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  • U
  • Action, Drama
  • 1939
  • 99 mins


Film4 Stagecoach


John Ford's landmark western starring a young chap called John Wayne. Wonder what ever happened to him?


John Wayne guns down the Apaches in John Ford's rip-roaring Western about a mixed coachload of stock characters - the tart with a heart of gold, the whisky-slugging doctor, the prudish small-town woman - dodging the attacks of Geronimo and his friends.

In taking an ensemble cast on a perilous journey across back-projected landscapes, Ford anticipates the slew of 1970s disaster movies that sent complements of stars on similarly dangerous trips. But here the notion seems as fresh as a prairie daisy. The politics, however, were as naive and thoughtless then as they are now, and demonstrate the director's unblinking attachment to a mythical version of 19th-century American history: a comforting dream from which, in the 1960s and 1970s, audiences were forced to awake.

But heck, this is 1939, so love the thing for what it is: the maiden voyage of a celebrated cliche - with a climax that's one of the great masterpieces of editing.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Thomas Mitchell, John Wayne, John Carradine, Andy Devine, Donald Meek, Claire Trevor
  • Director: John Ford
  • Screen Writer: Dudley Nichols
  • Producer: Walter Wanger
  • Photographer: Bert Glennon
  • Composer: Gerard Carbonara

In a nutshell

Modern movies began here.

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