(Review originally written at 22 August 2008)

It's a movie that is mostly mainly set at one location; of course in a stagecoach. It makes this already quite an original movie for its time but its also original with its overall approach. "Stagecoach" is not just purely a western about cowboys fighting Indians, it's also a real character movie, in which all of the characters have their own personality and motivations and start to bond together, since they are all together in the same situation. Under any other normal circumstances they would had most likely never met. It's a movie that has basically everything in it; action, romance, comedy and drama. The fact that the movie is almost entirely set aboard a stagecoach and therefor is always on the move, gives the movie also a great adventurous feeling.

You could say that this movie was John Wayne's big breakthrough, even though he had starred in many movies before, including westerns, prior to this movie. He was still a big unknown at the time and isn't even the top-billing actor of this movie. It must be said that he also just doesn't play the biggest role of the movie. He is just one of the characters. It was the first of many collaborations between director John Ford and the actor John Wayne. The movie has a great assembly cast next to Wayne, with actors such as John Carradine and George Bancroft, who were quite big names at the time. It's of course really a movie that allows its actors to shine, since its a movie that mostly relies on all of its characters. I especially liked John Carradine in the movie.

It above all things is a great made movie, that is beautifully looking. The John Ford directing for the movie is dynamic and knows to combine elements from all kind of genre, with always keeping the movie look and feel like a western, despite featuring so much different 'non;-western like elements. Ford also received an Oscar nomination for his directing of this movie. The movie received a total of 7 Oscar nominations but took only home 2 awards, of which not the most important ones. I also really liked the movie its Oscar nominated cinematography, which gave the movie a great look and overall atmosphere. The movie also uses some nice settings. For some part the movie was filmed in Monument Valley, Utah. A location director John Ford would use many more times again after this movie but he used for the first time ever in this movie.

Some of the stunts in the movie also deserve credit.

Guess it's not a movie for just everyone, especially not those who are expecting a typical John Ford or John Wayne western. The movie for most part feels and progresses like a typical '30's drama. It nevertheless is a timeless classic. When people call this movie outdated, they just probably have something against black & white pictures in general, for "Stagecoach" was a quite modern movie for its time and still perfectly holds up this present day.

A wonderful timeless movie, even for those who aren't into the western genre.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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