Stagecoach (1939)

You know the Western clichés— outlaw looking for revenge, doctor done in by “the drink,” prostitute with the heart of gold, smooth gambler, Monument Valley locale. This fine film set the standard. Stagecoach carries a motley group of characters en route to their destinies in Apache territory. John Wayne impresses as the outlaw; he, along with the others, boards a stagecoach into that dangerous land and circumstances that will test them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed John Ford’s direction, the framing of scenes, the panoramic longshots and personality defining close-ups. –And then you have Yakima Canutt’s oft-imitated stunt work. Watch for the wordless moments that make the stage passengers unforgettable.

Check out a TCM article on Stagecoach for a behind-the-scenes look at the film, plus the partnership between John Wayne and John Ford.

For other movies from 1939, check out Bill’s spotlight on the most celebrated year in American film history. And for other classic westerns starring John Wayne, check out our list of movies.

One thought on “Stagecoach (1939)

  1. This is a great movie. It made Wayne a star. Although he had made maybe a hundred westerns prior to Stagecoach, they were B westerns. This film was the first sound western directed by John Ford and it was the first film he used Monument Valley as a background.

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