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The Searchers

The Searchers

John Wayne
Director: John Ford Cast: John Wayne
John Wayne
, Jeffrey Hunter
Jeffrey Hunter
, Vera Miles
Vera Miles
John Ford

DVD (Special Edition / Subtitled)

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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 of Yankee gold, and no explanations as to where he's been since Lee's surrender. A loner not comfortable in the bosom of his family, Ethan also harbors a bitter hatred of Indians (though he knows their lore and language well) and trusts no one but himself. Ethan and Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), Aaron's adopted son, join a makeshift band of Texas Rangers fending off an assault by renegade Comanches. Before they can run off the Indians, several homes are attacked, and Ethan returns to discover his brother and sister-in-law dead and their two daughters kidnapped. While they soon learn that one of the girls is dead, the other, Debbie, is still alive, and with obsessive determination, Ethan and Martin spend the next five years in a relentless search for Debbie -- and for Scar (Henry Brandon), the fearsome Comanche chief who abducted her. But while Martin wants to save his sister and bring her home, Ethan seems primarily motivated by his hatred of the Comanches; it's hard to say if he wants to rescue Debbie or murder the girl who has lived with Indians too long to be considered "white." John Wayne gives perhaps his finest performance in a role that predated screen antiheroes of the 1970s; by the film's conclusion, his single-minded obsession seems less like heroism and more like madness. Wayne bravely refuses to soft-pedal Ethan's ugly side, and the result is a remarkable portrait of a man incapable of answering to anyone but himself, who ultimately has more in common with his despised Indians than with his more "civilized" brethren. Natalie Wood is striking in her brief role as the 16-year-old Debbie, lost between two worlds, and Winton C. Hoch's Technicolor photography captures Monument Valley's savage beauty with subtle grace. The Searchers paved the way for such revisionist Westerns as The Wild Bunch (1969) and McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), and its influence on movies from Taxi Driver (1976) to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Star Wars (1977) testifies to its lasting importance.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/06/2015
UPC: 0883929453085
Original Release: 1956
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Time: 1:59:00
Sales rank: 802

Special Features

Closed Caption; New digital transfer from restored VistaVision picture and audio elements; New featurette: The Searchers: An Appreciation; A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayner and The Searchers, 1998 documentary narrated by John Milius; Introduction by John Wayne's son and The Searchers co-star Patrick Wayne; Commentary by director/John Ford biographer Peter Bogdanovich; Vintage behind the cameras segments from the Warner Bros. Presents TV series; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Wayne Ethan Edwards
Jeffrey Hunter Martin Pawley
Vera Miles Laurie Jorgensen
Ward Bond Capt. Reverend Clayton
Natalie Wood Debbie Edwards, older
John Milius Narrated
John Qualen Lars Jorgensen
Hank Worden Mose Harper
Olive Carey Mrs. Jorgensen
Henry Brandon Chief Scar
Ken Curtis Charlie McCony
Harry Carey Brad Jorgensen
Antonio Moreno Emilio Figueroa
Lana Wood Debbie Edwards, younger
Walter Coy Aaron Edwards
Dorothy Jordan Martha Edwards
Pippa Scott Lucy Edwards
Patrick Wayne Lieutenant Greenhill
Beulah Archuletta Look
Shooting Star Actor
Ruth Clifford Deranged woman at fort
Cliff Lyons Col. Greenhill
Peter Mamakos Jerem Futterman
Mae Marsh Woman at fort
Jack Pennick Private
Chuck Roberson Man at wedding
Bill Steele Nesby
Chief Thundercloud Comanche chief
Nacho Galindo Mexican bartender
Robert Lyden Ben Edwards
Danny Borzage Accordionist at Funeral

Technical Credits
John Ford Director
James Basevi Art Director
C. Frank Beetson Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank Beetson Costumes/Costume Designer
George Brown Special Effects
Merian C. Cooper Executive Producer
Patrick Ford Associate Producer
Victor A. Gangelin Set Decoration/Design
Winton Hoch Cinematographer,Screenwriter
Frank Hotaling Art Director
Hugh McDowell Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Murray Editor
Frank S. Nugent Screenwriter
Webb Overlander Makeup
Ann Peck Costumes/Costume Designer
Wingate Smith Asst. Director
Max Steiner Score Composer
C.V. Whitney Producer
Howard Wilson Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Searchers
1. Credits
2. Ethan Returns Home
3. Aaron, Martha, Debbie and Lucy
4. Martin Pauley
5. Capt. Rev. Sam Johnson
6. One Oath at a Time
7. Martha's Reverie and Farwell
8. Search for Cattle
9. Riders on the Rim
10. A Murder Raid
11. Mose's Indian Dance
12. Terror at Dusk
13. Shadow of Chief Scar
14. Terrible Discovery
15. "Put An Amen to It!"
16. The Search Begins
17. "That'll Be the Day"
18. Surrounded By Hostiles
19. Battle at the River
20. "Don't Ever Ask Me More!"
21. A Blizzard and a Lost Trail
22. Retun to the Jorgensens
23. A Letter for Ethan
24. Laurie and Martin
25. Futterman's Trading Post
26. Ambush in the Night
27. Charlie Brings a Letter
28. An Indian Bride
29. Scar's Trail
30. Buffalo Country
31. A Little Girl and a Doll
32. Reunited With Mose
33. Information About Debbie
34. Meeting With Scar
35. Debbie Found
36. Surprise Attack
37. Last Will and Testament
38. A Wedding
39. A Fair Fight
40. News of Scar
41. Martin's Rescue Attempt
42. Attacking Scar's Camp
43. "Let's Go Home, Debbie"
44. A Man Alone

Customer Reviews

The Searchers 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You don't have to be a fan of Westerns or John Wayne to enjoy this great film. There is not a wasted line or scene in this movie. From the great look of the American West, John Fords immense vision and direction, to outstanding and believable performances and dialogue, this is truely a great film. Right from the start, the acting and writting leaves you with an impression that the characters had a previous and eventful life together, not one created out of the Holleywood blue. John Wayne's portrayal is stark and by far his best. He does not hesitate to imbue his character as faulted, racist and vengefull. But every performance in this movie is perfect. The West is portrayed as a hard, challenging world, and it's inhabitants are a mix of young and old, experienced, naive, native and immigrant. Each scene is a work of visual art. If ever a film deserved to be re-released on the big screen, this is it. This is a must have movie for any true fan of American film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best westerns ever filmed ~~ John Wayne at his best. Superb story set against a Texas frontier backdrop complete with a colorful cast of characters. The story ~~ a 'search' for a child kidnaped by Indians ~~ is told with feeling and a reverence for the Old West.This is a movie to savor; superbly crafted by everyone involved. And, best of all ~~~ 'Duke' gives a performance that towers in western film lore. If you aren't familiar with 'The Searchers', saddle up & join them. You won't regret it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite John Wayne movie and my favorite Western.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe in my heart that this was not only John Wayne's best picture he ever made, but I believe it is the best western ever made. I am here to tell you I have seen allot of them and this takes it all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie deals in it external form about the search of Debbie, a girl kidnapped by the Indians after the assassination of his parents and brothers. Much of these action occurs in impressive landscapes, but the plot are superbly carried over all by two figures. The main one is Ethan Edwards, the uncle of Debbie, accompanied shortly by Brad Jorgensen, the fiancé of his sister Lucy, but who has soon to be killed driven to despair by Lucy's terrible murder. The other is the adopted nephew of Ethan, Martin Pawley, a half-indian. But these external pursuit goes parallel to another interior one, because these searchers are going to change themselves in the course of the same. Martin suffers the most complete evolution, because he passes from being inexpert and childish to a mature person. But in the case of Ethan, I think his search doesn¿t finish with the movie, but possibly it began before, continues during it all and probably it never ends or we don¿t know in what. Ethan is a complex personage. At the beginning he¿s shown as an experienced tough man, a loser officer of the American Civil War and another battles in Mexico and more. But he hides another face, asocial and with uncontrollable violence. He seems have to yield his love Martha to his brother Aaron when gone to the war, an neither shows affection by money or material possessions. Truly we don¿t know what Ethan prosecutes really in the search, if to save Lucy, or to kill her for having been converted into an Indian, or if he¿s perhaps in search of himself or what. Martin gets to understand the problem with Ethan: he values his knowledge and great ability for fighting, but fears his dark side not far of madness, so he decides he has to continue in the search and simultaneously to take care of his uncle. Curiously, Scar, the Comanche chief author of the crimes seems to share some characteristics of Ethan. The seekers fulfill his aim in finding Lucy though it takes them several years and a lot of penalties, but significantly, at the end Ethan remains alone and outdoors. The others don¿t need him anymore while his personal search hasn¿t finished. Superb film, so, if you are a searcher of good cinema I¿m afraid you have a task as hard as in the screen because today it¿s practically impossible to find movies as good as this.
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0817 More than 1 year ago
In the words of the Duke his best movie, enough said.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You don't have to say more than the title. This is the second best western that was ever made. Get it. See it and enjoy.