May 26th, 2012: Stagecoach (1939)

Cast and Crew:  Yakima Canutt (Stunt Coordinator, Second Unit Director); Claire Trevor, John Carradine, Andy Devine, Thomas Mitchell, Donald Meek, Tim Holt, Tom Tyler

What It’s About: A group of strangers share a perilous stagecoach ride during war with the Apaches.  During the journey, the crisis will reveal the passengers secrets-and their true character.

Why Watch it Today?: Stagecoach was John Wayne’s breakout role, getting him out of Republic, B-movie Westerns and serials and into starring roles in A-list films, and beginning his long collaboration with director John Ford.  Wayne was born today in 1907.  Stagecoach features some amazing stunt work during its climatic running gun battle, as well as several iconic moments for Wayne, most memorably the scene that introduces him, cocking a lever-action rifle with one hand.

Where to Get It: Watch it free at Hulu Plus:

The Trailer:

Other Choices:  Former Movie of the Day The Searchers gets my vote for John Wayne’s best film; True Grit won him an Oscar; or, if you’d prefer to see him in something other than a Western, you could try The Quiet Man.

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