Stagecoach Reviews

  • 5d ago

    A clear eyed Western with John Ford's auteur vision! John Ford's genre defining Western picture Stagecoach (1939) is so refined, that I'm honestly astonished by how concise and engaging it remains. Writers Ben Hecht, Dudley Nichols, and Ernest Haycox provide a sterling script with 9 memorable leads, ample action sequences, and finely tuned character development. The wicked are punished, the just rewarded, and the innocent are saved with a brutally realistic approach to storytelling. John Ford's direction is the real star as his focused vision of the American West demonstrates how wild and deadly these times were and how random civilians had to band together during desperate times to stay safe. Bert Glennon's cinematography has creative framing with John Wayne gazing at a woman he loves straight down a dark hall or a stunning quick zoom in to introduce Wayne's character The Ringo Kid. John Wayne himself is charismatic, likable, kind, and skilled as a gunslinger in one of his most remarkable screen performances. I never cared for John Wayne for his normally stilted acting and conservative politics; however, Wayne captivates you in Stagecoach as only a deft Western actor could. John Wayne was in rare form here and certainly elevated by director John Ford's astounding mastery of expressive filmmaking. Claire Trevor plays the assumed prostitute Dallas with a charming warmth and sincere worry over how others cruelly ignore or chastise her. She has wonderful natural chemistry with The Duke himself. Andy Devine is hilarious as the eternally screaming and always dumb Buck. A young John Carradine gets a fantastic supporting role as the mysterious Southern gentleman and secretive gambler Hatfield. His paternal chemistry alongside the ethereal beauty of Louise Platt's lady Lucy Mallory is a real highlight of Stagecoach for me. You really start to like them after you get to know their characters. Thomas Mitchell is excellent and entertaining as the ever drunken Doctor Josiah Boone. George Bancroft is gripping as Marshall Curly Wilcox with his strict sense of justice and dedication to the job. Donald Meek is pretty funny as the mild mannered alcohol man Samuel Peacock. Berton Churchill is really annoying as the self righteous banker Ellswood H. Gatewood. Elvira Rios, the Mexican singer and actress, cameos to sing a lovely old folk song on a captivating night as our heroes must wait out until morning. Notably, composers Gerard Carbonara, John Leipold, Leo Shuken, as well as Louis Gruenberg reinvigorated old folk songs with a modern flair. Their epic reworkings of Americana turn pieces of music into folk classics. Walter Plunkett's costumes look dazzling with intricately woven dresses for both lead actresses that define their social status as a real lady or a lady of the night. Norbert A. Myles' make-up does up Louise Platt into a delicate and refined lady, while giving Claire Trevor a beautiful natural look. Otho Lovering and Dorothy Spencer edit Stagecoach into a no frills Western, clocking in at a precise 96 minutes. In short, Stagecoach is a Western worth seeking out for an old classic that dares to make you care about people from all walks of life.

    A clear eyed Western with John Ford's auteur vision! John Ford's genre defining Western picture Stagecoach (1939) is so refined, that I'm honestly astonished by how concise and engaging it remains. Writers Ben Hecht, Dudley Nichols, and Ernest Haycox provide a sterling script with 9 memorable leads, ample action sequences, and finely tuned character development. The wicked are punished, the just rewarded, and the innocent are saved with a brutally realistic approach to storytelling. John Ford's direction is the real star as his focused vision of the American West demonstrates how wild and deadly these times were and how random civilians had to band together during desperate times to stay safe. Bert Glennon's cinematography has creative framing with John Wayne gazing at a woman he loves straight down a dark hall or a stunning quick zoom in to introduce Wayne's character The Ringo Kid. John Wayne himself is charismatic, likable, kind, and skilled as a gunslinger in one of his most remarkable screen performances. I never cared for John Wayne for his normally stilted acting and conservative politics; however, Wayne captivates you in Stagecoach as only a deft Western actor could. John Wayne was in rare form here and certainly elevated by director John Ford's astounding mastery of expressive filmmaking. Claire Trevor plays the assumed prostitute Dallas with a charming warmth and sincere worry over how others cruelly ignore or chastise her. She has wonderful natural chemistry with The Duke himself. Andy Devine is hilarious as the eternally screaming and always dumb Buck. A young John Carradine gets a fantastic supporting role as the mysterious Southern gentleman and secretive gambler Hatfield. His paternal chemistry alongside the ethereal beauty of Louise Platt's lady Lucy Mallory is a real highlight of Stagecoach for me. You really start to like them after you get to know their characters. Thomas Mitchell is excellent and entertaining as the ever drunken Doctor Josiah Boone. George Bancroft is gripping as Marshall Curly Wilcox with his strict sense of justice and dedication to the job. Donald Meek is pretty funny as the mild mannered alcohol man Samuel Peacock. Berton Churchill is really annoying as the self righteous banker Ellswood H. Gatewood. Elvira Rios, the Mexican singer and actress, cameos to sing a lovely old folk song on a captivating night as our heroes must wait out until morning. Notably, composers Gerard Carbonara, John Leipold, Leo Shuken, as well as Louis Gruenberg reinvigorated old folk songs with a modern flair. Their epic reworkings of Americana turn pieces of music into folk classics. Walter Plunkett's costumes look dazzling with intricately woven dresses for both lead actresses that define their social status as a real lady or a lady of the night. Norbert A. Myles' make-up does up Louise Platt into a delicate and refined lady, while giving Claire Trevor a beautiful natural look. Otho Lovering and Dorothy Spencer edit Stagecoach into a no frills Western, clocking in at a precise 96 minutes. In short, Stagecoach is a Western worth seeking out for an old classic that dares to make you care about people from all walks of life.

  • Feb 06, 2021

    Even though Stagecoach was made in 1939, and it became the template for many westerns that followed it, it still managed to surprise me a few times. The story is simple, but the characters are interesting, and the stunt work & cinematography are quite impressive. John Wayne makes an impression from the moment he enters the picture. I don't know why it took me so long to watch this classic film. I'm glad I finally did.

    Even though Stagecoach was made in 1939, and it became the template for many westerns that followed it, it still managed to surprise me a few times. The story is simple, but the characters are interesting, and the stunt work & cinematography are quite impressive. John Wayne makes an impression from the moment he enters the picture. I don't know why it took me so long to watch this classic film. I'm glad I finally did.

  • Feb 05, 2021

    4.5/5. The portrayal of Native Americans has aged poorly, but the rest of the characters are an interesting bunch and give us a fantastic western.

    4.5/5. The portrayal of Native Americans has aged poorly, but the rest of the characters are an interesting bunch and give us a fantastic western.

  • Nov 01, 2020

    Stagecoach is a 1939 American Western film directed by John Ford 🌡 Meh, it passed the time. Just. 😐 A POWERFUL STORY OF NINE STRANGE PEOPLE

    Stagecoach is a 1939 American Western film directed by John Ford 🌡 Meh, it passed the time. Just. 😐 A POWERFUL STORY OF NINE STRANGE PEOPLE

  • Jul 27, 2020

    Masterpiece, joya del western.

    Masterpiece, joya del western.

  • Jul 23, 2020

    The acting is good but the story is just ok.

    The acting is good but the story is just ok.

  • Jun 06, 2020

    This is a great Western. Not only that, this is a major achievement in the history of cinema. Finding this movie boring equals to not having a sense of art.

    This is a great Western. Not only that, this is a major achievement in the history of cinema. Finding this movie boring equals to not having a sense of art.

  • Apr 10, 2020

    This film is so classic that seemingly all other movies featuring stagecoaches pulled from it, even modern films like The Hateful Eight and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It's one of the great John Ford westerns, and even after all this time still holds up to modern viewing. There are plenty of great character moments slathered on top of the rich western setting and the solid underlying story, and it's the characters that carry the film and make it so memorable even today. Closest comparison: It's like the final vignette in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by way of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Setting: Western Plot: Confined Strangers Tone: Adventure

    This film is so classic that seemingly all other movies featuring stagecoaches pulled from it, even modern films like The Hateful Eight and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It's one of the great John Ford westerns, and even after all this time still holds up to modern viewing. There are plenty of great character moments slathered on top of the rich western setting and the solid underlying story, and it's the characters that carry the film and make it so memorable even today. Closest comparison: It's like the final vignette in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by way of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Setting: Western Plot: Confined Strangers Tone: Adventure

  • Apr 08, 2020

    The original Western that started it all. Fantastic and well defined characters and brisk pacing. Worth it for the Noir-esque night shots of Lordsburg. Establishing the aesthetics that would define the genre!

    The original Western that started it all. Fantastic and well defined characters and brisk pacing. Worth it for the Noir-esque night shots of Lordsburg. Establishing the aesthetics that would define the genre!

  • Mar 10, 2020

    While it's important to note Stagecoach's important place in cinema history, one can't view this 80 year old movie without noticing its wrinkles. Sure, John Ford is a legend, and all his mastery as an auteur is on display here, bringing to life a metaphoric journey of castaways toward redemption like no other director can. However, with a less than dazzling restoration/preservation, the breakthrough cinematography is marred with the snap, crackle, and pop of an aging film reel, and jumpy edits that leave you wondering if this is how this film was intended to be seen. The sound is so challenging at times, I found myself not only rewinding scenes, but using the films Wikipedia page to understand key plot points. One jarring example is the important reveal of Dallas's true identity to Ringo, provided with limited dialogue, presented through the image of what we're supposed to understand is a brothel. We know from later Ford films how effective this can be, but here, it's challenging to comprehend given the poor quality of the visuals. The cast is hit or miss β€” with John Wayne as his capable cowboy at the helm. The female performances from the leads are way too packed with ingenue to be effective in a 21st century watch, and Andy Devines comic relief character "Buck" is downright annoying. The films racist depiction of Native Americans and Latinos is typical for the era..which is to say blatant and disgusting, so be warned. Thomas Mitchell's Academy Award winning performance is beyond deserving, serving as the casts deepest character, and lighting up the screen with every line. All in all, it's a film that's important to watch for its place in cinema history, establishing Wayne, Ford, and the Western, as a American cinema mainstays, but 80 years has added some blemishes to the classic, making it not as digestible as it once was.

    While it's important to note Stagecoach's important place in cinema history, one can't view this 80 year old movie without noticing its wrinkles. Sure, John Ford is a legend, and all his mastery as an auteur is on display here, bringing to life a metaphoric journey of castaways toward redemption like no other director can. However, with a less than dazzling restoration/preservation, the breakthrough cinematography is marred with the snap, crackle, and pop of an aging film reel, and jumpy edits that leave you wondering if this is how this film was intended to be seen. The sound is so challenging at times, I found myself not only rewinding scenes, but using the films Wikipedia page to understand key plot points. One jarring example is the important reveal of Dallas's true identity to Ringo, provided with limited dialogue, presented through the image of what we're supposed to understand is a brothel. We know from later Ford films how effective this can be, but here, it's challenging to comprehend given the poor quality of the visuals. The cast is hit or miss β€” with John Wayne as his capable cowboy at the helm. The female performances from the leads are way too packed with ingenue to be effective in a 21st century watch, and Andy Devines comic relief character "Buck" is downright annoying. The films racist depiction of Native Americans and Latinos is typical for the era..which is to say blatant and disgusting, so be warned. Thomas Mitchell's Academy Award winning performance is beyond deserving, serving as the casts deepest character, and lighting up the screen with every line. All in all, it's a film that's important to watch for its place in cinema history, establishing Wayne, Ford, and the Western, as a American cinema mainstays, but 80 years has added some blemishes to the classic, making it not as digestible as it once was.