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4.2 20
Director: John Ford

Cast: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine


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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 story of a stagecoach set to leave Tonto, New Mexico for a distant settlement in Lordsburg, with a diverse set of passengers on board.


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 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.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Often lionized (affectionately but incorrectly) as the first "adult" western, Stagecoach certainly represents a milestone in movie history: In addition to plucking John Wayne from Poverty Row studios and setting him on the path to superstardom, it revitalized the genre by encouraging other filmmakers to craft big-budget westerns with more ambitious story lines and less stereotypical characters. Stagecoach is, first and foremost, a character study of nine disparate people riding a coach across trackless wastelands, where they’re victimized by the elements and menaced by marauding Indians. As the Ringo Kid, Wayne isn’t significantly different from the white-hatted heroes he previously played in dozens of cheap quickies -- but this time he’s surrounded by veteran players of major-film quality, including Claire Trevor (particularly affecting as a tenderhearted woman of ill repute), Thomas Mitchell (who won an Oscar for his portrayal of a garrulous, drunken doctor), George Bancroft, John Carradine, Berton Churchill, Donald Meek, Andy Devine, and Louise Platt. Director John Ford (The Searchers) trains his camera on starkly beautiful Monument Valley, which makes a picturesque backdrop for a vigorous battle with Indians on horseback -- a bravura sequence employing expert cinematography, stunt work, editing, and scoring. But it’s the interplay of finely drawn characters that really distinguishes Stagecoach, a landmark in the maturation of movie westerns and a timeless classic of cinema. The DVD provides notes on the film's production and includes seven different trailers.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Relegated to B-movie status by the mid-1930s, the western was regenerated most prominently by John Ford's Stagecoach in 1939. Ford and screenwriter Dudley Nichols artfully balanced the genre's standard action with the character studies and quality production values of prestigious 1930s films. In the microcosm of the stagecoach, the confrontation between "civilization" and "savagery," Western future and Eastern past, is played out among characters journeying through hostile Apache territory, with honor-bound outlaw Ringo fighting valiantly for a society that shuns him. Though not the top-billed player, and then a B-movie actor, John Wayne as Ringo became the star hero from the moment that Ford introduces him with a rare kinetic flourish. Ford here introduced his signature Western setting of Monument Valley, lending Stagecoach a realism that set it apart from studio-bound films; and his deep focus interiors preceded Citizen Kane by two years. A critical and commercial hit, Stagecoach helped spearhead the revival of the Western as a viable A-feature, and it turned Wayne into an A-list star. When he made Citizen Kane, Orson Welles claimed that he learned everything about directing movies from watching Stagecoach more than 40 times.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
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[B&W, Wide Screen]
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Special Features

Bucking broadway, a 1917 silent feature by John Ford, with new music composed and performed by Donald Sosin; Journalist and television presenter Philip Jenkinson's extensive 1968 video interview with Ford; New video appreciation of stagecoach with director and Ford biographer Peter Bogdanovich; New video interview with Ford's grandson Dan Ford about the director and his home movies; New video piece, featuring journalist Buzz Bissinger, about trader Harry Goulding's key role bringing monument valley to hollywood; New video homage to legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt, with celebrated stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong; Video essay by writer Tag Gallagher analyzing Ford's visual style in stagecoach; Screen director's playhouse 1949 radio dramatization of stagecoach, with John Wayne, Claire Trevor, and Ford, downloadable as an mp3 file; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic David Cairns and Ernest Haycox's "stage to lordsburg," the short that inspired the film

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Claire Trevor Dallas
John Wayne The Ringo Kid
Andy Devine Buck Rickabaugh
Thomas Mitchell Doc Boone
George Bancroft Sheriff Curly Wilcox
John Carradine Hatfield
Louise Platt Lucy Mallory
Donald Meek Samuel Peacock
Berton Churchill Henry Gatewood
Tim Holt Lt. Blanchard
Elvira Rios Yakima, Chris's Wife
Francis Ford Billy Pickett
Florence Lake Mrs. Nancy Whitney
Walter McGrail Capt. Sickle
Paul McVey Express Agent
Brenda Fowler Mrs. Gatewood
Yakima Canutt Cavalry Scout
Bryant Washburn Cavalry Captain
Duke Lee Sheriff of Lordsburg
Tom Tyler Luke Plummer
Dorothy Appleby Dancing Girl
Ted Billings Actor
Fritzi Brunette Actor
Steve Clemente Actor
Patsy Doyle Actor
Tex Driscoll Actor
Helen Gibson Actor
Louis Mason Sheriff
Margaret Smith Actor
Patrick Wayne Actor
Marga Ann Deighton Mrs. Pickett
Leonard Trainor Actor
Chief John Big Tree Indian Scout
Ed Brady Owner of Saloon
Nora Cecil Landlady of Doc
Bill Cody Rancher
William Hopper Sergeant
Si Jenks Bartender
Cornelius Keefe Capt. Whitney
Theodore Lorch Express Agent in Lordsburg
Chris-Pin Martin Chris
Kent Odell Billy Pickett, Jr.
Artie Ortega Bar Patron in Lordsburg
Vester Pegg Hank Plummer
Jack Pennick Jerry the Bartender
Joe Rickson Ike Plummer
Buddy Roosevelt Rancher
Harry Tenbrook Telegraph Operator
Hank Worden Cavalryman
Franklin Farnum Deputy
Robert E. Homans Editor in Lordsburg
Jim Mason Jim
Merrill McCormick Ogler

Technical Credits
John Ford Director,Producer
R.O. Binger Special Effects
Yakima Canutt Stunts
Gerard Carbonara Score Composer
Bert Glennon Cinematographer
Louis Gruenberg Score Composer
Richard Hageman Score Composer
W. Franke Harling Score Composer
Wiard Ihnen Set Decoration/Design
John Leipold Score Composer
Otho Lovering Editor
Frank Maher Sound/Sound Designer
Boris Morros Musical Direction/Supervision
Dudley Nichols Screenwriter
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Walter Reynolds Editor
Leo Shuken Score Composer
Wingate Smith Asst. Director
Dorothy Spencer Editor
Max Steiner Score Composer
Alexander Toluboff Art Director
Walter Wanger Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Stagecoach
1. The First Word [2:29]
2. Arrival In Tonto [3:14]
3. Dregs of Society [4:09]
4. Risky Travel [5:07]
5. Closw Quarters [3:26]
6. The Ringo Kid [4:44]
7. "We're Going Through" [4:43]
8. Personal Histories [3:54]
9. Frigid Journey [8:00]
10. Sobering Situation [7:41]
11. Family Matters [6:16]
12. Dallas's Dilemma [4:58]
13. Sensible Talk [3:32]
14. Signals [2:26]
15. Crossing [4:05]
16. Under Attack [8:58]
17. Dead Man's Hand [4:00]
18. Three Left [5:59]
19. Man of Honor [2:42]
20. Saved [5:30]
Disc #2 -- Stagecoach
1. An Independant Spirit [6:47]
2. Marriage Proposal [5:09]
3. The Stranger [5:54]
4. On the Fence [6:35]
5. Broken Apart [10:43]
6. New York [11:57]
7. Big City Showdown [7:16]


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Stagecoach 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Operafan48 More than 1 year ago
Criterion's Blu-ray/DVD release of John Ford's classic western is by far the best transfer available, miles ahead of Warner's release of several years ago. The overall picture is sharper, contrast is excellent and the sound blows the previous releases out of the water. The restoration work done on this film is exemplary, and those who complain about imperfections and scratches found in this new transfer are missing the point: This edition has a great film-like texture and those who worked on this restoration decided to keep some imperfections in the new print as opposed to "cleaning it up", the result being that "Stagecoach" looks as it's supposed to look : a real film. As for the movie, 70 plus years has not dimmed this production's superb attributes: brilliant direction, great ensemble acting, an involving story, beautifully lit interiors , magnificent outdoor cinematography (highlighting Director Ford's beloved Monument Valley) and a stirring music score. Released in 1939, that golden year of Hollywood classics, "Stagecoach" deserves its landmark status as the first truly great sound western.
Hayboogar More than 1 year ago
Me likeded ta wach tha hursey hippity ta me nort
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RKL More than 1 year ago
You probably already know that this is the film that made John Wayne a star. And John Wayne fans will love it. It's a seminal Western. But Stagecoach also offers drop-dead beautiful visuals, deftly drawn characters and a suspenseful conclusion. There's a reason director John Ford is known as one of cinema's greats!
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The_Lantern_of_Green More than 1 year ago
John Wayne, what more needs to be said?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What can I possibly say that hasn't been said a thousand times before about this film. It is historical. In its simplicity, the West and all of the diverse characters are brought to life as only Ford could do. The majestic backdrop of the grandeur of Monument Valley was the icing on the cake. The likes of this kind of cinematography is indeed the foundation for the success of all subsequent films. It has the Academy Awards to prove it.
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