Fort Apache

Fort Apache

John Ford (1948)

128min
U Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This magnificent western is one of the highlights of American cinema, the first of three remarkable films director John Ford made about the US Cavalry. It's a satisfying, finely crafted work, not least because of Ford's ability to create a tangible sense of time and place in a displaced community against the majestic surroundings of his beloved Monument Valley. Ford regular Henry Fonda is particularly outstanding - after this, he retired from films for nearly a decade to concentrate on stage success - cast against type as martinet officer Owen Thursday. Thursday is an embittered man set on a tragic course and is clearly modelled on George Armstrong Custer. He breaks a peace deal with Apache leader Cochise, an agreement that was originally engineered by Kirby York, here played by John Wayne, giving one of his finest, most delicate performances. The life of the cavalry - its music, its women, its mythology - is all superbly realised by Ford, who, in one simple shot of a lone soldier reading his Bible, confirms his greatness.

Summary

An arrogant cavalry colonel is sent to a remote Arizona desert outpost, which he considers an insult after his service in the Civil War. However, he is determined to show his heroism and plots to lure the local Apaches into waging war, despite the warnings of his lieutenants that such a battle cannot be won. John Ford Western, starring Henry Fonda and John Wayne, with Shirley Temple and George O'Brien.

Cast & Crew

Lt Col Owen Thursday Henry Fonda
Capt York John Wayne
Philadelphia Thursday Shirley Temple
Capt Collingwood George O'Brien
Sgt Beaufort Pedro Armendariz
Sgt Maj Michael O'Rourke Ward Bond
Lt Michael O'Rourke John Agar
Sgt Festus Mulcahy Victor McLaglen
Mrs Collingwood Anna Lee
Director John Ford
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: R.K.O. Radio Pictures LtdAvailable on: video and DVD
Drama