There's much to say about it; the simplest is that it's both the most romantic of Westerns and the greatest American political movie.
There is a purity to the John Ford style. His composition is classical. He arranges his characters within the frame to reflect power dynamics -- or sometimes to suggest a balance is changing.
| Original Score: 4/4
John Ford and the writers have somewhat overplayed their hands. They have taken a disarmingly simple and affecting premise, developed it with craft and skill to a natural point of conclusion, and then have proceeded to run it into the ground.
A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous.
Ford's purest and most sustained expression of the familiar themes of the passing of the Old West, the conflict between the untamed wilderness and the cultivated garden, and the power of myth.
A basically honest, rugged and mature saga has been sapped of a great deal of effect by an obvious, overlong and garrulous anticlimax.
| Original Score: 2/5
Along with The Searchers, it represents John Ford at his most accomplished. And it is one of the best Westerns Hollywood has ever produced.