“Undoubtedly one of the greatest Westerns ever made. For sheer scope, guts and beauty I can think of no picture to compare with it.” - Jack Moffitt, Hollywood Reporter

“It’s an endlessly surprising film, in large part because it starts out feeling like such a standard Hollywood Western. But then the film diverges from the expected action-rescue-revenge plot, and becomes bigger, wider, and sadder.” - Tasha Robinson, The Dissolve

Monday, July 22, 6:00 p.m. | In the iconic closing shot of THE SEARCHERS, Civil War veteran and aging cowboy Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) stands in the door of a homestead as the family he is part of—yet distanced from—is reunited. In front of him is the warmth of domestic life, behind him is the expansive and unforgiving American Southwest. Edwards has come to the end of his years-long, obsessive search for his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood), and now, post-war, post-heroism, he is purposeless and alone, a figure of the past in a world that is rapidly changing. Cradling his arm, framed within a frame, Wayne—a commanding presence at 6’4”—appears small and vulnerable. Wayne starred in more than a dozen John Ford films, but THE SEARCHERS reigns supreme, a rich and complex exploration of racism and revenge that ends with one of the most referenced frames in cinema history. “In its final moment,” Martin Scorsese wrote, “THE SEARCHERS suddenly becomes a ghost story.” Content consideration: includes racist depictions of Native Americans.


Last ShotStick the landing. Bring it home. Finish strong. In cinema, the last shot is arguably the most important. “This is it, this is the final moment, it is perfect!” only to have it go on, stumbling and fumbling its way to the credits? For all those missed opportunities, there are also the pitch-perfect conclusions, the memorable last looks, the frames that catch your breath in your throat and with pure artistry not only conclude a film but underscore, emphasize, or affirm the entire running time that came before it. Our 11-film Last Shot series explores impeccable resolutions in film. View full Last Shot series. *Spoiler alert: the endings of all films in this series are mentioned (as subtly as possible) in their description, and the accompanying still images do not reflect their final frames.

The Film Center is ADA accessible. This presentation will be projected without open captions. The theater is hearing-loop equipped. For accessibility requests, please email filmcenter@saic.edu