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The Searchers
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Product Description

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

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

Customer Reviews:

  • Great Movie, Excellent extras
    This is such a wonderful film with a well done Blu-Ray transfer. The extras are well done and really add to the film. Highly recommended!...more info
  • Good Movie/Great Quality
    Very good movie but I was very impressed with the quality of the picture, especially considering the age of the movie. I plan to purchase more "classic" movies in HD-DVD because of the quality of the ones I've seen. (Note: you need an HD-DVD Player to view movie)...more info
  • Greatest Western Ever Made
    John Wayne should have been the unanimous OScar winner for his role as Ethan Edwards. It is John Wayne as you never ever see him and he delivers the best western performance ever. That stare as he whirls around to look at the white girl rescused by the cavalry is what acting is all about. Hands down my favorite Western ever made and easily one of the greatest films ever done. Great job by John Ford and the cast including great turns by Jeffrey Hunter, Ken Lucas and the great Ward Bond. Treat yourself and by the Special Edition boxed set....more info
  • Wayne and Ford
    Probably the Duke's greatest film. A large scale epic of a quest by Ford with Wayne tracking his lost niece -- after Indians raid her home and kill her family. Aided by Jeffrey Hunter, this a truly monumental motion picture and not simply one of the greatest westerns ever made. Wayne's character is a man who truly loses everything -- best exemplified by the final scene....more info
  • Not Perfect But Still A Classic
    A sure sign of "The Searchers'" greatness is the array of thoughtful comments here. It is complex, and enigmatic, enough to inspire widely differing views, and the substantive reviews add welcome insights. It is among the greatest Westerns, and the primal AntiWestern; Ford and Wayne's supreme collaboration; and the first half, through the winter homecoming scene, is simply as good as filmmaking gets. (Monument Valley deserves a special Supporting Oscar; such astonishing vistas transcend mere backdrop.) John Wayne is at his peak, though "True Grit," "Shootist" and "Stagecoach" rival this among his best. It is not uniformly brilliant; as many note, the second half drags with a romantic subplot and is no longer very funny. But these scenes reflect Ford's conception of community; its very mundaneness highlights outcast Ethan's problematic character. As a product of its time we may deplore its racial and gender stereotyping; these aspects do not date well and keep it from being in the same class as, say "Seven Samurai" which eternally satisfies on all levels. It's still a remarkable realization of a filmmaker's vision. John Ford's best works often have a core scene which, sans dialogue and solely through visual/musical imagery, sums up the whole film while saying something profound about the human condition. In both "Grapes of Wrath" and "Searchers" these miniatures come near the start and are absolute gems. With so much to absorb, repeat viewings help to grasp its depth; critics in the 1950s clearly missed a lot. But enough profundity! An entertaining film and a great way to spend an evening....more info
  • Old time favorite
    Glad that I was able to purchase this movie, adding it to my cowboy collection....more info
  • John Wayne Little Celebrated, but Wonderful Film!!
    I Love this Movie. It's my favorite John Wayne ovie. My Dad loves John Wayne and I watched this with him this year. I had to buy it immediately. Great story line, not all guns blazing. Fully developed characters and some humor as well. Can't miss with this one. ...more info
  • the silhouette of a woman
    The first image in The Searches is the silhouette of a woman who is standing in the cool, dark doorway of a frontier cabin and looking out into the searing heat and sun of the desert. As she stoically waits, a man rides up, wearily dismounts, and walks slowly toward her. We are in John Ford country, and all the elements are there. Pictorially, it is a scene of stark contrasts, light in conflict with dark, interior pitted against exterior, the figures sharply etched in their solitude, the implacable outlines of a harsh environment looming behind them. The people are dramatic, larger than life, and what happens to them has the force and fatality of history recorded on the screen...more info
  • Outstanding hi-def version of an outstanding film.
    "The Searchers" ranks with the finest films of the twentieth century, and of course with John Ford's very best westerns. This Blu-Ray disc is the best home video version yet. The hi-def transfer is extraordinary, and very close to the 35mm print version I saw when the film was restored and re-released in the early 90s. Color, sharpness, and picture stability are right on the money.

    If you love American film, don't miss this disc....more info
  • A classic western
    This has to be one of the best westerns ever filmed. The acting is excellent, and the scenery is some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. Monument Valley is where this movie was filmed, and all thru this movie, the scenery is spectacular. Great story, and great film....more info
  • Ford and John Wayne do it again
    The Searchers is not your "typical" John Wayne Western. Sure - it is a cowboy movie that is directed by John Ford, and includes a simple story to follow. After the murder and kidnapping of a family member, the Duke and his buddy go searching for the culprits. In this case, a group of Indians led by a chief named Scar are to blame. But, the Searchers is different because John Wayne is much more intense in this role than others. Despite some slow parts in the plot, the Duke pulls off the role with vigor. Also, a few social issues are included as well.

    Normally I would give this movie five stars, but I simply did not enjoy it as much as some other John Wayne westerns that I have seen. While I think it is worth watching, not sure it is not quite a five-star classic. If you like Westerns, you will most likely enjoy this one. Although be prepared for a different type character than the Duke typically portrays. ...more info
  • Best western ever made
    John Ford's THE SEARCHERS is by far one of the best western films ever made. The style of the cinematography is awesome the way it shows the beauty of the the American southwest. Buy this movie, you will not be disappointed. ...more info
  • Moving listings - general
    As a HOH (Hard of Hearing) Individual, I need to know if this
    movie is captioned (marked "CC" or "Q."...more info
  • Seek & Destroy
    Considered by many to be the greatest western of all time, and even a contender for the greatest FILM of all time, I'm hesitant to rate this any lower than 5 Stars. However, there are some negative aspects of this film that need to be addressed.


    What Works:

    John Wayne's monumental performance as the racist, obsessive loner Ethan Edwards. Unable to make any connections with friends or family, Ethan devotes all his energy to finding his kidnapped niece. As time passes he slightly alters his mission to "Search and Destroy" because he figures she's been sleeping with the Commanches.


    The beautiful scenery of John Ford's favorite location- Monument Valley. Absolutely breathtaking.


    What Doesn't Work:

    Some of the supporting cast (Ford's normally dependable stock company) comes off as rather annoying. Ken Curtis being the biggest offender with his comic accent.


    The scene which involves Martin's temporary Indian bride whom both Ethan and Martin cruelly mistreat. When Martin kicks her down the hill for a laugh will probably not fly with modern audiences. [Like me]

    Another scene that I can't stand is the comic wedding fight between Martin and Charlie (Ken Curtis) On the one hand; I like Ford's use of dances to symbolize community and family. Having the two wandering men come home from the wilderness to the festive celebration is a nice contrast, but the emphasis on Ken Curtis and the ensuing fight is unfortunate for a film of this caliber. Infact that whole love triangle proved to be a major distraction.

    -----


    The Searchers is certainly a masterpiece, but there are uneven bits of comic relief that drag the film down. When i watch this film I always skip these scenes with the remote, which makes for a far more satisfying experience.


    Also I highly recommend the Ultimate Collector's Edition. Or for a few dollars more, just buy the John Ford/John Wayne boxset which includes the Searchers, Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and more.

    ...more info
  • First, they should have paid attention to the dog.
    The Searchers DVD

    This is John Wayne( the Duke) at his best in a John Ford film about a man whose niece ( Natalie Wood) was capture by the Comanch. It is based on the novel The Searchers, which I have not read.

    It , also , stars Ward Bond as a feisty preacher and head of the local Rangers. A couple of side comments.

    First, they should have paid attention to the dog.

    Second, do you really think the Indians were stupid enough to identify their chiefs with that elaborate headdress? The last army I can think of that did that ( identify their leaders ) was the British in the American Revolutionary War and they learned not to do that around American Sharpshooters

    Third, did you know that Texas hated the Indians so bad that they killed or drove out every last one of them? There are no Indian Reservations in Texas.

    I thought I was in Love with Nartalie Wood when I was growing up. Ain't she special?


    Highly recommended for fans of the Classic western, John Wayne , and Natalie wood.

    Gunner February 2,008
    ...more info
  • A True Classic
    Earlier reviewers have hit the nail on the head with this movie so there is not point in re-stating things. This is a wonderful movie, timeless classic. Any serious movie buff should have this one in their collection. ...more info
  • Essential Cinema
    Monument Valley rarely looked better in this VistaVision restoration of John Ford's disturbing Western epic. Though not without its minor flaws, "The Searchers" (1956) is propelled by John Wayne's ambiguous, complex performance as the embittered Ethan Edwards - his best work for the legendary director. The Ford stock company acquits itself admirably. Winton C. Hoch's cinematography deserved an Oscar for this powerful and remarkably influential film....more info
  • Pleasantly Surprised
    I've avoided this movie for years, but I was plasantly surprised when I finally viewed it. Most people talk about the complexity of John Wayne's character, but I disagree. I feel he wasn't complex at all.... just a cut and dried racist. Near the end of the movie he did become a little complex, but I think it was just a matter of conscience. What I really liked about the movie was the storyline and the scenery. ONe of my favorite movies is The Color Purple and there were scenes in The Searchers that I'm almost certain Speilberg had to have copied for the Color Purple. Especially the shot of the family on the porch at the beginning of the movie. It was so reminiscent of one of the final scenes in the Color Purple. ...more info
  • Fantastic Movie - STUNNING HD
    You've seen the reviews for the all-time classic movie itself and I totally concur. It is John Wayne and John Ford at their finest hour. But you might have some preconception that this is one of those grainy, old films you used to see on TV. Please, remove that thought from your mind. This is one of the finest examples of the power of HD I have ever seen. You can thank VistaVision for that, one of the best film formats ever. Truly, this is better HD than most of the modern Blu-ray films I have in my library. It is simply stunning....more info
  • The Searchers DVD version
    An excellent transfer. I purchased a copy of the film on Laser Disc in the 1990s'. The DVD version is superior....more info
  • A Nice Transfer To BLU RAY Of A Tedious And Clich¨¦d Movie...
    John Ford's 1956 western is one of those movies that is perpetually given 5-star classic status. I disagree with that completely. Having tried to give it a second chance - to me it's clich¨¦d, slow, racist in many ways - and just plain boring.

    Sure, the iconic opening and ending shot (through the door of their homestead) has been aped in movies and is classic, but then we get the dialogue, which is 'mom' and 'pop' and ah shucks throughout. Then there's their clean-living idyllic life - painfully god-fearing mom's-apple-pie claptrap - and their clothes are immaculately clean despite the dust and dirt everywhere. The portrayal of the murdering Indians also conveniently forgets what white men did to decimate 'their' lands and 'their' lifestyles for white greed. In 2009 much of "The Searchers" is just painful now and difficult to accept, let alone enjoy.

    However, for lovers of the movie, the main reason to buy the Blu-Ray version will be how it looks - and it does deserve their hard earned. The film fills the screen completely and the colouring - while not razor sharp - is lovely throughout - widescreen shots of the famous landscapes. It's clearly been restored with care.

    The Blu-Ray version of "The Searchers" is a nice presentation of what is considered by many to be an American classic - however - I suspect the movie itself will bore most modern audiences rigid.

    For lovers of the film and the Western genre, this version is a must-buy; for the novice, I'd say see it first by rental - then decide....more info
  • the searchers/john wayne
    i was very pleased with the service . i got the movie before the said date and enjoyed the movie very much. thank you.
    linda sullivan...more info