Red River (1948) - Rotten Tomatoes

Red River (1948)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

An intrepid reporter unearths the terrifying truth about a reclusive Kentucky family who has a gruesome way of dealing with unannounced guests. The weather is just right for camping, but selecting the right spot can mean the difference between life and death. When the tents go up on the edge of Roland Thatcher's property, the righteous family man prepares to defend his family. Before long, the gorgeous green hills that surround Thatcher's home are awash in a sea of blood and gore. For years Thatcher has managed to keep his family hidden away from the world, but when a reporter shows up on a mission to probe deeper, there's nothing that can suppress the awful truth from coming out. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Action & Adventure
Directed By: , ,
Written By: Jacob Ennis, Borden Chase, Charles Schnee
On DVD: May 15, 2001
MGM Home Entertainment


John Wayne
as Tom Dunson
Montgomery Clift
as Matthew Garth
Joanne Dru
as Tess Millay
John Ireland
as Cherry Valance
Harry Carey
as Mr. Millville
Harry Carey Jr.
as Dan Latimer
Paul Fix
as Teeler Yacy
Mickey Kuhn
as Matt as a Boy
Ivan Parry
as Bunk Kenneally
Noah Beery Jr.
as Buster McGee
Ray Hyke
as Walt Jergens
Dan White
as Laredo
Bill Self
as Wounded Wrangler
Paul Fierro
as Fernandez
William Self
as Wounded Wrangler
Hal Taliaferro
as Old Leather
Tom Tyler
as A Quitter
Shelley Winters
as Dance-Hall Girl
Lee Phelps
as Gambler
George Lloyd
as Gambler
Wally Wales
as Old Leather
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Red River

Critic Reviews for Red River

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (4)

The staging of physical conflict is deadly, equalling anything yet seen on the screen.

Full Review… | May 13, 2008
Top Critic

Immaculately shot by Russell Harlan, perfectly performed by a host of Hawks regulars, and shot through with dark comedy, it's probably the finest Western of the '40s.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Even despite a big let-down, which fortunately comes near the end, it stands sixteen hands above the level of routine horse opera these days. So strap on your trusty six-shooters and race to the wind-swept Capitol, you lovers of good old Western fiction.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It's a sign of the movie's complexity that John Wayne, often typecast, is given a tortured, conflicted character to play.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Wayne is an offbeat presence in River. His longish hair and loose gait - the latter usually indicating a relaxed sense of power - now imply a man out of his place, and a kind of restlessness.

Full Review… | September 20, 2014
Film International

Just when loyalty seems to be an entirely perverse and oppressive force in this world of might makes right, the film (shows) there are limits decent men won't cross.

Full Review… | August 3, 2014
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Red River


Supreme Western

John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. That's a whole lotta beef, partner!

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


There's not much of a story here: cowboys drive a herd of cattle from the Rio Grande to Abilene, so the characters and their motivations become nearly the whole magilla, the reason to watch this. Now while the whole cast does pretty okay with the material (particularly Walter Brennan as the sidekick) its Wayne that carries this motion picture as a man gone bad because one stupid moment of pride costs the woman he loves her life. The rest of the picture is how everyone he knows tries to deal with him seen through that tragedy. Years later George Lucas will try to assign his chief claim to fame (Darth Vader) a similar rationale for evil but, believe you me, its done a 100 times better here. And good guy Wayne's take on twisted is only a warm-up for what comes later in John Ford's The Searchers.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

There can be no denying this film must have been a staggeringly expensive production, and a ton of hard work to put together. But jeez, did people in 1948 have a tremendous tolerance for what would certainly be instantly labeled "boredom" in our ADHD empire of today. Slow and conventional, Red River is saved mostly by John Wayne's pathos-filled performance and the authenticity of its craft.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

Red River Quotes

– Submitted by Mike G (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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