The Searchers
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If John Ford is the greatest Western director, The Searchers is arguably his greatest film, at once a grand outdoor spectacle like such Ford classics as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950) and a film about one man's troubling moral codes, a big-screen adventure of the 1950s that anticipated the complex themes and characters that would dominate the 1970s. John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate soldier who returns to his brother Aaron's frontier cabin three years after the end of the Civil War. Ethan still has his rebel uniform and weapons, a large stash… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Some fine vignettes of frontier life in the early southwest and a realistic presentation of the difficulties faced by the settlers in carving out a homestead in dangerous Indian country."
‑ Ronald Holloway, Variety
"A rip-snorting Western, as brashly entertaining as they come."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"One of the better examples of the western genre."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"An absolute must see."
‑ Keith H. Brown, Eye for Film
"...a much more multi-layered Western than most other such examples of the genre, and it is surely a classic of its kind."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"Through the central image of the frontier, the meeting point of wilderness and civilization, Ford explores the divisions of our national character, with its search for order and its need for violence, its spirit of community and its quest for independence"
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Contains scenes of magnificence, and one of John Wayne's best performances."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Call Ethan one widescreen reminder of fear and guilt for a country that deserved at least one."
‑ Rob Nelson, City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"A truly great western."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"One of Ford's undisputed masterpiecs and a quintessential text of the 1950s, a rare Western that explores the deep roots of racism (and sexism) in American life, and gives John Wayne his most complex performance as the anomic hero."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"There is perhaps some discrepancy in the play between Wayne's heroic image and the pathological outsider he plays here (forever excluded from home, as the doorway shots at beginning and end suggest), but it hardly matters, given the film's visual splendou"
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"The final shot of this genuine epic says everything the Western ever had to say about the price of the American frontier and those forgotten bones upon which a nation was built."
‑ Tom Keogh,
"A mature, dark, ambivalent piece that helped pave the way for the modern western."
‑ , Film4
"John Wayne at his best, striking cinematography and character ambiguity makes this a powerful and thought-provoking Wild West Odyssey."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"The minute The Searchers begins, it's impossible to look away."
‑ Chris Cabin,
More reviews for The Searchers on Rotten Tomatoes

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