Hollywood's America is no stranger to angry men in big violent worlds — solitary anti-heroes fighting fire with fire while life rolls on for us, mere mortals. Trace that theme back and you come to two giants of the Western — director John Ford and actor John Wayne.
In 1956, at the height of Cold War and race tensions, they brought out the raw, racially-charged Western classic "The Searchers." John Wayne played a rage-filled obsessive tracking down a kidnapped girl — the flawed, savage hero defending civilization against savagery. Many film critics put it among the top five films of all time. It resonates large today.
Hear a conversation with New York Times film critic A. O. Scott on John Wayne, John Ford and "The Searchers."
A.O. Scott, film citic, The New York Times
Jack Beatty, "On Point" News Analyst and a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.
This program aired on July 14, 2006.