The Searchers

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  • Working together for the 12th time, John Wayne and director John Ford forged The Searchers into an indelible image of the frontier and the men and women who challenged it. Wayne plays ex-Confederate soldier Ethan Edwards, a believer more in bullets than in words. He’s seeking his niece, captured by Comanches who massacred his family. He won’t surrender to hunger, thirst, the elements or loneliness

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Working together for the 12th time, John Wayne and director John Ford forged The Searchers into an indelible image of the frontier and the men and women who challenged it. Wayne plays ex-Confederate soldier Ethan Edwards, a believer more in bullets than in words. He’s seeking his niece, captured by Comanches who massacred his family. He won’t surrender to hunger, thirst, the elements or loneliness. And in his obsessive, five-year quest, Ethan encounters something he didn’t … More >>

The Searchers

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5 Comments
  1. Except for the scenery this outdated film and story is almost a waste of time to watch.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. This movie is a classic example of the “cowboy vs. Indians” media push in the United States– which all too often ends up with a skewed, barbaric picture of Native Americans and a completely inaccurate portrayal of Native culture and rituals. Movies like this have the widespread popularity to change or shape public opionion, and in this movie it has done this in the worst way.

    As the cowboys search for their niece who was “kidnapped by Indians,” we are given a cruel vision of Natives…one might be tempted to think that Natives are mystical and grim, seeking to kinap whites and covert them to their “savage ways.” Contrary to this film, I think it’s important to note Native Americans DO NOT kipnap children.

    The kidnapped white children in the film were depicted as insane and animal-like after spending years with the Natives; the viewer knows that it was living with the Natives and their culture that had turned them into such mindless wild creatures. Need I point out the misconceptions? Native culture is not savage and inhumane, and the Native American ways of life will make a white person, in the words of John Wayne, “Like they’re not even white.” Did I mention how this line alone perpetuates the notion that white culture is something orderly and intellectual while Native American culture is chaotic and beastly?

    Native American women, as shown in “The Searchers,” amongst others, are passive and coy; women in the film seem to submit to the white man, and follow him around in ignorant and loving bliss. However, the role of women in Native American cultures is hardly passive; often women make important political and economic decisions, they sometimes held the right of choosing when a tribe will go to battle, and they had profound influence in the farming culture of Native Americans. Native American women were some of the hardest working people in American history. Native women also voted in tribal elections long before the 1920’s. Make no mistake about this one, Native American women are not wooed by the white man’s “superior” ways and will not follow him like an obedient pet. Native American women are strong, and always have been extraordinarily independent from masculinist stereotypes.

    I hope this has been helpful for you. Above all, I think “The Searchers” needs to be treated more as a cultural/hisorical movie than a “great action Western.” The unfortunate part is that this movie tells a profoundly sad and discriminatory story, one which I hope America frees itself from believing.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  3. the indians show up and the one who is apparently to grab the little girl is obviously a white guy with utterly lame ‘indian’ makeup on. I just can’t stand this kind of crap. It’s what makes so many of these old westerns unwatchable. Plus the comic relief ‘old guy’ is pitiful.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  4. I couldn’t believe that this was a real story with real people acting in real ways for a moment. The acting, writing, and directing were as hokey as hokey gets. To hear John Wayne utter his lines is to watch the most one dimensional performance ever, and his characterization is a characature of a tough-guy, bravadolike cowboy. It was like watching Saturday Night Live. The other characitures were equally bad, playing on the most superficial level.

    The story is nothing more than a hodgepodge of western cliches, and no amount of desert sunsets and boulders can rescue this unbelievable, laughable film from the world of make-believe! I couldn’t wait until the film ended because for me it was an ongoing ordeal. Also, It was way too long, with lots of unnecessary subplots–just useless padding!

    Unless you like comic book charicatures–without depth or believability–and cornball dialogue (that you’ve heard in a million other westerns), don’t waste your money on this. Better go with High Noon or Shane, which have believable characters, a courageous hero, a suspenseful story, credible dialogue and are not longer than they should be.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  5. Almost everybody, it seems, thinks this is a masterpiece. Quite frankly, I cannot see why. I won’t bother with how Native Americans are stereotyped, although, from today’s understanding, the movie really gives you a hard time sitting through their comic strip-like portrayal. My main critique is that the characters development is weak. Secondary characters are stereotyped to such a degree that makes the movie almost unbearable. At the end Wayne’s sudden decision not to kill the girl doesn’t really surprises anybody, after all this is Hollywood. But why has he changed his mind? We do not know. What has he learned? The way that he stagers of into the sunset in the movie’s final scene suggests that he hasn’t learned much. He leaves because he is still uncap able of being “social”. Maybe this movie “stood tall” in the 1950s, as one reviewer suggested, but it’s definitely not a must see classic.
    Rating: 1 / 5

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