The Searchers (1956)

2014 #24
John Ford | 114 mins | DVD | 1.85:1 | USA / English | U

The SearchersWesterns don’t come more renowned than this Ford-Wayne collaboration about the years-long hunt for a girl kidnapped by Native Americans.

Alongside the usual Western thrills, peerlessly executed, it touches on themes of obsession and racism in a way deserving of more comment than this. Wayne plays an ‘upstanding’ man with dubious morals; an anti-hero for sure, almost villain at times. Works for me, tallying with my view of him more than a white-hatted paragon would.

Epic in scope without a patience-trying running time, and artistically shot without being tryingly artsy, The Searchers is old-style blockbuster filmmaking of the highest order.

5 out of 5

The Searchers was viewed as part of my What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen…? 2014 project, which you can read more about here.

This review is part of the 100 Films Advent Calendar 2014. Read more here.

In the interests of completing my ever-growing backlog, I decided to post ‘drabble reviews’ of some films. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a drabble is a complete piece of writing exactly 100 words long. You’ve just read one.

2 thoughts on “The Searchers (1956)

  1. (in a hushed whisper) I haven’t seen this film, shame on me. Have intended to for years. One day…

    Its funny how many ‘classics’ somehow remain on to-watch lists, isn’t it? Too many fantastic Transformers films get in the way. Now that is a depressing thought…


    • Sometimes I look back at all the crap I’ve watched (half of which I knew would be crap before I even watched it), and all the stuff I’ve yet to see, and wonder what the hell I’m doing. But I suppose what you actually watch depends on your mood that day, etc.

      A couple of years ago Edgar Wright curated a season of films in LA (I think) that he’d never seen but that his fans recommended he should. There were a series of posts on his blog about it at the time, where he also discussed the notion that being a film fan was a life-long ‘task’ — i.e. why rush to see everything; isn’t it almost nice that there are great, classic movies that you’ve not got round to; that are still there to look forward to. It’s quite a positive way of thinking about it. I reckon it’s better to wait a little and savour the greats, rather than burn through them in a feverish marathon, like a fair few young wannabe-cinephiles seem to do (only spurred on by sites like iCheckMovies, where some people seem obsessed with merely being able to say they’ve ticked everything off).


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