The Searchers was named the greatest Western of all time by the American Film Institute, and it’s easy to see why. Much like Murder, My Sweet was the incarnation of the film noir genre, this film epitomizes the western, and celebrates the majesty of what the genre can be.
John Ford is often regarded as one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, and with this he achieves his magnum opus in the western genre of which he is so familiar with. He won 4 Best Director Oscars, and his skill is on full display here. Everything from the setting to the camerawork to the production value is absolutely top notch. Ford frames the film like an epic, which ultimately adds to the grand feel of the film combined with the location shooting Ford is so known for. The man heading the stars of this production is, of course, John Wayne, who gives an excellent performance, albeit a very typically ‘John Wayne’ one; he’s brash, stubborn, and headstrong in his quest, almost failingly so. The story moves along somewhat slowly, but it’s more to admire the pacing and the scenery than because the story itself is lagging.
All in all, this is just about the finest western you can hope to see. If you have the chance to catch this one, definitely make it a point to do so. Pop some popcorn, grab a drink, and make a full fledged theater experience out of it. That’s the best way to experience a great film like this one.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10