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The Searchers (1956)

John Wayne , Jeffrey Hunter , John Ford  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (690 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood
  • Directors: John Ford
  • Writers: Alan Le May, Frank S. Nugent
  • Producers: Merian C. Cooper, Patrick Ford
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 29, 1997
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (690 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304696566
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,552 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Searchers" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Warner Bros. Presents: 4 Documentary Shorts

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A favorite film of some of the world's greatest filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, John Ford's The Searchers has earned its place in the legacy of great American films for a variety of reasons. Perhaps most notably, it's the definitive role for John Wayne as an icon of the classic Western--the hero (or antihero) who must stand alone according to the unwritten code of the West. The story takes place in Texas in 1868; Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a Confederate veteran who visits his brother and sister-in-law at their ranch and is horrified when they are killed by marauding Comanches. Ethan's search for a surviving niece (played by young Natalie Wood) becomes an all-consuming obsession. With the help of a family friend (Jeffrey Hunter) who is himself part Cherokee, Ethan hits the trail on a five-year quest for revenge. At the peak of his masterful talent, director Ford crafts this classic tale as an embittered examination of racism and blind hatred, provoking Wayne to give one of the best performances of his career. As with many of Ford's classic Westerns, The Searchers must contend with revisionism in its stereotypical treatment of "savage" Native Americans, and the film's visual beauty (the final shot is one of the great images in all of Western culture) is compromised by some uneven performances and stilted dialogue. Still, this is undeniably one of the greatest Westerns ever made. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

CLASSIC WESTERN ABOUT A MAN ON THE TRAIL OF THE INDIANS WHO SLAUGHTERED HIS FAMILY.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
223 of 242 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Even if you've never seen John Ford's THE SEARCHERS, you will have, undoubtedly, seen a film that owes it's 'style' to the film. DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES, UNFORGIVEN, JEREMIAH JOHNSON, and OPEN RANGE are just a few westerns that have 'borrowed' from it, but THE SEARCHERS' impact transcends the genre, itself; STAR WARS, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE LAST SAMURAI, even THE LORD OF THE RINGS have elements that can be traced back to Ford's 1956 'intimate' epic. When you add the fact that THE SEARCHERS also contains John Wayne's greatest performance to the film's merits, it becomes easy to see why it is on the short list of the greatest motion pictures ever made.
The plot is deceptively simple; after a Comanche raiding party massacres a family, taking the youngest daughter prisoner, her uncle, Ethan Edwards (Wayne), and adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), begin a long quest to try and rescue her. Over the course of years, a rich tapestry of characters and events unfold, as the nature of the pair's motives are revealed, and bigoted, bitter Edwards emerges as a twisted man bent on killing the 'tainted' white girl. Only Pawley's love of his 'sister' and determination to protect her stands in his way, making the film's climax, and Wayne's portrayal of Edwards, an unforgettable experience.
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161 of 181 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie, terrible "remastering" September 20, 2006
Format:DVD
This is a review of the "Ultimate Collector's Edition," NOT a review of the film itself. If you're considering the purchase of a two-disc special edition, you probably already know that the film is great; you just want to know if this slick package is worth the pricetag.

In short, it's not. And let me be absolutely clear about one thing: I have known and loved this film for years. A few sequences look properly spectacular, but after watching this DVD on two separate (and high-quality) televisions, I'm amazed that all of the low-light scenes have been rendered almost completely dark. Like, too dark to tell what's even *happening*. For instance, the scene where Brad (Harry Carey, Jr.) runs off to his death, the scene where Marty's (Jeffrey Hunter's) "bride" is serving coffee along the river, and even the pre-dawn scenes leading up to the final storming of the Comanche camp, are utterly lost in the dark. By contrast, the bare-bones 1997 DVD release features noticeably richer colors in the daytime scenes and total clarity in the low-light scenes I've just mentioned. Don't waste your money on this special edition; you'll be much happier if you just shell out the $10.99 for the 1997 release.
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108 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unquestionably John Wayne's Best Film July 22, 2005
Format:DVD
On this site there are over 100 fan-reviews of this movie, and many tell the plot in great detail, therefore, my reivew will be short and sweet. With the great John Ford directing, John Wayne starring, and a superb story line - all this adds up to a 5-star movie if there ever was one! You cannot go wrong buying this DVD - it delivers!

Now considered possibly the greatest weatern movie of all-time, "The Searchers" was panned by the critics of its day for being just another "ho-hum" John Wayne western. It took years, but modern critics and viewers now recognize it as an epic of western filmmaking that perhaps will never be topped. If I had to choose one movie that represented the best of the west, it is undoubtedly "The Searchers".

John Wayne gives his most intense acting performance as the dark and vengeful Ethan Edwards, who vows to kill the Commanche raiders that murdered his beloved sister-in-law, brother, and took captive two of their daughters. Wayne easily carries the film on his broad brooding shoulders, pursuing the Indians for over 5 years through summer and winter, ever relentless to see their chief, "Scar", dead, and his captive nieces rescued.

Director John Ford is at the height of his creative powers in directing this western masterpiece. He weaves so many different themes and levels of interpretation into the film, that one discovers something new with each viewing. It would take a small treatise to bring out all the subtle details.

Succinctly and to the point, "The Searchers" is a film that you will watch again and again, and love it each time a bit more. It is that absolute best in western filmmaking!

Jim Konedog Koenig
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Ford January 21, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
As "The Searchers" approaches the half-century mark, this 1956 film may fail to conect with modern viewers. Indeed, the old fashioned acting styles are jarring and the film's racial themes seem like old business.
Nonetheless, when seen in the context of its time and to other films around it, it stands tall.
As much as any Ford film, "The Searchers" is a story about a family reunited, a theme to which Ford returned time and again. But in no other Ford film is that theme played out at such a tremendous emotional and spiritual cost.
The implication that Debbie is Ethan's daughter and not his niece comes from Ford and not Alan LeMay's original story. By giving us a date--1868--in the opening fade, then belaboring the exposition of Debbie's age, Ethan's long absence, the barely suppressed tenderness Ethan displays toward Martha and his guilty uneasiness with his brother, it is not hard to do the math. Debbie is Ethan's daughter.
As the theme of family plays out, there is repeated discussion about what constitutes blood kin, especially regarding Marty, who was once "saved" by Ethan, just as Ethan will "save" Debbie. Ethan discounts Marty's entire existence because Marty is one-eighth Cherokee.
Conversely, Ethan endures an epic search for Debbie because she is not only kin and perhaps his last remaining relative, but in fact his daughter. The thought both motivates and crazes Ethan.
Whether Ford decided to hide this dramatic construct because 1950's morality would have disapproved the overt depiction of an illegitimate child (especially in a horse opera!) or because the idea simply served to motivate Ford through the movie is unimportant.
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