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551 Ratings

The Ox-Bow Incident

Directed by William A. Wellman
United States, 1943
Western, Crime


Two drifters are passing through a Western town, when news comes in that a local farmer has been murdered and his cattle stolen. The townspeople, joined by the drifters, form a posse to catch the perpetrators.

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The Ox-Bow Incident Directed by William A. Wellman

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1944 | Nominee: Best Picture

National Board of Review

1943 | 2 wins including: Best Film

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1943 | 2nd place: Best Director

What are people saying?

  • joey Noodles's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    Damn, I've seen some very very good films over the past few days, but this takes the cake. The Ox-Bow Incident is one of the greatest westerns ever made, a bleak and depressing picture, I really wasn't expecting this. It is a better and more powerful study of humanity than anything Bergman ever did, and you get so very very caught up in the film and involved. It moved me to tears. 5/5

  • João Eça's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    this superior western about america's own growth from an anarquich land to a law-abiding country (the necessary process to the evolution of a civilization, as one of the characters says) is a very good picture from the great (and much forgotten) William Wellman. the cinematography and the acting are amazing. it is, perhaps, a little theatrical and slow at times, but it also has its splendid moments of great cinema.

  • Jason's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    That The Ox-Bow Incident was made during WWII and at least twenty years before the civil rights movement bespeaks an admirable determination to get a point across. A point not likely to be popular. Luckily Wellman got it made before the height of the McCarthy era, when nobody would have dared bankroll it. People who abhor unsubtle politics often look down on Ox-Bow. But it is an A #1 marvel. Fonda's shielded eyes!

  • waywardwaters's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    More so than simply a stewing of conscience in god fearing men, The Ox-Bow Incident goes beyond morality play of prejudgment and wu wei (harnessed by the all too relevant cognitively dissonant romantic subplot) the tyranny of majority rule as a governing system. Conservation of law and order presupposes an individual right, hardening the drifter in implementing justice over “democracy” with no woman or heir.

  • Th MZA's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    Fonda's handsome cowboy is a decoy in this police non-procedural, which cares more about how a town creates/enacts its own morality than about a mysterious outsider's disturbance of it. The clash between the older actors' more theatrical styles & Fonda's subtler cinematic acting mirrors the lynch mob's stampede over cooler heads. Wellman's denouement's eye-hiding camera angle shifts shame outward into the audience.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    Excellente et puissante dénonciation, d'une grande profondeur humaine et d'un constant intérêt dramatique, sur le thème crucial de la justice expéditive. Malgré une certaine théâtralité et un dialogue abondant, un superbe chef-d'oeuvre inoubliable qui dépasse largement le cadre du western...

  • CarlosEsquives's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    Áspero western. Wellman, veterano de la Guerra Mundial, pasa por su temporada de cine contestatario, uno que apunta al compromiso antibélico. En este hace reflexión sobre la justicia y la violencia, conceptos que parecen ser una misma comunidad, ambos apuntando hacia un horizonte equivocado. No es gratuito que el director ponga como protagonista a un ex soldado de la armada de EEUU para volverlo un demente justiciero

  • Christopher Taylor's rating of the film The Ox-Bow Incident

    An excellent western about justice and standing up for beliefs. It's slow simple and methodical buildup aids it's simulation of a situation spiraling out of control. Although simple, it is complex. My favorite Henry Fonda performance, never had he ever felt so real, a real man.