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Stagecoach Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

Stagecoach

(1939)
Not Rated In Theaters 03/2/1939 , 96min.
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Plot & Details

Although there were Westerns before it, Stagecoach quickly became a template for all movie Westerns to come. Director John Ford combined action, drama, humor, and a set of well-drawn characters in the story of a stagecoach set to leave Tonto, New Mexico for a distant settlement in Lordsburg, with a diverse set of passengers on board. Dallas (Claire Trevor) is a woman with a scandalous past who has been driven out of town by the high-minded ladies of the community. Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt) is the wife of a cavalry officer stationed in Lordsburg, and she's determined to be with him. Hatfield (John Carradine) is a smooth-talking cardsharp who claims to be along to "protect" Lucy, although he seems to have romantic intentions. Dr. Boone (Thomas Mitchell) is a self-styled philosopher, a drunkard, and a physician who's been stripped of his license. Mr. Peacock (Donald Meek) is a slightly nervous whiskey salesman (and, not surprisingly, Dr. Boone's new best friend). Gatewood (Berton Churchill) is a crooked banker who needs to get out of town. Buck (Andy Devine) is the hayseed stage driver, and Sheriff Wilcox (George Bancroft) is along to offer protection and keep an eye peeled for the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), a well-known outlaw who has just broken out of jail. While Wilcox does find Ringo, a principled man who gives himself up without a fight, the real danger lies farther down the trail, where a band of Apaches, led by Geronimo, could attack at any time. Stagecoach offers plenty of cowboys, Indians, shootouts, and chases, aided by Yakima Canutt's remarkable stunt work and Bert Glennon's majestic photography of Ford's beloved Monument Valley. It also offers a strong screenplay by Dudley Nichols with plenty of room for the cast to show its stuff. John Wayne's performance made him a star after years as a B-Western leading man, and Thomas Mitchell won an Oscar for what could have been just another comic relief role. Thousands of films have followed Stagecoach's path, but no has ever improved on its formula.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Art Direction Alexander Toluboff Nominated
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actor Thomas Mitchell Won
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Score Leo Shuken Won
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing Otho Lovering Nominated
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture Nominated
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director John Ford Nominated
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Score W. Franke Harling Won
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing Dorothy Spencer Nominated
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Black and White Cinematography Bert Glennon Nominated
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Score John Leipold Won
1939 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Score Richard Hageman Won

American Film Institute

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1998 American Film Institute 100 Greatest American Movies Won

Library of Congress

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1994 Library of Congress U.S. National Film Registry Won

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1939 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated
1939 National Board of Review Best Acting Thomas Mitchell Won

New York Film Critics Circle

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1939 New York Film Critics Circle Best Director John Ford Won

New York Times

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1939 New York Times 10 Best Films Won

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