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Stagecoach (1939)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 10/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 13,805

My Rating

Movie Info

Although there were Westerns before it, Stagecoach quickly became a template for all movie Westerns to come. Director John Ford combined action, drama, humor, and a set of well-drawn characters in the story of a stagecoach set to leave Tonto, New Mexico for a distant settlement in Lordsburg, with a diverse set of passengers on board. Dallas (Claire Trevor) is a woman with a scandalous past who has been driven out of town by the high-minded ladies of the community. Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt) is

Oct 30, 1997

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (0) | DVD (11)

Its virtues remain intact.

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Directorially, production is John Ford in peak form, sustaining interest and suspense throughout, and presenting exceptional characterizations. Picture is a display of photographic grandeur.

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Seen today, Stagecoach may not seem very original. That's because it influenced countless later movies in which a mixed bag of characters are thrown together by chance and forced to survive an ordeal.

November 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Impossible to overstate the influence of Ford's magnificent film, generally considered to be the first modern Western.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

John Ford has swept aside ten years of artifice and talkie compromise and has made a motion picture that sings a song of camera.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Modern movies began here.

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

With this, Ford transformed the western from fading B-movie filler into genuine adult fare.

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

[VIDEO] Orson Welles famously said he watched "Stagecoach" 40 times before he made "Citizen Kane." It's easy to see why.

November 21, 2011 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

One of the best early westerns ever made.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Classic John Wayne Western masterpiece promotes tolerance.

January 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Stagecoach is not just one of the greatest and most influential Westerns ever made; it's also a template for the ensemble film.

June 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

...a thoughtful ensemble examination of grace (and lack of grace) under stress.

June 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

John Ford's classic western is a landmark of the genre for so many reasons: mature, classically constructed and superbly directed, it made a star of John Wayne...

May 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

Criterion Collection's two-disc set... [is] a small film-school education, through the copious supplementary materials, on how the film broke new ground, why it remains so important today...

May 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

A particularly special entry in Ford's already lengthy career... his first absolutely perfect movie.

March 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Brilliantly filmed Western.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

One of the best Westerns ever made, Ford's Stagecoach is a very stylized work, shot in black-and-white and influenced by German Expressionism. Sharply written by Dudley Nichols, it features strong characterizations well-played by the entire ensemble.

February 23, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Rustic classic John Ford film, Duke's first big one.

October 26, 2004

After 10 years, John Wayne finally arrives

September 26, 2004
Tolucan Times

The first great Western... Instead of rote good-guy / bad-guy conflict, Stagecoach emphasized characterization, social commentary, and moral drama.

June 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

A true classic. Despite most of the characters being archtypes, Ford has created a Western setting in which we get involved in the lives of these people; Wayne is sincere in his first major role, and Carradine almost steals the show as the gambler. Claire

May 1, 2004
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Audience Reviews for Stagecoach

How riveting it is to get immersed in this classic influential Western that is not only entertaining and exciting but above all a sincere story that always rings true with its unforgettable gallery of three-dimensional characters who grow on us to make us really care for them.
February 17, 2014
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

A stagecoach containing a disparate assortment of characters comes under Indian attack. John Ford revolutionized the genre with this beautifully crafted western and John Wayne was catapulted to stardom for his performance as the vengeance seeking gunfighter caught up in defending a group of strangers. But for me, the film is all about Thomas Mitchell as his preferred typecast of intellectual drunkard although it's one of many wonderful performances as the faultless cast represent a hugely likeable bunch and offer Ford an opportunity to highlight social prejudices. The message is to never judge a book by its cover as outlaws can be honourable, "fallen women" can be thoughtful and considerate, drunks can be courageous and respected gentlemen can be crooks. Also featuring some ground breaking stuntwork, this story has been remade many times and its influence can be seen in everything from the work of Akira Kurosawa to The Breakfast Club and it still stands up as one of the very best of the genre.
October 29, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

I realize that my review is going to be considered controversial, but listen, this is all just my opinion.

I do love westerns. They are an American institution, and, by and large, have proven to be perhaps the only genre films that are truly uniquely American.

Having said that, this film is overrated. Yes, it wasn't the first western, but it pretty much defined the genre and set the standard for basically every film to follow for the new few decades until revisionism hit starting in the late 60s. This put both John Ford and John Wayne on the map, making icons and legends out of them, but c'mon, if you strip away all of the historical, culutral, and aesthetic significances, and ignore the film's influence and legacy, it's really not all that special or interesting.

Don't get me wrong, it's good, but it really hasn't held up that well. Perhaps I'd feel a lot differently had this been the first western I ever saw, but since it is so old, and things have changed so much since then, I can't help but kinda take this for granted by default.

The plot follows nine travelers thrust together on the titular vehicle as they make their way across the west through the dangerous Apache Territory, and how they must all band together if they want to survive. Okay, so fine, the plot's not much, but the performances do slightly make up for it, and yeah, it looks decent, and the music is really good, and the stunts and action are okay, but I can't let myself get swept up in everything and give this one a high rating by default. I'll admit that I've done that sort of thing in the past, and maybe I need to be more honest and make some reconsiderations, but for now, with this one, I'm standing my ground and saying that yes, while this is a landmark film, it's not a masterpiece when taken solely on its own terms.
November 3, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A motley group of people travel through dangerous "Indian country" (isn't it all supposed to be Indian country?).
As I watched this film, I found myself wondering the characters were cliches in 1939 because then I might have found something fresh and original about John Ford's film. But in 2011, I found everything predictable with the exception of the doctor's eventual heroism.
Overall, I don't feel qualified to give an educated opinion on this film; I'm trying to like Westerns, but this film feels like a racist (Natives are, of course, depicted as wild, savage, malevolent forces) cliche. I can't be the only one who thinks that, but judging from the critics' and Super Reviewers' raves, I must be.
November 27, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Stagecoach (Höllenfahrt nach Santa Fe) (DE)
  • Stagecoach (1939) (CA)
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