Home > AFI 100, Film Sketches > Stagecoach (1939)

Stagecoach (1939)

Stagecoach is considered the film where John Wayne became not just a leading man, but a movie star. Director John Ford does an excellent job of supporting Wayne in this venture. With the great name of Ringo, John Wayne is magnetic every time he is on-screen. One of the more iconic shots is the characters introduction on-screen through a quick zoom close-up of Wayne as he turns towards the camera.

Like many of Ford’s westerns this film captures the open plains and vistas of country life in the states with beauty. In addition the main action set-piece between the passengers of the stagecoach and local indian tribes, is still thrilling seventy years later. The quick editing between widescreen location shots and close-up shots, done in studio, with the passengers heightens the tension of the scene.

There are some slow portions of the film, mainly when the characters take breaks from their journey or ponder about what is to come. However, anytime the cast is on the road a sense of danger looms and each character increasingly realizes the stakes of this journey. Overall a great film and strong advancement of the western genre.

Ranking: 4/5

Until next time, Cheers!

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