John Ford was an American film director. He is best known for his Westerns, and he directed many classic Hollywood films, including The Searchers, Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Best John Ford Movies

Let’s take a look at the best John Ford films of all time.

1. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)  

The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 American epic drama film directed by John Ford. It is based on John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel of the same name, about the Joads, an Oklahoma family that migrates from the Dust Bowl to California in search of a better life.

The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and stars Henry Fonda, directed by John Ford, and shot on location in California, Arizona and New Mexico. The film supports both migrant workers’ rights and labor unionism as themes,

and depicts contemporary American society with respect to race relations and human dignity during the Great Depression.

The story takes place in Oklahoma in the 1930s during the Dust Bowl era when Okies migrants forced out of Oklahoma during the Great Depression travel to California looking for work.

Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) and his family are among those who leave their home town after his father dies under mysterious circumstances. They join with thousands of other Okies who have already relocated to California’s Central Valley where they are subjected to abuses by employers and the police;

but they soon receive more than they can handle when they decide to organize into a union movement against management abuse at a tomato-packing

The Grapes Of Wrath
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dorris Bowdon, Jane Darwell, Russell Simpson (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Nunnally Johnson (Writer) - Nunnally Johnson (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

2. Stagecoach (1939)     

 Stagecoach (1939) is the first of John Ford’s films to be based on a stage play and one of the most successful Westerns ever made. A complex and compelling story, Stagecoach has a lot to say about the West and its people.

The film was shot in Monument Valley, Utah, and features two notable Native Americans in supporting roles: John Agar’s O’Brien and Ben Victor’s Lone Pine.

The story begins with a railroad official (Thomas Mitchell) who is called upon by a man named Dalton (John Wayne), who claims that he has been robbed by three men out of Yuma, Arizona. The official determines that Dalton is lying about his story, but when he returns with another railroad official named Goddard (Claude Jarman Jr.),

they find evidence that there really was a robbery. They decide to follow the robbers into Mexico where they hope to recover some of their money from them. However, another gang member named Duffy (Victor McLaglen) is also after all of their money because his brother-in-law was killed during the robbery.

The film ends when all four men reach Mexico City – including Goddard’s family – where they

Stagecoach: The Original 1939 John Wayne Classic
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. The Searchers (1956)

The Searchers is one of the most beloved films in American film history, and it’s easy to see why. John Ford’s classic western stars John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran who must track down his niece (Natalie Wood) in order to save her from being kidnapped by Comanche Indians.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but it ultimately won for Best Original Score.

This film’s appeal stems from the fact that it is both an epic adventure story and a deeply personal exploration of loss, guilt and reconciliation. While many critics have focused on the racism in this film particularly toward Native Americans it also contains clearly defined villains:

the Comanche Indians are portrayed as terrifying warriors who kill without remorse or remorse at all. But even though Ethan is portrayed as white-hat-and-black-horse (and white-hat-and-white horse), he still feels like an outsider among his fellow settlers

. The entire movie is about how he must reconcile his own feelings with those of his loved ones so that he can return home safely.

The Searchers
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Frank S. Nugent (Writer) - C.V. Whitney (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

4. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)     

John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a western that has become one of the most beloved films of all time. It’s a classic tale of good versus evil, and it stars John Wayne as an aging gunslinger who must choose between his loyalty to the people he loves and his duty as a lawman.

The film was directed by John Ford and was based on the short story “Liberty Valance” by Alan Le May. The cast includes Lee Marvin, Joanne Dru, James Stewart, John Carradine, Ward Bond and Victor McLaglen.

The story begins with Marshal Will Kane (John Wayne) riding into town after being away for years. He has been away because he has been trying to track down the man who killed his father.

When he arrives in town, he learns that townspeople have been trapped inside their homes by a group of outlaws led by Ben Wade (Lee Marvin). With only two men left in town who can protect him from Wade’s gang,

Kane reluctantly agrees to ride with them on horseback through Indian territory until they reach the Texas border where they will be safe from any further danger.

Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Willis Goldbeck (Writer) - Willis Goldbeck (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

5. The Quiet Man (1952)              

John Ford’s The Quiet Man is a charmingly unpretentious tale of love and friendship in rural Ireland. It’s a quiet, gentle, lovely film that follows two young men as they fall in love, make a promise to each other, and try to live up to it.

Paddy Dignam (John Wayne), an Irish immigrant to America, returns home to Cork after many years away. He falls in love with Mary Kate Kavanagh (Maureen O’Hara), who is the daughter of his childhood sweetheart Nora Kelly (Loretta Young).

But she already has plans for Paddy – she wants him to marry her cousin Fiona Farrell (Brynner). On their wedding day, Fiona dies unexpectedly and Paddy goes off with Nora on an emotional journey through Ireland as he tries to decide what he really wants out of life.

Ford was known for making films that were simple, but this one is more than just simple; it has some very complex themes running through it. Above all else however it’s a story about finding happiness in marriage and family life; something that Ford was big on throughout his career.

The Quiet Man
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Frank S. Nugent (Writer) - Michael Killanin (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

6. The Informer (1935)  

 The Informer (1935) is a film directed by John Ford. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction, Black-and-White.

The Informer is the story of an Irishman who joins the British secret service. He discovers that his new employers are planning to betray Ireland to Germany in exchange for money and position.

He tries to warn his countrymen of the conspiracy, but when he meets with resistance from his superiors and other members of the government, he decides that it would be better to go along with their plans and betray Ireland than risk losing his job and life as a result of disobeying orders.

The film was a great success at the box office, making $2 million in rentals and becoming one of John Ford’s most profitable films up to that point.[1] It was also a popular choice with critics who praised its technical achievement and artistic integrity.[2]

The Informer (1935)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Dudley Nichols (Writer) - John Ford (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

7. How Green Was My Valley (1941)

The film that made John Ford a household name, How Green Was My Valley is a nostalgic look at the days before modern technology. The story follows the lives of two families in Wales in the early 1900s and how their children face challenges from working in mines with their father and the hardships of World War I.

The film was based on an award-winning novel by Richard Llewellyn, which was later adapted into three sequels.

How Green Was My Valley was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won three Oscars: Cinematography (John Alton), Art Direction (Joseph A. August), and Costume Design (Edith Head).

The film also received nominations for Film Editing (William Hornbeck), Sound Recording (Herbert A. Deutsch), Production Design (John W. Littlewood & Frank Lloyd Wright), Makeup (Richard Conway & Sidney Salkow), Original Music Score (Con Conrad), Supporting Actress (Maureen O’Hara) and Writing Adapted Screenplay.

How Green Was My Valley
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp (Actors)
  • Ford,John (Director) - Philip Dunne (Writer) - Darryl F. Zanuck (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

8. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)        

 Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) is the second of John Ford’s four collaborations with actor Henry Fonda, who plays Abraham Lincoln in the film. The title refers to young William H.

Crookston (1843–1923), who was a friend and confidant of Lincoln and wrote several books about him. Crookston delivers a eulogy at Lincoln’s funeral in Ford’s 1942 film, Young Mr. Lincoln.

Young Mr. Lincoln is based on James Mapes Dodge’s novel The American Senator, published in 1877 during the political career of Lincoln’s predecessor as president, James Buchanan (1857–61).

   

Dodge was a Unionist politician from Pennsylvania who supported the war effort during the American Civil War (1861–65). He participated in many military campaigns against Confederate forces and was active in efforts to draft soldiers into service for the Union Army;

he also served as Secretary of War under President Andrew Johnson (1865) after being appointed by President Abraham Lincoln (1861–65).

The script for Young Mr. Lincoln was adapted by John Howard Lawson (1891–1981) from his own novel The Withered Branch: A Romance of 1859–60, which had been published in 1927; it tells

Young Mr. Lincoln
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Alice Brady, Arleen Whelan, Eddie Collins (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Lamar Trotti (Writer) - Kenneth Macgowan (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

9. My Darling Clementine (1946)             

This is a kind of film that tries to do too much and fails. It’s a western in name only, but it also has elements of melodrama and farce. The script is full of speeches and action sequences that seem to have been added to the film at the last minute, without any thought for pacing or narrative flow.

But if you can get past all that, there’s still something quite special about this film. It was made during the second world war and it shows. The mood is somber and dark, with no attempt at humor or levity anywhere in sight — even though there are plenty of opportunities for it (the scene where Bogart shoots at Lee Marvin’s horse comes to mind).

There’s also an underlying sadness to many of the scenes; in one instance, Ford deploys a long tracking shot that goes through an abandoned saloon as three men sit around a table playing poker; later on we see one of them lying dead on the floor, shot through the head by Bogart.

My Darling Clementine [DVD] [1946]
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

10. The Horse Soldiers (1959)    

 John Ford’s The Horse Soldiers (1959) is a classic Western that features John Wayne as the lead character, Captain Nathan Brittles. The film is about a group of Confederate deserters who try to make a living in the Oklahoma territory during the Civil War.

The story starts with Captain Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) and his men crossing the plains through Kansas and Missouri to reach Texas. They are led by Brittles’ brother-in-law, Captain John Ringo (Richard Widmark), who hires them as soldiers for $100 each per month.

The men arrive in Texas and find that their pay has been cut to $50 per month. They are also told that if they do not do well, they will be fired without notice or pay.

One of the men is killed by Indians while trying to steal horses from them, so another one suggests they join up with Kirby Yorke (Sam Peckinpah), who is recruiting more soldiers for his ranch.

Yorke agrees to take them on but warns them that he does not want any more deserters because it would hurt his reputation as a man who can hire good men when needed. When Yorke’s daughter arrives at the ranch, she tells him about

Horse Soldiers
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Martin Rackin (Writer) - John Lee Mahin (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

11. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)    

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) is an American film directed by John Ford, based on the novel of the same name by Louis L’Amour. The film stars John Wayne and Henry Fonda as two men who fought in the Indian Wars. The movie was entered into the 1949 Cannes Film Festival.

The story begins in 1869 at Fort Harker, Kansas where Sergeant Quincey Washington (Henry Fonda) is about to be discharged from the 7th Cavalry. He has been unable to find any other job since he left the Army and his family is starving.

When he hears that an old friend, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Brittles (John Wayne), wants to hire him again, he jumps at the chance and quickly becomes part of an expedition into Indian country led by Colonel Brittles.

Brittles wants to punish a band of renegade Indians who have taken over their reservation and are raiding white settlements on both sides of the border between Colorado and New Mexico.

His first target is Chief White Man’s Woman (Joan Peters), a powerful leader who has killed one of Brittles’ men during a previous encounter with his band. In order for

La Legión Invencible 1949 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon [Non-usa Format: Pal -Import- Spain ]
  • Spanish, Portuguese, English (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

12. Fort Apache (1948) 

 Fort Apache (1948) is a film noir starring John Wayne and Shirley Temple. It was directed by John Ford. This film is based on the true story of an Apache Indian named Victorio who led his tribe in a series of raids against settlers and ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico during the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s.

The film’s title refers to Fort Apache, Arizona, a U.S. Army fort located near where much of the story takes place. The movie begins with a prologue that tells how Victorio was captured by soldiers while trying to escape from Fort Apache.

A young officer named Captain Kirby (Wayne) enters Victorio’s cell and offers him freedom if he will lead an attack against the soldiers at Fort Apache in return for his freedom. Soon after this exchange, Victorio massacres most of the garrison at Fort Apache except for Kirby who manages to escape with some help from an elderly sergeant named Turnbull (Glenn Corbett).

Victorio then flees into Mexico where he leads another raid with other Apaches until Kirby tracks him down again and shoots him dead.

Fort Apache
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Frank S. Nugent (Writer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

13. Mister Roberts (1955)            

Mister Roberts is a 1955 American Technicolor war film directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, Jean Arthur, Glenn Ford and Walter Brennan. The film is based on the play Mister Roberts by Philip Dunne, later expanded into a novel by Thomas Heggen.

The film was adapted for the screen by Stuart Heisler and George Tabori, who also wrote the screenplay. It was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck’s production company 20th Century Fox, from a story by Heisler and Tabori. The film won an Academy Award for Best Sound Recording (Don Aitkin).

The film revolves around the crew of the U.S. Navy transport ship USS Mister Roberts as they are preparing to return home after having been at sea for two years during World War II. The film follows their adventures while they are in port at Marseille, France; Casablanca, Morocco; Gibraltar; Naples, Italy; and finally Boston.[1]

Mister Roberts
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Frank S. Nugent (Writer) - Leland Hayward (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

14. The Long Voyage Home (1940)          

Directed by John Ford, The Long Voyage Home is a classic example of the director’s mastery of period detail and atmosphere, as well as his ability to convey action and emotion through a series of simple shots. The film is set during World War II and tells the story of a group of American sailors trapped in an underwater minefield off the coast of Japan.

They must wait for rescue for months until they can be rescued by their ship or die in the mines. Ford’s use of close-ups and long shots shows the soldiers’ plight from different perspectives, including their own thoughts about their predicament and their own memories about home.

This mixture of familiarity with unfamiliarity creates a sense of isolation for all involved, which is heightened by the fact that most of them have never been away from home before.

The Long Voyage Home
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Eugene O'Neill (Writer) - John Ford (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

15. Cheyenne Autumn (1964)    

 John Ford is one of the most influential directors of his time. He has directed many great movies, such as “The Searchers”, “Stagecoach” and “My Darling Clementine”.

His first film was “The Horse Soldiers” in 1959. This was followed by an adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Last of the Mohicans” in 1962. The film won two Oscars and was nominated for four others.

In 1964, he directed Cheyenne Autumn, which starred John Wayne and Dean Martin. The film won three Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Ford.

Ford’s next major project was the Western epic The Alamo in 1973 with Richard Widmark, Laurence Olivier and Maureen O’Hara. It was based on John Wayne’s 1960s film of the same name and was shot at his own ranch at Cholame Ranch near Petaluma, California during the summer of 1972.

In 1976, he made The Searchers with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Arthur Kennedy about a family who searches for their kidnapped niece across Texas in 1836 during the Texas Revolution against Mexico

Cheyenne Autumn
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - James R. Webb (Writer) - Bernard Smith (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

16. The Last Hurrah (1958)          

This is the last of the three films in which John Ford directed William Holden. It is also one of his most lighthearted and humorous films. When it was released, critics agreed that it was a return to form for Ford.

The film opens with a scene of the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn. The Sioux Indians, led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, defeat General Custer’s army and nearly wipe out all white men on the Plains.

Many years later, Captain Jack Burden (Holden) is called back into service by his former commander Colonel Tall Tree (James Stewart), who has been ordered to lead a new expedition against Sitting Bull’s reservation. Tall Tree wants Burden to help him find out why Custer failed to defeat the Indians and why they attacked his troops so badly.

Burden goes out west on horseback with Tall Tree and several other soldiers from Fort Hays in Kansas Territory – including Lieutenant Charley Reynolds (John Wayne). They ride through the Indian territory until they reach their destination at an abandoned fort where they meet up with Lieutenant Dunbar (Thomas Mitchell). The men spend some time there

The Last Hurrah
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Spencer Tracy, Jeffrey Hunter, Dianne Foster (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Frank S. Nugent (Writer) - John Ford (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

17. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)     

Drums Along the Mohawk is a 1939 American film directed by John Ford and starring Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan. It was based on the play of that name by Joseph Moncure March, which had been produced on Broadway in 1930 with Allyn Joslyn and Lillian Gish in the leading roles.

The play was adapted for the screen by James Edward Grant from his own play. The film is about a group of Native Americans who move from Canada to New York State, where they are taken advantage of by unscrupulous traders who sell them alcohol, tobacco and guns in order to steal their land.

Spencer Tracy plays Tom Morgan, who is an agent for the Indian Affairs Office (IAO) based in Washington DC who travels to New York State with his friend Jim Nolan (Henry Fonda).

When they arrive at their destination they are met by two IAO agents named Evans and Spitzer (Charles Bickford), who give them instructions on how to get to their goal: Fort Stanwix, where they will meet up with another IAO agent named Jack Smith (Ned Sparks). As it turns out, however

Drums Along the Mohawk
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Arthur Aylesworth, Arthur Shields, Beulah Hall Jones (Actors)
  • Ford,John (Director)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

18. 3 Godfathers (1948)

The film 3 Godfathers is a classic John Ford western. It was released in 1948, and has become a classic of the genre. It was directed by John Ford, who also directed Stagecoach (1939), Rio Grande (1950), The Searchers (1956), and My Darling Clementine (1946).

The story follows three men as they travel from California to Texas after the Mexican-American War. They have a goal of finding their lost comrade and bringing him back home safely. Along the way they meet many interesting characters, including Indians and Mexicans.

The film’s plot is very similar to Ford’s earlier work Stagecoach (1939). Both films involve three men traveling westward in search of their missing friend who had gone missing during a war between Mexico and the United States.

This time around however, there are more characters involved than just the three main ones – there are many Indians on horseback who are trying to kill them at every turn! In fact, this film contains so many different characters that it might be considered one of the most complex films ever made!

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19. How the West Was Won (1962)        

John Ford’s epic Civil War saga, which won him his only Best Director Oscar, is a sprawling epic about the war itself. As in many of Ford’s films, he uses the story to illustrate the themes of courage and sacrifice. In this case, it is especially relevant to honor those who have fought for something larger than themselves.

The film opens with a group of Union soldiers on patrol through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley during the early days of the war. They come across a Union detachment being ambushed by Confederate guerillas led by Major John Sibley (played by Ward Bond), who orders his men to kill them all.

The Union soldiers are able to kill several of Sibley’s men before they manage to escape into a nearby forest where they wait until dark before making their way back to camp. During their trek home, they are attacked by Confederate cavalrymen who take their horses as well as their weapons, leaving them stranded in enemy territory with no means of communication or transportation.

How the West Was Won
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - James R. Webb (Writer) - Bernard Smith (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

20. The Sun Shines Bright (1953)              

The Sun Shines Bright is a 1953 American Technicolor Western film directed by John Ford, starring Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne, Ward Bond and James Arness. It is based on the novel The Sun Shines Bright by Edna Ferber. The film was originally to be directed by Howard Hawks, but when he became involved with Leave Her to Heaven (1945), he was replaced by Ford.

O’Hara plays Sarah Mimms, an orphaned girl who was raised in an orphanage run by Sister Agnes (Vivian Pickles). She runs away from the orphanage in order to marry her boyfriend Harry Callahan (Wayne), who lives in nearby Virginia City.

Callahan works for a cattleman named Tom Larkin (Ward Bond). When Mimms arrives at his ranch house and tries to explain her reasons for running away from the orphanage, Callahan slaps her and throws her out of his house.

Callahan takes Mimms back to Virginia City where they meet up with Callahan’s friend Joe Levi (Arness). Levi tells them that he will help them find their father if they will marry him

21. 7 Women (1966)      

 7 Women is a 1966 American drama film directed by John Ford and starring Maureen O’Hara, Tab Hunter, Jon Voight and Debbie Reynolds. The screenplay was written by Frank Nugent from the novel of the same name by James Agee.

It is based on the experiences of actress Mary Pickford in directing her husband, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease during the making of this film.

The film begins with a framing device involving an actress named Joan Miller (Maureen O’Hara) rehearsing a play called “The Seven Women” which she wrote based on stories told to her by her mother about seven women from their family tree who were all famous in their own time.

In this way, she tells us that she has been playing many roles throughout her life: that of an independent woman; a wife and mother; an artist; and now this role as the writer of this play about women who have inspired her.

Joan’s character is also shown being interviewed on television about the play, which is set to open soon in New York City at Lincoln Center for its first performance (as well as its opening night). She describes each character in detail

Seven Women
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sue Lyon, Mildred Dunnock, Margaret Leighton (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Janet Green (Writer) - John Ford (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

22. Mogambo (1953)     

 John Ford’s Mogambo (1953) is not just a wonderful adventure movie, but it’s also one of the most entertaining films ever made. Not only is it a great example of the genre, but it also offers some interesting insights into how Hollywood was made at that time.

Mogambo is based on the novel by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. It follows three men: John Clark Gable and Richard Widmark as two rival British explorers who come to Africa to trap or kill Cecil B. DeMille’s character, Allan Quartermain.

The third role is taken by John Wayne as the king of an African tribe called the Apaches who have kidnapped Quartermain from another tribe.

It’s easy to see why so many people love this film because it’s full of action and adventure from start to finish. But there are other things I love about this movie too. One of them being how Ford makes use of primary colors in his cinematography throughout the film. Another thing I love about it is how he uses real locations instead of stock shots like he did with Stagecoach (1939).

The last thing I love about Mogambo

Mogambo
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - John Lee Mahin (Writer) - Sam Zimbalist (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

23. The Fugitive (1947) 

John Ford’s The Fugitive is a classic western that has become as much a part of American folklore as the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Wounded Knee. It stars Henry Fonda as Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard, Robert Young as a preacher who helps him on his way to Washington, and Vera Ralston as Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd Lincoln.

The story begins in Springfield, Illinois, where we find Lincoln about to leave for Washington. He plans to nominate Edwin Stanton for Secretary of War, but first he must face another appointment: an attempt by abolitionists to prevent him from appointing Joshua Speed as attorney general.

A friend of Henry Clay writes that Speed will prevent any prosecution of slave owners, but Lincoln counters that if he appoints someone like Speed then he could be impeached by Congress, which would cost him his presidency.

Meanwhile back in Springfield, Fonda investigates a murder at a local barroom and finds out that it was committed by a former slave named Sam Bass who has been freed after serving time in prison for killing his master years earlier. Fonda discovers evidence linking Bass to the murder of his former owner and brings him before Lincoln so he can

The Fugitive (1947)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Henry Fonda, Dolores Del Rio, Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Dudley Nichols (Writer) - Merian C. Cooper (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

24. The Hurricane (1937)

I’m not going to lie and say that The Hurricane is a great film. It’s not. But it’s an interesting film, and I’d like to talk about why some people like it so much.

The Hurricane was directed by John Ford, one of the most well-known directors in Hollywood history. The film was adapted from the novel by Walter D. Edmonds, who had previously written about Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940), which also used the same cast and crew as this film.

The Hurricane tells the story of a young African-American woman named Hattie McDaniel who is working as a maid at a wealthy white man’s house in Charleston, SC during the early 1900s when her employer dies suddenly and she is forced to leave his estate due to discrimination against blacks at this time.

She winds up living with her grandmother (played by Florence Eldridge) who works as a cook for the family that owned the house where Hattie lived until she left it due to them firing her for being black and refusing to let her back in after they found another maid they didn’t like better than Hattie

The Hurricane
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dorothy Lamour, Jon Hall, Mary Astor (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Dudley Nichols (Writer) - Samuel Goldwyn (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

25. The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936) 

 The Prisoner of Shark Island is one of John Ford’s lesser known films. It was made in 1936, shortly after he moved to Hollywood, and it’s a wild, violent adventure that probably wouldn’t have been out of place in his earlier films.

Here’s the story: The British Royal Navy has just captured a German ship off the coast of Africa. The prisoners are taken to Shark Island where they’re kept under guard while they await trial and possible execution. One prisoner,

however, manages to escape and swims back to the mainland where he meets up with some locals who help him make his way back to the island. He finds out that there are still prisoners on the island but they’ve been allowed to roam free because their guards have been killed by natives who consider them enemies.

The escaped prisoner decides that he needs help from one of these natives if he wants freedom from his captors and so he sets off with some of them on an epic journey across the island seeking food and shelter from its many inhabitants.

The Prisoner Of Shark Island
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Arthur Byron, Arthur Loft, Beulah Hall Jones (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Nunnally Johnson (Writer) - Nunnally Johnson (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

26. The Lost Patrol (1934)           

 The Lost Patrol is a 1934 American Pre-Code war film directed by John Ford and starring Tyrone Power and Richard Dix. It is based on the novel of the same name by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also wrote Tarzan of the Apes and The Son of Tarzan

The film depicts a group of World War I soldiers stranded in enemy territory during the German Spring Offensive. The story was inspired by real events that occurred during World War I, namely the Tugela Heights Campaign (1917).

In April 1917 an American patrol was ambushed in Tugela Heights, South Africa. Twenty Americans were killed and another 24 wounded. The Americans were led by Captain Arthur Denham (Richard Dix),

a veteran of the Spanish–American War.[7][8] Captain Denham’s men were cut off from their base camp at Vereeniging and could not contact him on their receiver set.[9] They were forced to hole up in their trenches with limited ammunition and supplies until they could be rescued.[10]

The Lost Patrol (1934)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Alan Hale, Reginald Denny, Boris Karloff (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Dudley Nichols (Writer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

27. They Were Expendable (1945)           

John Ford’s They Were Expendable is a surprisingly effective and powerful film about the horrors of war. It’s also a film about the horrors of racism and prejudice, but that’s not really what this movie is about. This is a story about the sacrifices made by ordinary people to keep our country safe from those who would do us harm. The story begins with a simple premise:

a group of American soldiers are trapped in enemy territory and they must escape. The problem is that they’re up against superior numbers, so they need help from somewhere else if they’re ever going to get out alive.

As the plot develops, we discover that these men aren’t just soldiers, but civilians too – some are even schoolteachers or ministers who’ve volunteered their services to fight alongside their countrymen. We see them train and then put into action their plan for escape.

Along the way we meet some interesting characters, like Sergeant Major Hines (Charley Grapewin), who’s played by Ward Bond – one of Hollywood’s best character actors who was in many great films throughout his career including The Longest Day (1962) as well as The Outsiders (1983) with

They Were Expendable
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Frank Wead (Writer) - John Ford (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

28. Two Rode Together (1961)  

Two Rode Together is a 1961 Western film directed by John Ford. The film stars Richard Widmark, Lee Marvin, and Clifton Webb. It is based on the 1939 novel by Robert Lewis Taylor which was adapted into a 1957 movie also entitled Two Rode Together.

The story begins with two cowboys, Joe Bell (Richard Widmark) and Sam Bell (Lee Marvin), who have just been through a shootout with a train robbery gang. They are about to leave for their next town when one of their horses goes lame, so they take it to the only doctor in town,

Doc Carson (John Carradine). When Doc asks them what’s wrong with the horse, they tell him that it just got shot up during the train robbery. After examining the horse, Doc declares that it needs to be put down because there is no hope of saving its leg.

Shortly after this conversation takes place, Joe gets word that his brother Tom has been killed in an accident at a local farm owned by Charlie Goodnight (Clifton Webb), a cattle baron who considers himself one of America’s greatest businessmen because he owns more land than anyone else in Texas except for President Lyndon B

Two Rode Together
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones (Actors)
  • Ford,John (Director) - John Ford (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

29. Arrowsmith (1931)  

 John Ford’s great western, Arrowsmith (1931), was a melodrama of ideas and feelings. The film is a study of a man who has lost his family and his sense of self, and who may never recover from the loss. It’s also one of Ford’s most personal films; he based it on the true story of Don Luis Arguello,

an outlaw who lived among the Indians in Mexico for years before being killed by Mexican government officials.

Arrowsmith is a good example of how Ford used Hollywood as an opportunity to explore themes that interested him. He made a film about America’s frontier past; but it was shot in black-and-white, with no music score or sound effects. And unlike most westerns, which were about justice and law enforcement, this one was about violence and revenge.

The story begins when we meet Arthur Loomis (Henry Fonda), a young man who has lost everything: his wife, his home, even his identity. He wanders through the wilderness until he comes upon the Indians living there peacefully under Chief Firehand (John Wayne). They take him in as one of their own and teach him how to survive in this harsh land without technology or modern conveniences.

Arrowsmith (1931)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ronald Colman, Helen Hayes, Richard Bennett (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Sidney Howard (Writer) - Samuel Goldwyn (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

30. Mary of Scotland (1936)       

Mary of Scotland (1936) is a historical film about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and her relationship with Lord Darnley. It stars Merle Oberon as Mary, Charles Laughton as Darnley, Charles Boyer as Henry Stewart, Dame May Whitty as Elizabeth I, and William Hartnell as James VI of Scotland. The film was directed by John Ford and produced by Harry Cohn for RKO Radio Pictures.

The plot revolves around the famous love triangle between Mary Stuart (Merle Oberon), King James VI & I (Charles Laughton), Earl of Bothwell (Charles Boyer), and Lord Darnley (William Hartnell).

The story begins with a brief prologue set in London where an elderly Cardinal Sin (Boris Karloff) delivers a sermon to his congregation on the subject of “The Fall of the Angels”. In this sermon he states that there are certain truths which cannot be told;

it would only embarrass those who hear them. He then goes on to state that one day God will send his angels to reveal these truths, but until then we must rely upon hearsay.

The film opens with Mary Stuart’s arrival at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh where she

Mary of Scotland
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Katharine Hepburn, Fredric March, Florence Eldridge (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Dudley Nichols (Writer) - Pandro S. Berman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Characteristics of John Ford Movies

 A good John Ford movie is a mix of drama and comedy. He often used a light touch to portray the plight of his characters. The most distinct thing about John Ford movies is that they have a strong sense of place and time.

The characters in his films are not just Americans but they are also located in specific locations. This gives his films an authenticity that is missing in some modern movies.

Ford’s movies are also realistic in the sense that they don’t present their settings as idyllic or romanticized versions of reality, but rather as places where real people struggle with real problems and find solutions to those problems. For example,

Stagecoach (1939) takes place on the frontier between two cultures: those who were settled and those who were still roaming free. It is a story about how people adapt to new circumstances when they feel threatened by them.”

Best John Ford Movies – Wrapping Up

John Ford was a filmmaker who was at the top of his game in the 1930s, with films like Stagecoach and The Grapes of Wrath.

He was never quite as popular again, but his later films like My Darling Clementine and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance are still considered classics.

Ford’s movies are full of great characters, memorable scenes and some beautiful cinematography. We’ve picked out our favorite John Ford movies in this article.

 

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