Being the role model of many fans out there, John Ford is considered one of the most influential filmmakers of his time. Because of his astounding performances, he was awarded many times for his movies.
Ford started to amaze the public by getting into the filmmaking industry after high school. He was an evergreen American film director who directed about 49 remarkable films during his career. Fordspent 58 golden years of his life in the film industry. Former, he was the Assistant Director of his brother Francis Ford who worked as a director for Universal Studios.
Standing rightly on the meaning of a multi-talented personality, he worked as an actor, a stuntman, and a prop man for his brother. Soon Universal Studios offered him direction. He started his astounding career by working on short movies, but soon he made his way to the featured movies. After working with them for a short time, he joined Fox Films Corporation. He directed near about thirty films for the next ten years.
Let’s have a look at some of the most popular movies directed by John Ford.
1. The Informer (1935)
The Informer is an adaption movie from the novel of an Irishman who was one of Ford’s cousins. It was released in 1935 under ford’s direction. However, the novel had already been filmed as a movie in 1920. The early version of the movie was half silent. Ford’s film was shot in black and white – with full sounds and in a much-polished way.
It followed the ever demanded classical Hollywood traditions and had a little touch of German expressionism. The story revolves around the central character who gave information about his best friend, who was a part of the army. He was rewarded money for giving the information to the enemies but then started to regret ditching him and questioning his conscience for doing so. He thinks it cost him his self-respect. This movie takes out the eternal feels of a real friend from the public.
2. The Iron Horse (1924)
Ford was not only a director but also a mind-blowing stuntman. In Iron Horse, Ford amazed the audience by playing the role of the stunt-riding hero along with directing it.
Ford witnessed the murder of his father when he was a boy, and the grown-up him achieved western maturity due tothe building of the railway that was one of the biggest dreams of his late father. Hence, the movie is about the construction of America’s first transcontinental railroad. It shows the hard work of Italian, Irish, Chinese, and African immigrants who made this feat possible.
3. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
As Ford was a big novel lover, this masterpiece of a movie is also adapted from a novel. It is basically a proletarian story that shows the difficulties migrants face when landowners try to rule over the poor. A great idea of a nation’s development is visible by this art. The film ruled over the hearts of people just because it was based on America’s subject matter.
Because of the movie’s story and plot,it was awarded an Oscar. Moreover, italso showed human dignity even during the unceasing attacks. This movie is included in the list of those art pieces that are responsible for the fame of Henry Fonda. Ford handled the movie’s characters in a way that no other American director of that time ever could.
However, due to some controversies on this movie’s story, it was watchedrelatively less than his other movies.
4. The Quiet Man (1952)
The story is about a boxer Sean who accidentally killed his opponent in the boxing ring. He then ran away from America and came back to his home town to live a peaceful life with his family. When he tries to get a house for his family, he gets into conflict with another movie character whose sister later starts loving him. But when she came to know about the conflict between her brother and Sean, she refuses to marry him until he pays the loans. This movie undoubtedly shows the sentimental hidden side of John Ford.
This film is quite romanticized, and if you put aside the connections, it’s a fantasy-based movie. It expressed the non-typical role of John Wayne. John Ford had to come out of his comfort zone to create this genre of a movie. It is considered one of the best movies directed by John Ford. The romance involved in it clearly describes that Ford was an ocean of diverse talent.
5. The Searchers (1956)
The Searchers is regarded as one of the showstoppers John ever made in Hollywood’s history. The movie is one of the greatest American Western movies of all time. It has a concept that is miraculously modern as compared to those times. This movie, released in 1956, highlighted rarely discussed themes like sexual violence and gender race. It is one of the finest masterpieces directed by John Ford. Despite being so much popular, the movie was not nominated for Oscar.
The story is about a man (John Wayne playing Ethan) who returns to his home after the civil war, where he gets to know that the Comanche killed his brother’s family. Ethan finds out that some of his relatives are abducted, and he goes to look for them. He goes on a thrilling mission to find his niece about whom he was reported. In this movie, Ethan is neither heroic nor much decent as expected. It is basically opposite to the roles John Wayne had played.
6. Fort Apache (1948)
Fort Apache is based on the two most popular defeats of the Americans by the hands of the Indians. These defeats were known as Custer’s Last Stand and Fetterman Massacre in history. The story revolves around a civil war lieutenant colonel who arrives in Arizona with his daughter to win over the fort, where he collides with another captain. It is a complex movie that still works out as a hurdle for wars between militaries.
According to Ford’s POV, this movie personifies the two sides of the story with two of his most frequent stars: John Wayne and Henry Fonda. Wayne played the role of Captain York, whereas Fonda added life to the character of the colonel Owen Thursday. Although this movie was a theological genre,Ford’s excellent direction and working ability with his stars had this film become a little less dogma.
7. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
This film has been awarded the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color, in 1950. Most of this movie was based on paintings and sculptures. John Ford directed this movie, and it starred John Wayne. The story is about a captain whose last job before retirement was to pacify the situations among the Americans and Indians after Custer’s last stand. Also, he had to take his officer’s wife and niece to a safe place.
After completing both the missions, he has a meeting with an American chief to deflect an approaching war to soothe the environment. This movie was a little different from the types of entertainment Ford had usually filled in the industry. This unfolded the new chapter of capabilities of Ford in the genre he had a mastery upon. “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” was one of the best uses of Monument Valley ever made by John Ford. This story is brilliant, and Ford’s excellence in direction made it less focused but more episodic kind of story.