The Searchers
The Searchers (1956)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: March 13, 1956
DVD Release Date: May 18, 1999
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: The Searchers is an epic John Wayne Western that introduces dark ambivalence to the genre that remains fashionable today.

Ronald Holloway

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.

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Bosley Crowther
New York Times

A rip-snorting Western, as brashly entertaining as they come.

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Wesley Lovell
Cinema Sight

One of the better examples of the western genre.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

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

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

Contains scenes of magnificence, and one of John Wayne's best performances.

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Rob Nelson
City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Call Ethan one widescreen reminder of fear and guilt for a country that deserved at least one.

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Derek Adams
Time Out

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

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Tom Keogh

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.


A mature, dark, ambivalent piece that helped pave the way for the modern western.

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More reviews for The Searchers

Flixster Audience Score: 88% Flixster User Reviews
Chris Weber
This is one of John Ford's greatest films, one of the greatest westerns of all time, and in general, one of the greatest and most influential films of all… More
Eric Shankle
I didn't like it. John Wayne is great as usual but the story is a bit of a mess. The only thing that is entertaining is the wedding scene. Everything else… More
Jim Hunter
A former Confederate soldier returns to the West where he battles the Natives responsible for a raid on his brother's property. In one scene John… More
Graham Jones
Ford's masterpiece and John Wayne's finest hour, The Searchers is the essential western. Filled with drama, comedy and horror, and shot in beautiful… More
Carlos Magalh„es
A powerful epic-scale Western with a rich story full of nuances, following a complex character of dubious motivations in a search that stretches for many years… More
Thomas Bowler
One of the greatest Westerns ever with a great performance from the Duke. Full review later.