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4,649 Ratings

The Searchers

Directed by John Ford
United States, 1956
Western, Drama


A revered Western about a Civil War veteran who embarks on a dangerous journey deep into Indian territory to find his neice after members of his family are killed or abducted by Comanches. However, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable.

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The Searchers Directed by John Ford

Awards & Festivals

Village Voice Film Poll

1999 | Nominee: Best Film of the Century

Directors Guild of America

1957 | Nominee: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

Golden Globes (USA)

1958 | Winner: Most Promising Newcomer - Male

What are people saying?

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film The Searchers

    The main character played by John Wayne is a bit of a racist. He calls the guy he works with a half-breed and a blanket head. If you're a woman taken by the Native Americans, then they probably want to shoot you, because you've been ruined. I think the rhyme is "Once you go native, we'll leave you vegetative."

  • Kamran's rating of the film The Searchers

    A brilliant use of light and shadow, interior and exterior, to channel the inner plight of its morally ambiguous lead characters. A psychological tour de force with great entertainment value and sensitively placed levity. It's only crutch is both its inherent and blatant racism. 90/100 - Amazing.

  • smndvdcl's rating of the film The Searchers

    Wayne is the alpha male racist sexist whose acclaim has always felt undeserved. However, I'm aware that Ford's Searchers inverts many of these typical Western tropes through directorial self-reflection. I engage much more with 'Shane' and 'High Noon', but can appreciate objectively the significance of this tale as genre-defining. Zizek's analysis converted me to a favourable revisionist 3 stars for this one.

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film The Searchers

    Yes it's racist but I don't feel like this film is trying to hide this fact. If anything, it's a search for the origin of this hatred. It paints the image of a man who wants to change but simply can't let of go his past and change for the future. Even the ending which originally felt out of place to me seems to indicate that Martin's killing of Scar has, in a way, freed Ethan of his blinding rage against his daughter

  • Jordan Kaltz's rating of the film The Searchers

    constant awkward tonal shifts and painfully irritating characters. it's racist as hell, to the point where it's impossible to connect with the (half-baked) story as every few minutes something even more offensive happens/is said. on top of all that it is just boring and good for nothing but the landscapes (and that says a lot more about the beauty of monument valley than john ford's direction or winton hoch's photog)

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film The Searchers

    This may be the big canonical classic I'm most conflicted about, especially since I've seen it described as the Great American Movie when I'm not even sure it's the Great John Ford Movie. But it's an auteurist classic—if you accept the stiff genre elements as a given, you're left with stunning cinematic lyricism and deep moral ambiguity. Some of it is traditions I wish America could shake. The rest is a masterpiece.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film The Searchers

    A film about a country with no path, a country living in a false idea of morality, a country of cowboys and indians, a country that lives its present through an idea of future without the pillars of the past. It might be light-hearted at moments, but the cynicism will be forever haunting.

  • T. J. Harman's rating of the film The Searchers

    One of Ford's best films, in spite of the racism and broad comedy, the strengths over power those flaws if you can be forgiving. Saw this on the big screen at a revival recently. You loose so much of the technicolor widescreen shots of the Valley on the small screen. Great ending unlike Wayne's other best film: Howard Hawk's Red River which is almost undone by its ending.

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