The Searchers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Searchers Reviews

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June 16, 2017
Perhaps it's because of the time this movie was released, I dunno, but John Wayne playing a Confederate dickweed with racist undertones portrayed as the hero is all sorts of wrong. Sure he has a change of heart at the very end(despite the way he offs the main antagonist), however it does not make up any of it. The real star of this movie was the cinematography as this featured some of the most amazing shots I've ever seen. Geography's all wrong as it's supposed to take place in Texas and last time I checked Monument Valley was in Arizona. Ah well. I suppose if you look at it as the whole classic 'cowboys vs indians' it's not bad in that sense, but I've seen much better westerns than this and ones featuring the "All-American hero" John Wayne. Also, what the heck was up with that wife kicking scene? Damn, this was truly a different time..
May 25, 2017
Although Ford doesn't condone the main character's hatred of Native Americans, he abstains enough humanity from them. Look at the double standard. The attack on the family at the beginning is portrayed as a horrific massacre. When the white men storm the Comanche camp at the end, it's a heroic cavalry charge.
Strangely enough, although the main character is shown to hate Comanches, and laughs at them at best, he knows their language and their culture. That's hardly brought up.
The film tries to be fair to Native Americans and women, but can be shockingly offensive to Native American women. Jacqueline Voorhees from 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' is politically correct by comparison.
Ethan's acts of revenge are horrific- savage, even, and it's meant to make us feel uncomfortable, but he never considers his actions, never realizes the effect of white violence on Native Americans, only realizes his own "whiteness" that he needs to bring his niece back home, and the film peters out afterwards.
I can't entirely hate 'The Searchers'. It's really well made. The cinematography is beautiful and the search itself is captivating.
May 22, 2017
Iconic. And Jeffery Hunter is...delightful.
May 12, 2017
A must see. A masterpiece. Perhaps, just the best movie in History.

View several times, last time in the Filmoteca española (The Spanish Film Library, Madrid)
April 2, 2017
May be the best western film ever made. Unapologeticly shows the struggle of life on the frontier and the thin line between revenge and redemption.
½ February 28, 2017
This John Ford directed classic is one of the better Westerns in film history that went on to influence many films within the wider reaches of the genre through the 60's, 70's and beyond. The film follows legendary Western actor John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, an ex confederate soldier who returns to visit his brother Aaron and his family in their ranch. Ethan and Martin (Jeffrey Hunter) venture out to protect the land from Comanches but when they return they find the ranch burnt to the ground with Aaron and his wife dead and their two daughters taken hostage. The narrative then kicks in when Ethan gathers a group of 'searchers' to hunt down the Indian tribe and recover the lost girls. This film really does have it all, the plot is gripping and takes entertaining turns throughout, the dialogue is expertly crafted with so much meaning behind many lines that build character and more, there is some well integrated humour injected here and there, and the cinematography is sweeping with just beautiful scenery.

One of the biggest highlights of the film is not only the performance by John Wayne but the way it handles his character being a Western protagonist who isn't necessarily a "hero" of sorts. There are many things he says and does at key moments over the course of the film that establish him as being someone who isn't a white collar, save the day good guy..... it helps to blur the lines between good and bad and gets you thinking. So much of this movie depended on the viewer not necessarily liking Ethan but rather responding to him and his behaviour. And he was a very engaging character with some great meaningful dialogue and an arc that may or may not be resolved by the closing scene but it is a damn interesting one.

One thing i occasionally touch on in some reviews but don't ever really comment on is in fact mis-en-scene, but here, especially for a film as influential as this one you can't not talk about it. Every detail in every shot in this film feels so meticulously planned out by John Ford that just watching a scene as simple as people moving about a house is just as impressive and stunning as an outdoor sweeping shot of a beautiful vista. There is so much detail to pick out of every scene in every set that it all just adds to the authenticity of what you are watching possibly maybe being real... One recurring shot choice throughout the film that it opens and closes with is a camera directed out the door of a house looking out into the immediate and distant environment and typically framing a particular character or characters. This iconic doorway shot choice is flawlessly pristine and it sets up location and context and character in a very artistic manner that you can't help but admire. The use of this 'doorway camera' in the film is greatly executed forever tied to the success of this film.

So in the end, looking past the fact that this movie is in some ways pretty racist it is still beautifully shot, extremely well directed, features great dialogue, and develops an engaging and entertaining story very well. It paved the way influencing many films to come throughout the 70's, and not only the Western genre, Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver' (1976) also takes inspiration from the John Ford classic.

9.1/10
February 11, 2017
Great movie. The predecessor to the films of the 70's with similar themes and especially John Wayne's performance is iconic, truly remarkable and influential. But, honestly, I don't see how this movie less "racist" then "The Birth of a Nation". This one is hailed whereas Birth is condemned (althought it is secretly hailed of course). The greatness of both movies in that they show how things were, such were times, they are not racist, and they don't have to show everything in a way as it "should be", tolerant way, as modern SJWs demand. There is no tolerance in distorting facts and history.
February 2, 2017
La historia es chevere, es entretenida, los personajes son agradables aunque el personaje de John Wayne me parece algo pesado al principio, pero su relación con Jeffrey Hunter me fue gustando conforme el tiempo pasaba.
½ January 22, 2017
9.5 out of 10:

Great performances, spectacular directing, and a powerful story? No wonder many directors and writers use this film for inspiration for other great films.
December 20, 2016
Westerns have a history of simplification and, for a long time, needed a more thorough tackling of the genre. That is why John Ford's darker undertaking starring the Duke, himself, is both a relief and the greatest revisioning of the heart of Westerns.
December 17, 2016
Probably the greatest of the classical westerns. Two men undertake an odyssey to find a kinswoman kidnapped by Comanche. Conventional enough on the surface to satisfy the audience of the day and viewers looking for a straight western, whilst underneath throwing up complex issues about hatred, obsession, and the overt and casual racism of the old west. Impenetrable to many modern observers, which is a shame, as this film helped to open the way for films with a more overt message.
December 8, 2016
Best Western ever alongside Unforgiven.
December 1, 2016
9.5/10. 11-20-2016.

Original rating: 11-29-2012 (8/10)
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2016
This is an extraordinarily over-rated movie. The acting is uniformly terrible, and John Wayne is absolutely insufferable. The treatment of Native Americans is stereotypical, and they're shown to be inept, silly, and savage. Actions are routinely illogical and the attempts at comedy tossed in are poor. The story of Wayne's search for his kidnapped niece is straightforward, but the film gets painfully side-tracked with a love story and other goofiness.

The only reason to watch this film is the cinematography. Director John Ford captures several absolutely gorgeous and iconic shots in Monument Valley, though he too often relies on the same rock formations in the background, stunning as they are. The scenes in deep snow and crossing an icy river are also fantastic, though it's odd how quickly we see shifts from arid desert to winter. Regardless, these are the ONLY good things about this movie.

There are so many other things to hate. Wayne's mispronunciation of Comanche as "Commanch", his disparaging half-breeds, and his disdain for clearly traumatized women who were forced to live with Native Americans for years (Texas Ranger: "It's hard to believe they're white". Wayne: "They're not white anymore."). A blue-eyed Indian chief. The ridiculously accurate shooting. Wayne inexplicably thinking of shooting his niece when he finds her, since she doesn't want to return with him, despite years of searching for her. (Oh wait, that is explainable; he's racist and she's now "one of them"). Lastly, I almost threw up in my mouth when Wayne sauntered off at the end. Perhaps that was triggered while also thinking of his real-life comments in a 1971 interview with Playboy Magazine:

PLAYBOY: For years American Indians have played an important - if subordinate - role in your Westerns. Do you feel any empathy with them?

WAYNE: I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that's what you're asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.

Ugh.
October 20, 2016
Favorite movie hands down
September 22, 2016
This movie was based on actual events of the capture of Cynthia Parker, mother of Quanah Parker, Comanche chief. Her uncle, Col. James Parker, search for her for over 20 years and brought her and her daughter back to family only to have the child die of illness and Cynthia grieve herself to death. This movie supposedly also gave Buddy Holly the title to That'll Be The Day. Every time I watch it I find some little blip I missed the thousands of time I watched it before. Wayne should have gotten an Oscar for this in my opinion more so than True Grit. Wayne also name his son after the character in this movie. My favorite western.
September 18, 2016
One of the all time great movies
½ September 13, 2016
Excellent movie. Beautiful scenery. John Wayne plays a Comanche hater and almost kills his niece because of it. Also Natalie Wood. Kind of a morality play with Wayne so obsessed with killing Comanches.
September 6, 2016
The greatest American western of all time, in my opinion. There are two things that drive that point home: John Ford's willingness to show us the American spirit (good and bad), and some of the most gorgeous American landscapes ever put on celluloid.

Few films grab you immediately from the opening shot, but John Ford's THE SEARCHERS does it better than anyone else.
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