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Cheyenne Autumn [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Sal Mineo, Dolores del Rio
  • Directors: John Ford
  • Writers: Howard Fast, James R. Webb, Mari Sandoz
  • Producers: John Ford, Bernard Smith
  • Format: Full Screen, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: July 22, 1994
  • Run Time: 154 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302450179
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Cheyenne Autumn is a beautiful title to grace John Ford's final Western, but the film falls short of the occasion. The great director's ambition to tell the story, for once, from the Indians' point of view is only partially fulfilled. He's unambiguously sympathetic to the Cheyennes' resolve to bolt the reservation and trek back to their ancestral lands, while most of white society, the military, the bureaucracy, and the sensationalist press come off as insensitive, foolish, or downright hateful. However, the Cheyenne are nobly wooden (and played by non-Indians), and it's sympathetic cavalry officer Richard Widmark and Quaker missionary Carroll Baker through whose eyes most of the epic narrative unfolds. The video release restores the entirety of the caustic Dodge City interlude (featuring James Stewart as a thoroughly disreputable Wyatt Earp)--truncated after the New York roadshow opening--but William H. Clothier's majestic Panavision compositions have yet to be letterboxed. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

If you like westerns, this is the one.
William Dakota
His films did not take the "savage" approach to the American Indian, but always treated the tribes as the professional light cavalry that they were.
Daryl R. Gibson
I can't decide whether it's insulting or just laughable.
John Flora

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Judith Kovar on July 2, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I bought this vcr tape a few months ago. Sure the movie is NOT all correct for Cheyenne dress and habits but John Ford did bring the Cheyenne's plight and disgraceful treatment to the big screen. I view the movie at least once a month and never get tired of it. Excellent movie and beautiful scenes in the movie. Wish John Ford was alive to direct another such movie!
This Northern Cheyenne give this movie 5 stars and a thumbs up.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Reginald D. Garrard VINE VOICE on July 19, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Legendary director John Ford's last film, while not as good as earlier efforts, does possess some striking photography, a brilliant Alex North score, and good acting. Stalwart Richard Widmark does well as the cavalryman with a conscious; Karl Malden is fine as the duty-bound fort commander; and Edward G. Robinson does his patented perfection as a politician who tries to placate the situation. Even the politically incorrect casting of non-Indians Ricardo Montalban, Delores Del Rio, Sal Mineo, and Gilbert Roland can be excused as a sign of the film making times. Veteran character actor Sean McClory is also quite memorable as the fort doctor who confronts Captain Malden about the mistreatment of the Indian prisoners.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Grigory's Girl on February 9, 2007
Format: DVD
This is John Ford's last Western, and a film in which he tries to make amends for (in some films) his rather shabby treatment of Native Americans. It is not a typical Ford Western, though. Yes, it's filmed in Monumental Valley, and it boasts some of the greatest cinemtography ever in a Ford film. Yet, it seems rambling, even disjointed at times. It is Ford's longest work (clocking in at, for Ford at least, a long 158 minutes), and it feels like it could have used a little editing. There isn't much humour in it, except for the Dodge City episode, which is awkwardly inserted into the middle of the film. It really seems out of place because the rest of the film is very serious with very little comic relief included. But the episode itself is actually one of Ford's funniest scenes EVER. The banter between James Stewart, Burt Kennedy, John Carradine, and Elizabeth Allen is hilarious. The scene was originally cut out of the initial theatrical version, but then later restored for VHS/DVD releases. Ford seems to be trying something new here, but just not getting it right. This film is missing the poetry that is in many of his other Westerns. The film comes across as rather preachy, ponderous, and lumbering (even though the subject matter is definitely important). Tag Gallagher's book on Ford, he states that Ford wanted to cast actual Native Americans in the roles of Montalban, Mineo, and Roland, treating them like a Greek Chorus unable to communicate with the whites. This idea was rejected by the producers of the film. He reportedly didn't care for Alex North's score, either. Ford films always had a more traditional, folk tinged score that was used sparingly throughout his films. North's score underscores almost every scene, here. It is nice, however, to see this film widescreen.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2007
Format: DVD
Common wisdom has it that Cheyenne Autumn is a well-intentioned failure, and while his last Western is certainly far from John Ford's best, it is one of those films that becomes more impressive on repeated viewings. Although seen by many as an apologist epic made as an act of contrition by Ford for so many decades of stereotyping Native Americans, he always denied this, and it has to be said that, Two Rode Together apart, his Westerns generally had a bit more respect for the various tribes than his contemporaries. Instead its appeal seems partially as a good yarn, albeit one compromised by budgetary concerns, and one of his sporadic shots at an important message picture with a social conscience. Although it's not an unqualified success, his often spectacular retelling of the Cheyenne tribe's epic trek from their rundown reservation back to their original homeland has a lot to recommend it. While it's hard today to see the main Cheyenne characters played by the likes of Sal Mineo and a predominantly Latin-American cast - Ricardo Montalban, Dolores Del Rio and Gilbert Roland among them - and have most of the film seen through the eyes of white characters like Richard Widmark's conflicted cavalry officer, Carroll Baker's school ma'am and many familiar faces from the Ford stock company (including a surprisingly unbilled Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr in virtual reprises of their Rio Grande roles), it was a major achievement at the time to even tell a story about the callous treatment of the Native American tribes: feelbad epics had never been a good bet at the box-office.

Certainly at times you get the feeling that Warner Bros. were trying to save money wherever possible.
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Format: DVD
John Ford dealt with one of the long-lasting Indian tragedies in his "Cheyenne Autumn," the wasting away of a tribe in an uncongenial pen called a reservation and its efforts to take matters into its own hands...

Indians, to use a modern term, had become redundant; that was their true tragedy... They were unwanted in what the whites wanted to make of the West and so they were 'placed' and disposed of, thereby suffering the usual 'superfluous' maladies of physical and moral debilitation... Here they are portrayed as the victims of insensitive herding...

The Cheyennes--1,500 miles away in Oklahoma from their Yellowstone home--had seen their numbers depleted from one thousand to less than three hundred in the course of a disease-ridden year... With these sorts of statistics it was as much a matter of simple logic as an act of desperation when they upped and left one night, bound on foot for their old hunting grounds, probably knowing full well that the cavalry would make them hurry, as they did, all the way... An epic in real life. Would the master epic-maker match it? In purely visual terms the answer was 'yes'. Ford vivid1y depicted the starvation and disease plaguing the Cheyenne trek... But somehow Ford never wholly got to the heart of the matter although the intent was there and at times this is a most impressive and moving film...

Carroll Baker appears as a Quaker teacher who tries in vain to he1p the unfortunate migrants... Richard Widmark is the army captain who is as sympathetic as uniform allows, and Arthur Kennedy is razor-sharp in his impersonation of Doc Holliday, who, with Stewart's Earp, is drafted into leading a posse against the Indians... Stewart deliberately re-routes them and the Indians get away... Edward G. Robinson plays a humane and kindly Secretary of the Interior who helps bail out the unlucky Cheyenne.
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Topic From this Discussion
Warners Brothers!!! Release this independently!!!
Little History lesson about Cheyenne Autumn....It is the last western that John Ford made
Sep 16, 2010 by Movieman |  See all 2 posts
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