Stagecoach is the greatest Western entry in Hollywood’s annus mirabilis of 1939, and Ford’s prototype for the Western genre he dignified. This also marked John Wayne’s commercial breakthrough and a new level of maturity in his performances.
A motley crowd — a loose woman, a gambler, a banker with a mysterious satchel, an expectant young bride, a whiskey salesman, and a drunk doctor — set out from a dusty New Mexico town with Andy Devine at the reins and George Bancroft riding shotgun and with eye out for the escaped outlaw, the Ringo Kid (Wayne). They pick up Wayne soon enough, and alliances and suspicions are forged in the tension of anticipating an Indian attack. The first of many Westerns filmed in the forbidding majesty of Monument Valley.
Academy Award Nominations: 7, including Best Picture; Best Director; Best Cinematography; Best Editing.
Cast: John Wayne, George Bancroft, John Carradine, Andy Devine, Tim Holt, Donald Meek, Thomas Mitchell, Claire Trevor,
Director: John Ford
Producer: Walter Wanger
Original Story: Ernest Haycox
Director of Photography: Bert Glennon
Editors: Walter Reynolds, Dorothy Spencer
Composers: Louis Gruenberg, Richard Hageman, John Leipold, Leo Shuken
Screenwriter: Dudley Nichols
Art Director: Alexander Toluboff
USA / United Artists / 99 minutes / 1939