Apache [1954]

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters, John McIntire, Charles Bronson, John Dehner
Genre: Western
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 91 minutes

John Ford's 1948 classic stars John Wayne as a Cavalry officer used to doing things a certain way out West at Fort Apache. Along comes a rigid, new commanding officer (Henry Fonda) who insists that everything on his watch be done by the book, including dealings with local Indians. The results are mixed: greater discipline at the fort, but increased hostilities with the natives. Ford deliberately leaves judgments about the wisdom of these changes ambiguous, but he also allows plenty of room in this wonderful film for the fullness of life among the soldiers and their families--community rituals, new romances--to blossom. Fonda, in an unusual role for him, is stern and formal as the new man in charge; Wayne is heroic as the rebellious second; Victor McLaglen provides comic relief; and Ward Bond is a paragon of sturdy and sentimental masculinity. All of this is set against the magnificent, poetic topography of Monument Valley. This is easily one of the greatest of American films. --Tom Keogh

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