4.2 5
Director: John Farrow

Cast: John Farrow, John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond


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Hondo is so "perfect" a John Ford western that many people assume it was directed by John Ford--or at the very least, Andrew McLaglen. Actually the director was suspense expert John Farrow, who worked with the "Duke" only twice in his career (the second film was an oddball war drama, The Sea Chase [55]). In Hondo, John Wayne plays a hard-bitten


Hondo is so "perfect" a John Ford western that many people assume it was directed by John Ford--or at the very least, Andrew McLaglen. Actually the director was suspense expert John Farrow, who worked with the "Duke" only twice in his career (the second film was an oddball war drama, The Sea Chase [55]). In Hondo, John Wayne plays a hard-bitten cavalry scout who is humanized by frontierswoman Geraldine Page and her young son (Lee Aaker, star of TV's Rin Tin Tin). Try as he might, Wayne can't convince Page to move off her land in anticipation of an Apache attack. He leaves her ranch, only to be ambushed by desperado Leo Gordon--who happens to be Page's long-absent husband. Having killed Gordon, Hondo returns to the ranch to protect Page from the Indians, and to rekindle the woman's hesitant love for him. The climactic attack sequence is enhanced by Hondo's 3-D photography, one of the few truly effective utilizations of this much-maligned process. Long unavailable thanks to the labyrinthine legal tangles of the John Wayne estate, Hondo was finally released to videotape in the early 1990s.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
When the long-overdue critical reevaluation of John Wayne’s films has finally been completed and assimilated by students of pop culture, this masterful 1953 western will emerge as one of the Duke’s very best star vehicles. His portrayal of cavalry scout Hondo Lane -- rugged, principled, and taciturn -- is quintessential Wayne, the Wayne that impressionists loved to mimic on TV and in their nightclub acts. As the story opens, an Apache warrior (Michael Pate) is waging war on all whites, soldiers and settlers alike. Hondo, coming across a strong-willed housewife (Geraldine Page) and her young son (Lee Aaker) in their desert homestead, urges them to leave but stays to offer help when they refuse. There’s an undeniable attraction between the nurturing mother and the self-sufficient scout, but romance won’t have much chance when the woman learns that Hondo has killed her ne’er-do-well husband (Leo Gordon). Originally shot and presented in 3-D, Hondo is an unusually good-looking western, boasting terrific location cinematography that has the added virtue of careful composition. In fact, the production values all bespeak a greater-than-usual attention to detail, but it’s the script and acting that really carry the day. Wayne delivers an economical performance: Hondo isn’t much of a talker, so the Duke conveys much of the scout’s personality with facial expressions and body language. Page is terrific in a role that would have been sabotaged by the casting of a typical Hollywood glamour girl. Attractive but not classically beautiful, she has an expressive face that displays character, and that makes her perfect as the indomitable frontier woman. The relationship that develops between Wayne and Page seems natural and unforced, and that’s one of the movie’s great strengths. Unavailable for several decades, its exposure limited in recent years, Hondo deserves wider distribution because it’s easily one of the best films Wayne made.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Hondo is one of John Wayne's best films. Unfortunately, for many years it was not easily available, so that, while Wayne's John Ford epics became canonized, Hondo was largely forgotten. Wayne's performance is outstanding, matched in intensity by love interest Geraldine Page, in her screen debut. Page would receive an Oscar nomination for her work, and then make no major film appearances for another eight years. Her Oscar, for The Trip to Bountiful, would come 32 years after her first nomination. Hondo is rarely seen today in its original, partial 3-D format, but that change has little effect on its central qualities: a classic Louis L'Amour story, fine supporting performances, and Wayne.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by Leonard Maltin, western historian Frank Thompson, and actor Lee Aaker; A special introduction by Leonard Maltin; The making of Hondo; Profile: James Edward Grant; The John Wayne Stock Company: Ward Bond; From the Batjac Vaults; The Apache; Photo gallery; Original theatrical trailer; Batjac teaser; Full screen format; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and Mono; English subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Wayne Hondo Lane
Geraldine Page Angie Lowe
Ward Bond Buffalo
Michael Pate Vittorio
James Arness Lennie
Rodopho (Rudy) Acosta Silva
Leo Gordon Ed Lowe
Tom Irish Lieutenant McKay
Lee Aaker Johnny Lowe
Paul Fix Major Sherry
Rayford Barnes Pete
Lassie the Dog Actor

Technical Credits
John Farrow Director
Robert Burks Cinematographer
Ralph Dawson Editor
Robert M. Fellows Producer
Hugo W. Friedhofer Score Composer
James Edward Grant Screenwriter
Emil Newman Score Composer
Louis Clyde Stoumen Cinematographer
Archie J. Stout Cinematographer
John Wayne Producer
Alfred Ybarra Art Director
Louis L'Amour Source Author

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Hondo
1. A Stranger Without a Horse
2. Smelling Lies
3. Civilized?
4. Memories and Good-Byes
5. Blood Brothers
6. Bad Temper
7. A Boy Needs a Father
8. Ambush!
9. Cougar or Coyote?
10. A White Lie
11. The Cavalry Arrives
12. Nothing to Be Ashamed Of
13. Circle of the Wagons!


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Hondo 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw this movie in 1953 when I was 11 years of age. I remember sitting in the front row and seeing Wayne cast this huge shadow as an Indian Scout adrift in the desert somewhere during the 1890's. He was born to play a cowboy and was so adept at it that his overall efforts were largely overlooked in these roles. This movie and "The Searchers" were undoubtedly worthy of Oscars but he made his work looked so effortless that no one thought he was working.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I sat from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on a Saturday and Sunday mesmerized by this film. I was 9 years old and had to await the release of "first run" films from the Chicago Loop theaters to the neighborhood houses. Films did not have starting times then. You went to the movie whenever you got there, picked up the film at whatever point it was being shown and then sat thru the begining again until it reached that point. I wore out three of my friends watching this film over and over again (and eating lots of popcorn) It was on tv only once in the 70's. I was thrilled to see last the DVD released last year! It was the basis of my Christmas giving this last Season! (As was "Lonesome Dove" and the "Whirly Pop" stove top popcorn popper in prior years! I think "Hondo" is a much see film and a must read book for all young folks!
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