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Fort Apache (1948)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Mar 9, 1948 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 7,742

My Rating

Movie Info

The soldiers at Fort Apache may disagree with the tactics of their glory-seeking new commander. But to a man, they're duty-bound to obey - even when it means almost certain disaster. John Wayne, Henry Fonda and many familiar supporting players from master director John Ford's "stock company" saddle up for the first film in the director's famed cavalry trilogy (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande are the others). Roughhouse camaraderie, sentimental vignettes of frontier life, massive action


Western, Classics

Frank S. Nugent

Aug 15, 2006

Turner Home Entertainment

Watch It Now



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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (0) | DVD (7)

It's an odd film, consisting more of sidetracks than of an actual story, but it showed a new restlessness in Ford.

February 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Fascinating Western loaded with political and social commentary.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

Inspired by the massacre of General Custer's Cavalry, John Ford's superb elegiac Western contrasts legal-rational authority (Henry Fonda) with charismatic type of authority (John Wayne) to an advantage.

March 10, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

One of John Ford's cavalry trilogy, and a near classic on its own. Wayne and Fonda are fine.

March 8, 2008

demonstrates that westerns weren't always one-sided and jingoistic.

March 12, 2006 Full Review Source:

Henry Fonda's stubborness reminds me of our occupant in the White House with his Iraq policy.

August 29, 2005
Houston Community Newspapers

This one is a reworking of the Custer myth, in a film that over sentimentalizes Army life and chivalry.

August 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Fort Apache

The greatest of the "Cavalry" trilogy. Packed with great social commentary and amazing performances by Fonda, Wayne and Ward Bond. Fonda's final scene is one of the most powerful I've seen.
October 27, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

The first part in John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy and it's a complete epic. It's hard to find any mistakes, potholes or dull spots; probably because they don't exist. This is a wonderful story with great characters, messages, and overall outlook concerning the west. Henry Fonda went against his usual personality and plays quite a flawed man, sick with a case of too much pride. John Wayne plays a supporting role in this, but his character is so important to the plot that he completely overshadows everyone else. He might have a fraction of some of the others lines, but he's there when it means something.
September 1, 2010

Super Reviewer

I know that many consider Red River or The Searchers to be Wayne's greatest cowboy movies, but for me, you can't get better than Fort Apache. It is the first of John Ford and John Wayne's cavalry trilogy and is the best of the lot.

I think the most interesting thing about the film is its rather sympathetic view of the American Indians--they were shown as being decent and 3-dimensional and Wayne repeatedly stressed the importance of our country keeping its word of honor to them as well. In fact, it was very funny seeing Wayne portraying the voice of reason while Henry Fonda was more of a martinet and could have cared less about honor and truth.

Along the way, these two great actors are supported by old familiars like Victor McLaglen and Ward Bond, as well as Shirley Temple and her then husband, John Agar. Despite criticism leveled towards Agar by the media over the years (and to a lesser extent, to the adult Temple), I think they did just fine in their roles and made a positive contribution to the movie.

And finally, the action and cinematography is tops. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful black and white film or one where so much care and effort was given to make a great film.
January 10, 2009

Super Reviewer

One of John Ford's classic tales of the US cavalry, Fort Apache flies in the face of the established stereotypical western and portrays Cochise as an intelligent and honourable man acting for the good of his people. Henry Fonda who we are far more used to playing heroic, sympathetic roles is the cavalry officer ordered to bring him back to the reservation whose arrogance and lack of understanding of or respect for the Apache leads to disaster. For the first half of the film, I thought "Fort Squaredance" would be a far more appropriate name as it is a full hour before an Apache is to be seen. These horse soldiers seem to spend much more time drinking and dancing than riding and fighting! The opening of the film is typical of Ford's dewy eyed romanticism of the old west featuring the usual mix of likable, hard drinking rabble-rousing soldiers, slapstick comedy and naive romanticism set to epic western landscapes. Things get far more interesting as the Indian nation reveals itself and Ford pulls no punches showing the folly of the US government's handling of the situation. John Wayne was always best when working with Ford and this is one of his best roles and Fonda's casting against type works really well. It's a shame the build up is so long winded because when it finally gets going it's brilliant. If you can stomach an hour of old fashioned romantic comedy, the climax is well worth the effort.
November 8, 2008
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Lt. Col. Owen Thursday: [steps on scale] What is this scale used for?
    2. Capt. Kirby York: Weigh government beef, sir.
    3. Lt. Col. Owen Thursday: [adjusts scale] Seems I've gained seventy pounds since I've been in Arizona.
    – Submitted by Francis L (2 years ago)
    1. Sgt. Beaufort: [the four soldiers who've come to escort Lt. O'Rourke to the fort have been invited to have a drink by Col. Thursday] Four bottles of cool beer, Ma.
    2. Sgt. Festus Mulcahy: And I'll have the same... with a whiskey chaser.
    – Submitted by Francis L (2 years ago)
    1. Sgt. Festus Mulcahy: [after Co. Thursday has told the soldiers to destroy the contraband 'whiskey'] 'Destroy it,' he says. Well, boys, we've a man's work ahead of us this day.
    – Submitted by Francis L (2 years ago)
    1. Lt. Col. Owen Thursday: This Lt. O'Rourke - are you by chance related?
    2. Sgt. Major O'Rourke: Not by chance, sir, by blood. He's my son.
    3. Lt. Col. Owen Thursday: I see. How did he happen to get into West Point?
    4. Sgt. Major O'Rourke: It happened by presidential appointment, sir
    5. Lt. Col. Owen Thursday: Are you a former officer, O'Rourke?
    6. Sgt. Major O'Rourke: During the war, I was a major in the 69th New York regiment... The Irish Brigade, sir.
    7. Lt. Col. Owen Thursday: Still, it's been my impression that presidential appointments were restricted to sons of holders of the Medal of Honor.
    8. Sgt. Major O'Rourke: That is my impression, too, sir. Will that be all, sir?
    – Submitted by Francis L (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Bis zum letzten Mann (DE)
  • Massacre de Fort Apache (FR)
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