy Jordan as Martha Edwards
  • Pippa Scott as Lucy Edwards
  • Lana Wood as Debbie Edwards (young)
  • Robert Lyden as Ben Edwards (uncredited)
  • Patrick Wayne as Lt. Greenhill
  • Peter Mamakos as Jerem Futterman (uncredited)
  • William Steele as Nesby, wounded posse member (uncredited)
  • uncredited: Ruth Clifford, Mae Marsh, Jack Pennick, Chief Thundercloud

Directed by John Ford
Produced by C.V. Whitney Pictures
Screenplay by Frank S. Nugent
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Winton C. Hoch
Edited by Jack Murray
Running time 119 minutes
Country United States
Language English

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