Fort Apache (1948)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The soldiers at Fort Apache may disagree with the tactics of their glory-seeking new commander. But to a man, they're duty-bound to obey - even when it means almost certain disaster. John Wayne, Henry Fonda and many familiar supporting players from master director John Ford's "stock company" saddle up for the first film in the director's famed cavalry trilogy (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande are the others). Roughhouse camaraderie, sentimental vignettes of frontier life, massive action … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Frank S. Nugent
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 15, 2006
Turner Home Entertainment


as Lt. Col. Owen Thursd...

as Capt. Kirby York

as Philadelphia Thursda...

as Sgt. Beaufort

as Sgt. Maj. Michael O'...

as Lt. Michael `Mickey'...

as Capt. Sam Collingwoo...

as Mrs. Mary O'Rourke

as Sgt. Festus Mulcahy

as Mrs. Emily Collingwo...

as Dr. Wilkens

as Silas Meacham

as Sgt. Shattuck

as Sgt. Quincannon

as Cochise

as Capt. Gates

as Mrs. Martha Gates

as Guadalupe

as Fen, the Stagecoach...

as Bald-Headed Southern...

as Reporter

as Woman in Stagecoach ...

as Stage Driver

as Stunt rider

as Irish Recruit

as Stunt rider
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Fort Apache

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Critic Reviews for Fort Apache

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | September 2, 2008
Top Critic

March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's an odd film, consisting more of sidetracks than of an actual story, but it showed a new restlessness in Ford.

Full Review… | February 24, 2012
Combustible Celluloid

Fascinating Western loaded with political and social commentary.

Full Review… | August 8, 2008
Classic Film and Television

Inspired by the massacre of General Custer's Cavalry, John Ford's superb elegiac Western contrasts legal-rational authority (Henry Fonda) with charismatic type of authority (John Wayne) to an advantage.

Full Review… | March 10, 2008

Audience Reviews for Fort Apache


The greatest of the "Cavalry" trilogy. Packed with great social commentary and amazing performances by Fonda, Wayne and Ward Bond. Fonda's final scene is one of the most powerful I've seen.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

The first part in John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy and it's a complete epic. It's hard to find any mistakes, potholes or dull spots; probably because they don't exist. This is a wonderful story with great characters, messages, and overall outlook concerning the west. Henry Fonda went against his usual personality and plays quite a flawed man, sick with a case of too much pride. John Wayne plays a supporting role in this, but his character is so important to the plot that he completely overshadows everyone else. He might have a fraction of some of the others lines, but he's there when it means something.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

I know that many consider Red River or The Searchers to be Wayne's greatest cowboy movies, but for me, you can't get better than Fort Apache. It is the first of John Ford and John Wayne's cavalry trilogy and is the best of the lot.

I think the most interesting thing about the film is its rather sympathetic view of the American Indians--they were shown as being decent and 3-dimensional and Wayne repeatedly stressed the importance of our country keeping its word of honor to them as well. In fact, it was very funny seeing Wayne portraying the voice of reason while Henry Fonda was more of a martinet and could have cared less about honor and truth.

Along the way, these two great actors are supported by old familiars like Victor McLaglen and Ward Bond, as well as Shirley Temple and her then husband, John Agar. Despite criticism leveled towards Agar by the media over the years (and to a lesser extent, to the adult Temple), I think they did just fine in their roles and made a positive contribution to the movie.

And finally, the action and cinematography is tops. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful black and white film or one where so much care and effort was given to make a great film.

Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

Fort Apache Quotes

– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)

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