Rio Grande - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rio Grande Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
Though the least impressive of Ford's three "Cavalry" films, this still is a great film.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
The true sequel to Fort Apache in that you get to see what happens to Yorke and the remaining troops. This is a lot more of a relationship based movie than the other two, maybe that's what makes it so powerful. John Wayne's performance is even stronger this time around and he plays such a timeless character. The father/son storyline is such a classic representation, but so well done that it doesn't feel stale. John Ford truly is the greatest pioneer in film-making and took all the risks and leaps that no one else dared to do.
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2009
Director John Ford agreed to make this one in a deal with Republic Pictures to secure financing for his pet project, The Quiet Man. Never one to do things half-ass, Ford secured a rather large budget and a top notch supporting cast for his two stars, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Rio Grande isn't Ford's most popular or most acclaimed film, but it's hard to deny it's prototypical old-west charm.
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2009
As many people know, Rio Grande is the third installation of John Ford's sweeping "Cavalry trilogy*," his paean and dirge for the forging of the West after the Cival War. In each, there is Indian fighting, romance and Monument Valley. Younger officers look forward to winning glory in the Indian Wars while the older, veteran officers who served in the Civil War are tired of fighting and would rather keep the peace instead. And the enlisted men coming from all walks of life, some running from something, others trying to find something, but all taking war and peace as they come. They want to stay alive, but aren't too worried about dying.

Unlike the first two cavalry films, Rio Grande focuses more on the love between an Army officer and his wife, and the pain his life causes her. This pain is made even worse by the fact that their son has chosen to follow his father's way of life, and winds up serving in his father's command. When, as is inevitable, Indians flee their reservation, the family becomes embroiled in war against the Apaches (whom, everyone knows, were the toughest, most ruthless and evil Indian fighters of them all := ).

This is where Ford starts to swerve away from ordinary westerns. While his Indians are fierce and tough, Ford tries to show in all the Cavalry films that they are also honourable and fighting for home and family, not because they are evil. And while Wayne's character must pursue his Indians until they're either captured or dead, he is not without both sympathy and respect, and with the knowledge that it is the white man's treatment of them that is at the heart of the war.

It's more than certain that John Ford has become my favorite director. His ability to make stories with depth, compassion and remarkable truth has caused his films to last. I hope that you will see all of the Cavalry Trilogy, and then seek out all of his other films.

*The other films in the trilogy are Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949).
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2007
although this film had a horribly slow start, it had a terrific ending. this wasnt even a film john ford wanted to make. it was a contractual obligation so that he could make the quiet man. despite this fact the film has become an absolute classic. not quite as good in my mind as its reputation suggests, but a must watch for serious film fans.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2007
Great epic battle with the Apaches in this John Ford classic and John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara are wonderful in their performance as the couple. Believe this is the last entry in director John Ford's celebrated cavalry trilogy (which also includes Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon).
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2007
Wayne's first appearance with Maureen O'Hara
Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2007
Final film in John Ford's classic cavalry trilogy. Typically solid, intelligent and entertaining.
Super Reviewer
March 21, 2009
The final installment of John Ford's cavalry trilogy, is as intelligent and entertaining as its predecessors. The duke reprises his role as Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke, the role he first played in Fort Apache, and is rejoined by Ben Johnson who reprises his role his role as Sgt. Tyree from She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (confusing I know). Along with other familiar actors from the trilogy, screen goddess Maureen O'Hara provides the eye candy on this occasion, in her first of 5 appearances alongside The Duke.
Rio Grande may not be as memorable as the first 2, but it's got all the right ingrediants that make a great western.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2008
I've been trying to watch a lot of John Ford movies lately, he's an awesome director despite some political stupidity. This film is the third in the so called Cavalry trilogy, and I think clearly the worst of the three. This isn't the worst insult, in reality this isn't that bad, just very mediocre. The film takes way to long to get going, there's a lot of set up and it waste a lot of times with gratuitous singing by the soldiers. This isn't a musical but there are a lot of unnecessary scenes with the cavalry members singing as jolly unifying act. By the time the actual story finally kicked in the movie had already lost me. Minor Ford to be sure.
June 15, 2013
In this Ford's Western, part of a trilogy that also includes She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Wayne gets to play the tough biological and sociological father of his recruits, which include his son.
½ September 13, 2009
Just kind of a meh story spoils the final part of an ad hoc trilogy from John Ford. Wayne sticks around the background while this boring plot unfolds, but is enjoyable as a love interest for Maureen O'Hara and an estranged father for Trooper Yorke.
½ July 4, 2011
a pretty bland, generic Western. stock characters with very little development, an uninspiring love story, a rather vague soldier/Indian conflict, very few action sequences, and an overall weak plot. it did get a bit more interesting in the last 20 minutes or so, but not substantially. there are all these minor stories going on with no real focus or overriding point--ended up being pretty dull. definitely the weakest of Ford's cavalry trilogy.
February 7, 2010
John Ford westerns are always good, but have always felt they are overrated. This is a good story, but I didn't see any "wow" factor in the western. It's just a notch above ordinary. Ford does develop his characters well though, and it is professionally done. John Wayne's wooden acting doesn't help.
½ May 30, 2009
A not especially distinguished John Ford movie, considering something better, such as Drums Along the Mohawk for instance, is not included here.
March 13, 2007
Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is in charge of training of new recruits one of which is his son whom he hasn't seen in 15 years. He whips him into shape to take on the Apaches but not before his mother shows up to take him out of there.The decision to leave is left up to Trooper Yorke who decides to stay and fight. Through it all Kirby and Kathleen though separated for years fall back into love and decide that it's time to give it another try. But Yorke faces his toughest battle when his unorthodox plan to outwit the elusive Apaches leads to possible court- martial. Locked in a bloody Indian war, he must fight to redeem his honor and save the love and lives of his broken family
January 17, 2007
A John Wayne classic that also stars one of his greatest co-stars Maureen O'Hara. The 2 of them are wonderful together. Oh and don't forget Victor McLaughlin who adds the spice and greatness that makes this a movie to see.
½ September 28, 2006
Another John Ford classic western about the cavalry and an officers professional / personal problems.
½ October 19, 2015
a classic cavalry western movie with John Wayne,Maureen O Hara,and supporting cast. Folk singing and nice horses and stunt riding on horses make this movie a must see movie.
½ July 31, 2014
Another John Ford/John Wayne classic. Solid plot that isn't all about cavalry vs indians battles. If it was, it would be fairly mundane. No, there's action, and a good dose of human and relationship drama.

Action scenes are great, as is the scenery and cinematography. All this you would expect from John Ford. Shooting a western in black-and-white does not sound like the best idea, but Ford makes it work.

Great performance by John Wayne. He gets to show off a bit more acting range in this movie. There is the usual action-hero John Wayne, and then the romantic, concerned husband/father John Wayne.

Maureen O'Hara is wonderful in the female lead, and stunningly beautiful even in black-and-white.

Good support from Claude Jarman Jr and Chill Wills. J Carroll Naish gets the award for looking exactly like the historical figure he is portraying (General Sheridan).

Only negatives are the singing and that there are a few moments where the plot seems to briefly stall. All the singing and music started to feel like padding after a while. The plot has some "clunky" moments, where you thought - why is that necessary? Minor issues, that's all.
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