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86% Liked It
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Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, Thomas Mitchell, George Bancroft

Although there were Westerns before it, Stagecoach quickly became a template for all movie Westerns to come. Director John Ford combined action, drama, humor, and a set of well-drawn characters in the... read more read more... story of a stagecoach set to leave Tonto, New Mexico for a distant settlement in Lordsburg, with a diverse set of passengers on board. Dallas (Claire Trevor) is a woman with a scandalous past who has been driven out of town by the high-minded ladies of the community. Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt) is the wife of a cavalry officer stationed in Lordsburg, and she's determined to be with him. Hatfield (John Carradine) is a smooth-talking cardsharp who claims to be along to "protect" Lucy, although he seems to have romantic intentions. Dr. Boone (Thomas Mitchell) is a self-styled philosopher, a drunkard, and a physician who's been stripped of his license. Mr. Peacock (Donald Meek) is a slightly nervous whiskey salesman (and, not surprisingly, Dr. Boone's new best friend). Gatewood (Berton Churchill) is a crooked banker who needs to get out of town. Buck (Andy Devine) is the hayseed stage driver, and Sheriff Wilcox (George Bancroft) is along to offer protection and keep an eye peeled for the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), a well-known outlaw who has just broken out of jail. While Wilcox does find Ringo, a principled man who gives himself up without a fight, the real danger lies farther down the trail, where a band of Apaches, led by Geronimo, could attack at any time. Stagecoach offers plenty of cowboys, Indians, shootouts, and chases, aided by Yakima Canutt's remarkable stunt work and Bert Glennon's majestic photography of Ford's beloved Monument Valley. It also offers a strong screenplay by Dudley Nichols with plenty of room for the cast to show its stuff. John Wayne's performance made him a star after years as a B-Western leading man, and Thomas Mitchell won an Oscar for what could have been just another comic relief role. Thousands of films have followed Stagecoach's path, but no has ever improved on its formula. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Id: 10895646

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Recent Reviews

  • February 17, 2014
    How riveting it is to get immersed in this classic influential Western that is not only entertaining and exciting but above all a sincere story that always rings true with its unforgettable gallery of three-dimensional characters who grow on us to make us really care for them.
  • October 29, 2013
    A stagecoach containing a disparate assortment of characters comes under Indian attack. John Ford revolutionized the genre with this beautifully crafted western and John Wayne was catapulted to stardom for his performance as the vengeance seeking gunfighter caught up in defending... read more a group of strangers. But for me, the film is all about Thomas Mitchell as his preferred typecast of intellectual drunkard although it's one of many wonderful performances as the faultless cast represent a hugely likeable bunch and offer Ford an opportunity to highlight social prejudices. The message is to never judge a book by its cover as outlaws can be honourable, "fallen women" can be thoughtful and considerate, drunks can be courageous and respected gentlemen can be crooks. Also featuring some ground breaking stuntwork, this story has been remade many times and its influence can be seen in everything from the work of Akira Kurosawa to The Breakfast Club and it still stands up as one of the very best of the genre.
  • November 3, 2012
    I realize that my review is going to be considered controversial, but listen, this is all just my opinion.

    I do love westerns. They are an American institution, and, by and large, have proven to be perhaps the only genre films that are truly uniquely American.

    Having said that,... read more this film is overrated. Yes, it wasn't the first western, but it pretty much defined the genre and set the standard for basically every film to follow for the new few decades until revisionism hit starting in the late 60s. This put both John Ford and John Wayne on the map, making icons and legends out of them, but c'mon, if you strip away all of the historical, culutral, and aesthetic significances, and ignore the film's influence and legacy, it's really not all that special or interesting.

    Don't get me wrong, it's good, but it really hasn't held up that well. Perhaps I'd feel a lot differently had this been the first western I ever saw, but since it is so old, and things have changed so much since then, I can't help but kinda take this for granted by default.

    The plot follows nine travelers thrust together on the titular vehicle as they make their way across the west through the dangerous Apache Territory, and how they must all band together if they want to survive. Okay, so fine, the plot's not much, but the performances do slightly make up for it, and yeah, it looks decent, and the music is really good, and the stunts and action are okay, but I can't let myself get swept up in everything and give this one a high rating by default. I'll admit that I've done that sort of thing in the past, and maybe I need to be more honest and make some reconsiderations, but for now, with this one, I'm standing my ground and saying that yes, while this is a landmark film, it's not a masterpiece when taken solely on its own terms.
  • November 27, 2011
    A motley group of people travel through dangerous "Indian country" (isn't it all supposed to be Indian country?).
    As I watched this film, I found myself wondering the characters were cliches in 1939 because then I might have found something fresh and original about John Ford's fi... read morelm. But in 2011, I found everything predictable with the exception of the doctor's eventual heroism.
    Overall, I don't feel qualified to give an educated opinion on this film; I'm trying to like Westerns, but this film feels like a racist (Natives are, of course, depicted as wild, savage, malevolent forces) cliche. I can't be the only one who thinks that, but judging from the critics' and Super Reviewers' raves, I must be.
  • November 19, 2011
    Ringo Kid: You may need me and this Winchester, Curly. Saw a ranch house burnin' last night. 

    "A Powerful Story Of 9 Strange People."

    Stagecoach is among my three favorite westerns of all-time with Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Stagecoach is t... read morehe most significant of the three because it was the first. It opened the door for Leone and his Western epics. Stagecoach also made John Wayne an American hero and a household name. The film is fun, insightful and incredibly well made. It holds up really well for being made over seventy years ago. John Ford directed a masterpiece and the first real classic Western.

    The story is obviously that of a stagecoach that is going through rough territory. It is rumored that Apache's loom not to far and the characters always keep those savages on the viewers minds by always talking about them. We don't see the Apache's for a long time, but we always feel them. The stagecoach holds some great characters. There's a gambler, a drunk doctor, a pregnant woman, a business man, a liquor man, two drivers and Ringo Kid and his love interest. 

    Ringo is the most interesting of all these interesting characters. He has just broken out of the prison and is set on having his revenge on some brothers who killed his family. He isn't a bad guy. He is well mannered while in the presence of ladies and is an overall nice guy. He isn't the type of gunslinger we normally see, that kills because he enjoys it. 

    There are many conflicts in the movie. There's the obvious one, that being the Apache's. There is also a portion of the movie where the passengers are stuck in a location because one of the women has just given birth. They know the Apache's are nearby and have to decide whether to stay and let the woman and her baby rest or whether to high tail it out of there and risk the woman and baby's health. The doctor is always drunk and a few of the other characters are always fighting. The passengers must band together in the end if they want to survive.

    There is much more drama then anything else in Stagecoach. It is all drama for the first hour plus, then we finally get the action we have been anticipating the entire film. That isn't to say that the first part of the movie is boring, because it is anything but. The whole movie is a complete masterpiece and a movie that is an absolute must see.
  • November 12, 2011
    Don't just think that this is just another John Ford film. It's also not merely the movie that brought John Wayne to the attention of the entire world. No, the release of Stagecoach gives birth to the modern day western as we know it. Wonderfully acted with a wide array of colorf... read moreul characters, beautifully filmed (as always, of course), and impeccably made from beginning to end, it's another feather in the hat of one of film's visionary pioneers. With a sort of a road movie mentality to it, the story itself is fun and interesting. It does get a little dramatic at some points, but thankfully we've invested in the characters enough to be caught up in it. This is definitely a landmark film and not to be missed.
  • fb1664868775
    October 27, 2011
    Ford's early masterpiece boasts Wayne's first great performance and a stand out performance from Thomas Mitchell as Doc Boone.
  • June 21, 2010
    For me, this is what I would consider the first western classic. It also happens to be one of the most revolutionary and influential westerns and movies period. John Ford not only brings together an action packed story with sequences that puts anything before it to shame, but he ... read morealso brought timeless characters together. While it?s not his first movie, this is definitely the movie that made John Wayne the legend he is today. The Ringo Kid is a figure that will never go away, resembling the true western hero. As far as I?m concerned, this is more of a start to modern film making than Citizen Kane was, winning the hearts of millions and telling a story on a scale that had never been done before.
  • May 13, 2010
    Director John Ford's "Stagecoach" is often regarded as his first great western, as well as John Wayne's first big, break-out starring role. The story is simple enough: a group of disparate passengers on a stagecoach must travel through indian country while Geronimo is on the war... read morepath. The passengers include a washed-up, alcoholic doctor and a "fallen" woman who've been run out of town; a soldier's wife who is looking to find her husband; a southern gentleman (who is also a gambler and a gunslinger) who goes along for the ride, just to "protect" the lady; a bank manager who's stolen the payroll, and a traveling liquor salesman (much to the delight of the doctor, who at one point lovingly/drunkenly strokes his cheek). There's also a character named "The Ringo Kid" (Wayne) that they pick up out on the trail, but more as the sheriff's prisoner than passenger (there's a bounty on his head as he'd been feuding with the men who killed his family). At first, the stagecoach is escorted by the calvary, but due to Geronimo's activity in the area, all military must be diverted from the non-essential jobs. As the stagecoach travels from town to town, the more apparent it becomes they are on their own, as the threat of indian attack looms ever larger (Geronimo is at the forethought of everyone's minds). And yet, even the threat of death doesn't dissuade some from their societal predjudices as Dallas, the fallen woman, continues to be treated as an outcast. Only Ringo has enough compassion to see beyond her status and find her worthy of friendship (and possibly more). Stagecoach has all the elements that go into making a great western, and a tense, action-filled climax that stands up to any action sequence from any era. Stagecoach manages to follow several western conventions without ever falling into predictability.
  • March 30, 2010
    Stagecoach is the granddaddy of all westerns and a pretty solid movie full of great characters and greater direction by John Ford. The cast was fantastic in the archetypal story about a diverse group of travelers trying to get through dangerous territory to safety. I never though... read moret I'd live to see the day where I praise John Wayne, but he was astounding in his breakthrough role as the Ringo Kid. Claire Trevor was gorgeous as Dallas and there wasn't an actor (or actress) out of place in the well-chosen cast. The last act or after the Apache battle/chase (which for 1939 was extremely well done) was probably the weakest part but with each of Ford's movies I see I kick myself a little harder each time for not seeing it sooner.

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