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The John Wayne western movie
- Adaptation Displacement: There was a novel? In fact, the novel has stayed in print because of the reputation of the film.
- Alas, Poor Scrappy: T'sala-ta-komal-ta-name/"Look" (Martin's homely Comanche trophy wife) is cringe-inducing in her Modern Minstrelsy....but you will feel bad when you see her corpse after she's massacred during a cavalry raid.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Did Look go to the Comanche camp to warn Scar of Ethan's approach, or did she try to get Debbie for Martin as a sign of her loyalty to him? Martin himself remarks that he's not entirely sure.
- Award Snub: Received no nominations at the Oscars. Rather ironic, considering how the film is now viewed as a masterpiece by John Ford, who was otherwise the most rewarded director in the Oscar's history. Of course this was a time when westerns were generally regarded as disposable entertainment and none of Ford's westerns won him an Oscar.
- Not to mention it was widely considered John Wayne's best acting, and that he deserved an Oscar for this rather than True Grit.
- Awesome Music: The song The Searchers, by the Sons of the Pioneers (it starts at 0:19).
- Broken Base: The wedding scene is controversial. Is it pointless Padding mainly meant to give Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles and Ken Curtis something to do in the film? Or is it an effective Breather Episode that gives the audience some much-needed comic relief before the intense final act of the story?
- Draco in Leather Pants: Henry Brandon's handsome features and brooding performance as Scar has won him a lot of fans. They also note that the film presents Scar as Ethan's doppelganger and that the Comanches have justifiable Freudian Excuse for attacking settlers what with the whole encroachment on the land, racism and passive genocide.
- Evil Is Cool: The Comanches in the film (as played by the Navajo) and Scar are pretty awesome and cool foes. John Milius admitted on seeing the film that he totally rooted for the Comanches, saying they were badass awesome warriors ("These are not jackals but Lions!"). He also admits "I wanted to be Scar".
- Fair for Its Day: While the racism is meant to make the viewer uncomfortable, modern viewers are still going to be put off far more than the 1950s audience.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: With Buddy Holly borrowing Ethan's Catchphrase for his Signature Song, this exchange feels like the film is actually referencing the song.Martin Pawley: I hope you die!Ethan Edwards: That'll be the day.
- Hype Backlash: Inevitable due to being held up as the greatest western ever.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: It's a Western about racism; so what's the big deal? Well, the "big deal" is that it was the Trope Breaker for the older, shiny-white-good-guys version of The Western, and was so powerful that virtually every Western, and a huge number of films in general that followed, felt compelled either try to respond to it in some way to avoid being tacky, or to at least homage and acknowledge it. Also, it must be noted that in the classic era, there were very few movies that actually deal with settler/native relations with the same kind of honesty and lack of Black and White Morality, as noted by author Sherman Alexie.
- Moral Event Horizon: Ethan attempts to cross it when he almost kills his niece for marrying a Comanche; he doesn't follow through when he's hit with an arrow.
- Narm: Oh, Lord. Let us count the ways....
- The atrocious way Lucy Edwards sets her jaw before screaming bloody murder when she realizes that Comanches are approaching the homestead (when a simple Oh, Crap! expression would have been much more effective).
- The first time we see Henry Brandon as Scar. He is obviously wearing make-up.
- The actor playing the Indian corpse early on picked a quite unfortunate moment to take a deep breath.
- Once Acceptable Targets: Native American women, especially if they're not sexualized in any way. See Unfortunate Implications below.
- Special Effects Failure: A bunch, but most prominently, the "dead" Comanches who are clearly breathing.
- Values Dissonance: The film is fair to Native Americans and women, but not Native American women. T'sala-ta-komal-ta-name, known better as "Look", is treated by the film is a joke, compared to Scar, Laurie and Debbie, likely because she is both female and a minority, and especially because she does not fit the strict beauty standards of women that are set by men, and is shown as sexually undesirable to a man, either white or 7/8 white.
- Vindicated by History: The film was a box-office hit in its day but not regarded as anything more than a typical John Wayne potboiler, at least in America (the French, especially Jean-Luc Godard, really liked it). Critics generally felt Ford was wasting his time doing Westerns. One particularly clueless reviewer dismissed The Searchers as being "for children". Even Ford fans like Lindsay Anderson were skeptical about it. It wasn't until the rise of the New Hollywood that its reputation grew, starting with a scene in Martin Scorsese's 1968 film Who's That Knocking at My Door? where the lead character (played by Harvey Keitel) enthuses about it. Paul Schrader, John Milius and George Lucas also cited it as an important film that had great influence on their work.
The British 1960s band
- Creator Backlash: When the band was given "Sugar and Spice", drummer Chris Curtis allegedly hated the song, but eventually agreed to sing the countertenor backing vocables.
- Poor Man's Substitute: The band were often accused of being copies of The Beatles, although, due to the large amount of British boy bands that were part of the British Invasion, every band that was not The Beatles were accused of trying to be The Beatles.