Red River

  • Film
  • Action and adventure
0 Love It
Hawks' leisurely adaptation of Borden Chase's story about the establishing of the Chisholm Trail by Wayne and Clift's cattle train is a sheer delight that works on many levels. Firstly, it's an examination of Wayne's heroic image, here shown to be needlessly authoritarian and stubborn as he comes into conflict with his more liberal surrogate son Clift, gradually coming in for more and more criticism from garrulous Greek-chorus figure Brennan for his repeated killing of deserters. Secondly, it's yet another variation on Hawks' perennial concern with the theme of self-respect and professionalism, and being part of 'the group'. Finally, it's an intimate epic celebrating the determination to establish civilisation in the wilderness, with Clift's refusal to resort to the gun viewed as an essential improvement upon Wayne's trigger-happy rough justice. Immaculately shot by Russell Harlan, perfectly performed by a host of Hawks regulars, and shot through with dark comedy, it's probably the finest Western of the '40s.

Release details

Duration: 133 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Howard Hawks
Screenwriter: Borden Chase, Charles Schnee
Cast: John Wayne
Paul Fix
Joanne Dru
Harry Carey Sr
John Ireland
Coleen Gray
Noah Beery Jr
Montgomery Clift
Harry Carey Jr
Walter Brennan

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
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  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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Frank TALKER

Problem with this review and the film itself is that neither addresses their own inherent White supremacism in claiming that Indian lands can simply be stolen from their rightful owners because it is nothing more than uninhabited 'wilderness'. Hardly surprising that Hollywood later tried to be somewhat more honest about the genocide of Indians; resulting in Westerns falling out of favour among Whites because they stopped presenting institutional racism as somehow heroic.

Harvey Hurtt

Greatest western ever made! I first saw Red River as young boy of 12 years....it made a magnificant impression upon me then; the impression remains. I'm familiar with the other "top" western movies but none leaves an indelible feeling as does Red River. The reality of the cattle drive and the acting of Montgomery Clift and John Wayne was probably never achieved in a higher form.

Harvey Hurtt

Greatest western ever made! I first saw Red River as young boy of 12 years....it made a magnificant impression upon me then; the impression remains. I'm familiar with the other "top" western movies but none leaves an indelible feeling as does Red River. The reality of the cattle drive and the acting of Montgomery Clift and John Wayne was probably never achieved in a higher form.