The Searchers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Searchers Reviews

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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.
½ September 6, 2016
Occasionally I see a well-regarded film where I end up believing that the critics have seen something they wanted to see, more than what was actually on the screen. See my review of The 400 Blows, for instance. In this case, if you scroll through the reviews of The Searchers, you'll read about how John Ford used this film to illustrate the ugliness of racism. I'm not buying it. John Wayne's character Ethan Edwards had plenty of nasty things to say about the Comanches that he's hunting, but Ford makes sure that the Comanches are anything but sympathetic, and Ethan's antipathy toward them seems pretty rational. The ugliest part deals with the girl he's tracking, who was kidnapped and thus grew up to become Natalie Wood among the Comanches. Ethan's desire to kill the now-sullied girl, who has been living with a "buck," is pretty awful. But the resolution of this film completely undercuts whatever anti-racist message was intended (no spoilers here, except to say the rousing music accompanying the final shot is nothing short of hero worship for Ethan).

Maybe I didn't get the message. I certainly was awake enough to see the visual influence The Searchers has had on so many other films, Westerns and otherwise. It was beautifully shot, and Wayne's performance was very intense, but not an "anti-hero."
August 22, 2016

The Searchers is a timeless western classic that completely hooked me from the minute it starts. John Ford shows us how Western is done by it's breathtaking landscapes, haunting scenes and the best ending to a film I've ever seen.

John Wayne gives the performance of his career as Ethan and I don't think his other performances can top that, but then again, my mind might change. John Wayne is the soul of Western and I don't care what anyone says to change that. He's so iconic that even people who haven't seen his movies still know the famous cow boy image of John Wayne.

But I've heard a lot of issues from people with the character of Ethan. People thought the character was racist, unlikable or just a prick. Well his mother was killed by comanches, he lost the woman he loved to his brother, he fought in a war where he would have seen many people, including his friends killed, and then he returns home to his family who are massacred, including the woman he loves who was also raped. He also finds his niece's raped corpse that he buries.

I don't think Ethan was suppose to win your heart. He's a deeply troubled and sometimes bordering on psychotic, person. He's an anti-hero that I couldn't bring myself to hate but root for. He's a racist and I'm okay with that, because it gives the character Ethan an interesting conflict with Martin (played by Jeffrey Hunter), for being quarter Cherokee which Ethan hates. It's never clear if Ethan views change at the end, but it sure makes one hell of a partnership between the two.

This movie dose not mess around when it comes to it's violence. And no, I don't mean it's gory or bloody, but the movie gets quite dark at times. I only say "at times" because there is a fair share of humor in this that I did laugh at, as it fitted perfectly with the story and wasn't force. That's what I love about this movie. It manages to balance humor and dark scenes so brilliantly that's it's really difficult to pull off in movies. For a Western that's aged approved, it sure has some balls of what it presents you.

I gotta be honest here. This is the first John Wayne movie I've ever watched and I can't believe it took me this long to get around to this one. First it was Marilyn, then Dean and now Wayne. Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa movies I still need to see.

Don't worry Letterboxd people,

"That'll be the day".
½ August 5, 2016
This being the first John Wayne film that I have seen, I imagined that Hollywood's favourite cowboy would be the type to take law into his own manly hands. I did not expect his character, Ethan Edwards, to be so mentally unhinged, in his determined search for the extended family members who survived a raid led by Comanche chief Scar (non-Native Henry Brandon). The action sequences, between cowboys and natives, thrilled me as I had anticipated, but The Searchers is not an action film. Those sequences barely make up 10% of the running time. No, this movie is a dramatic adventure through the Wild West, seeing how Ethan and his part-Cherokee step-nephew Martin (non-Native Jeffrey Hunter) endure seasons of moving without any progress in their quest. Not only do we examine the relationship between Ethan and Martin, but we also see how Martin handles his relationship with love interest Laurie (Vera Miles), who longs to marry Martin but has no interest in waiting for him to finish his quest, if he does. These examinations could have suffered from encouraging macho-masculine attitudes, but the screenwriters, actors, and director John Ford opt for justifying character actions because of personal, unveiled turmoil. At one point, Martin reveals that he is concerned for the safety of Ethan, who is liable to engage in a killing spree, should the opportunity present itself. Ethan knows that, and he does not care to explain why. That mental mystery has me all the more fascinated in his character, whose motives are ambiguous up to and including the conclusion of the quest. The script suffers only from some thin jokes on village idiocy, domestic abuse, and a fight sequence that lasts longer than it should have. If you watch The Searchers, you will know which one I am talking about. For those who have interest in John Wayne or the Wild West, The Searchers will suit your style while providing an entertaining, beautifully and woefully shot adventure and an uncommonly -- for its time -- unstable protagonist for your pleasure.
June 12, 2016
Visually one of the most beautiful films. Solid story and performances.
June 3, 2016
one of my all time favorites. I can watch this movie over and over again.
April 27, 2016
Commonly admired for its luminous landscapes and all-American ideology, The Searchers is the quintessential squeaky clean Western. And it sucks.
John Ford's classic is the very emptiest of 'Cowboys vs Indians' nostalgia, shot in eye-burning Orange technicolor of questionable quality. The opening and closing shots will be remembered for all of cinematic eternity, but the brainless babble in between is a real patience-tester for anyone interested in characters who are either a) interesting or b) human.
The film is made up of go-nowhere journeys and mean-nothing conversations, interspersed with disjointed moments of darkness that make its saccharine characters shriek in shock.
To sum up The Searchers in a sentence: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance rides into a town occupied by mindless orange aliens, realises they're all mindless orange aliens and leaves.
April 25, 2016
This movie is stupid. The story is boring and some of the characters are just so goddamn annoying and badly acted. It's a shame because it starts off fine, and there's some gorgeous scenes (also some piss-poor ugly scenes: anything outdoors at night is this gross bluish tint that hurts your eyes). This film has nothing on My Darling Clementine.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2016
Pretty but also really slow, linear and ultimately uninteresting
½ March 24, 2016
Beautiful cinematography. Otherwise, pretty pointless.

If you're steeped in the various Western movie tropes and archetypes, and can look past racism and sexism pretty excessive even by 50's standards, you might only be annoyed by how slow the plot is and how it's basically an examination of the pointlessness of life.
March 5, 2016
One of the top ten movies ever made. You can watch it a hundred times and still not get it all in. It's Wayne and Ford at their absolute best.
March 3, 2016
One of the grandest films ever made.
February 27, 2016
The Searchers has beautiful photography with such elaborate details on composition and framing. The story intensifies as we are also given some good humour and lighter tones. The sweeping scope of the valleys and deserts are attractive and there's a great handle on its art production.
February 22, 2016
my dad dropped my sister and i at the movie to see this, i was 11 and she 9. we loved it so much that we stayed and watched it twice. over the years i have watched it numerous times, great movie
February 18, 2016
My first John Wayne film. I was not disappointed! The amount of reviews I see which write it off straight away just for perceiving it as racist is rather sad.
February 16, 2016
The Searchers is an interesting journey across the west where we find Ethan Edwards, played by John Wayne, on a quest to rescue his niece. It is visually great with large landscapes and complex camera work. The anti-hero nature of Ethan makes him a complex character to follow and sometimes hard to root for.
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