The Iron Horse - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Iron Horse Reviews

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½ July 27, 2017
As far as silent movies go, this epic Western is something special. The action is clean and understandable while still having an element of realism; the characters are mostly charming and there is humor that translates to modern viewers.
½ February 22, 2016
Arguably Fords best western...or at least my new favorite.
½ April 1, 2014
A really grand and epic silent era film. One of John Ford's first and in my opinion greatest. It set the standard for all western cliches to come.
March 22, 2014
good western from director john ford
May 12, 2013
THE IRON HORSE is a plot heavy western with what appears to be an authentic historical background, well photographed in crisp B&W photography that is not as primitive as one might expect from a film made in 1924.
May 1, 2013
A great John Ford Western! This was the first of Ford's silent pictures that I've seen and I must say I was pleasently surprised at how fully formed his artestry was at this early point! Highly Reccomended!
October 29, 2012
The incredible mammoth production directed by John Ford that employed 6000 people to get it completed.

A 'some what' accurate depiction of the process involved in completing the US's first Transcontinental Railway.

I like the personal story connected to this interesting slice of history, the people that inhabited this film are very interesting.

A film of this size still keeps it personal & and doesn't get lost in the grandeur, an interesting story of the train's birth.
February 26, 2012
There's one thing that could have made the history of this film come a bit more alive: railroad dicks shooting Chinamen who get out of line!
January 15, 2012
Lavish, exciting and historically important.
½ December 12, 2010
Epic visuals and sequences drive this overlong and episodic movie. Impressive and tiring.
½ August 20, 2010
Boy, John Ford can sure direct himself a boring film. The Iron Horse takes a pivotal moment in American history and makes it into an overlong, boring, often annoying film. The comic relief is terrible, the lead looks like some horrible hybrid of Mark Wahlberg and Chris Klein, and the pacing is terrible. A few good moments just can't save the overall film. It's FAR too long, like watching a complete old movie serial without taking any breaks.
June 22, 2010
revu (et vu pour la première fois au cinéma) mardi 15 juin 2010 à la Cinémathèque de Toulouse dans le cadre du "muet du mois" et du cycle "John Ford" avec accompagnement musical dans la salle au piano par Michel Lehmann ("le fou qui se prend pour Wagner")
July 22, 2009
This was a really fun film to watch and the new DVD film transfer with restoration was awesome. John Ford really knows his stuff and the actors make it real easy to follow the silent film narrative. DVD does have a new orchestral score and if you're looking for a different western experience you'll be rewarded by visiting this classic. The DVD also has film historian and some of the very interesting points: Indians in the film are real indians, one man was even the model for the 5 cent Indian nickel. A Chinese laborer in the film actually worked on the real Transcontinental railroad and in this film Ford doesn't have the US Cavalary ride to the rescue, it's the Pawnee Indians!
February 2, 2009
Great western. Really defines a genre.
January 30, 2009
So John Ford wasn't even thirty when he tackled this epic. I can't imagine the amount of blood and sweat that went into this. It's hard not to take for granted all of the imagery and plot devices here. At the time, this was a pretty innovative film. If you find yourself predicting how a lot of it goes, that only speaks to how influential this was. The bonus is that the film doubles as a history lesson in addition to be an entertaining yarn.
½ January 11, 2009
Desert vistas, graveside tableau's, quiet men, scrappy women, happy drunkards, bar brawlers, rampaging Indians, friendly Indians, and Abe. Many of the thematic elements that John Ford would mine for decades were all there, as early as 1924.
This is probably the LARGEST Ford picture I've ever seen, and really moves at a pretty good clip considering the number of characters and breadth of the plot.
I'd note that, as he got older, Ford's pictures seem to get more intimate and character driven, whereas other directors (Like Anthony Mann) started out with smaller character pieces and ended up, in the late-50's and early 60's, doing epics.
½ November 23, 2008
Entertaining early John Ford western.
½ August 13, 2008
They certainly didn??t worry much about continuity in silent-era Hollywood; many side-by-side scenes go from grass to snow and back. It??s also pretty funny that this was advertised as an accurate portrayal of the times in both fact and atmosphere. I??m reasonably sure John Ford was happy someone else got credit for the title cards. This picture is epic in scope and manages to encompass many different attitudes, events, people, places, and tones. Ford sure as hell knew where to put the camera as well. What better place than in a hole over which the buffalo charge? Or under the train as it thunders over? There are some pretty spectacular action scenes as well (the Cheyenne circling of the iron horse, the cattle drive river crossing, etc). There are also nice touches like the dog lying by its dead master. It??s interesting how simple this film is in form and technique compared to other major epic pictures of the day (think Metropolis, the major German films, anything by D. W. Griffith, etc). It is markedly different in many respects from basically any later Ford film in tone and style though. It often bears a closer resemblance to other silent epics from the era than to something like The Searchers or Stagecoach in my opinion. I did recognize some similarities in historical overtones and focus between this and a film like Liberty Valence; or at least it reminded me of the latter. Ford was never one for flash and flair and this is no exception. He just tells you the story as straight and true as he can. There is definitely beauty here. It??s a powerful and huge film even now. The ending is very effective; goosebumps and all.
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