Bend of the River (1952) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bend of the River (1952)

Bend of the River




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Another of the collaborations between actor James Stewart and director Anthony Mann, Bend of the River casts Stewart as a former outlaw, now working as trail guide for a group of Oregon-bound farmers. He is aided in this endeavor by Arthur Kennedy, a far-from-reformed horse thief. Upon arriving in Portland, Stewart gets in the middle of a scam operated by trader Howard Petrie, who has reneged on his promise to ship goods to the settlers. Unable to take action through legal channels, Stewart and farmer Jay C. Flippen steal the provision and scurry back to the settlement by boat. On their return, they discover that Kennedy has sold out to the crooked Petrie and intends to reclaim the supplies, taking Flippen and his daughter Julie Adams as hostages to ensure safe passage. It's up to Stewart to turn the tables on his former friend and save the day. As in the other Stewart-Mann productions, Jimmy breaks away from his usual easygoing screen persona to play a tough, self-serving rugged individual, whose true motives and loyalties remain in doubt until the very end of the film. Bend of the River was adapted by Borden Chase from Bill Gulick's novel Bend of the Snake. Watch for Stepin Fetchit, Rock Hudson, Royal Dano, and Frances Bavier in minor roles.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: William Gulick, Borden Chase
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 6, 2003


James Stewart
as Glyn McLyntock
Julie Adams
as Laura Baile
Arthur Kennedy
as Emerson Cole
Rock Hudson
as Trey Wilson
Jay C. Flippen
as Jeremy Baile
Chubby Johnson
as Cap'n Mello
Howard Petrie
as Tom Hendricks
Frances Bavier
as Mrs. Prentiss
Royal Dano
as Long Tom
Frank Ferguson
as Don Grundy
Philo McCullough
as Prospector
Lillian Randolph
as Aunt Tildy
George Taylor
as Prospector
Britt Wood
as Roustabout
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bend of the River

Critic Reviews for Bend of the River

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's like Stewart was pouring every negative emotion he felt over the past ten years into one moment.

Full Review… | July 5, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Against Mann's splendors, as always, lie the elusiveness of civilization, the flux of alliances, and the purgative wrestling of warriors

Full Review… | April 6, 2010

Audience Reviews for Bend of the River

Furious! One great western. Apparently, the road to redemption involves kicking all kinds of ass.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

one of the greatest of the stewart/mann westerns. arthur kennedy is really great here as a slippery outlaw with a twinkle in his eye

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


The second and most visually breathtaking of the Anthony Mann/James Stewart westerns. In this one, Jimmy plays a former Missouri border raider guiding a wagon train of intrepid farmers up to Oregon, where he hopes to bury his past and start a new life as a rancher. Depicting the settlers' journey as the kind of long, hard slog usually reserved for a Werner Herzog movie, it is astonishing how much action and adventure Mann manages to cram into these 90 minutes. The core of the movie, however, is the uneasy but mutually respectful friendship between Stewart and Arthur Kennedy, a fellow border raider Jimmy rescues from a lynch mob.

The script cleverly uses Kennedy, who is much less eager to reform than Stewart, to illustrate the kind of a man Jimmy must once have been, and the crueller side of his nature he is desperately fighting to suppress. The only real weakness here is Rock Hudson's character, a callow professional gambler standing at a crossroads between a virtuous or a wicked path in life (Stewart's or Kennedy's). I can see why he's in the picture but he's not really given anything to do, and you'll notice that Hudson is always conveniently out of the way whenever Stewart and Kennedy butt heads, presumably to defer his taking of a side for as long as possible.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

Bend of the River Quotes

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