John Ford (1894–1973) is generally considered one of America's best motion picture directors and has often been called its greatest. His silent and sound films made between 1917 and 1966 depicting the settling of the western frontiers, portraying unforgettable individuals and families in conflict, and illustrating the fragile yet resolute human side of history have received praise and accolades from film critics, cinema scholars, and movie buffs throughout the world over the past seventy-odd years. Thousands of professional actors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, and fellow directors have applauded Ford's work. These admirers have included renowned American and foreign directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Peter Bogdanovich, Sergei Eisenstein, Federico Fellini, Samuel Fuller, Pietro Germi, Howard Hawks, Norman Jewison, Stanley Kramer, Akira Kurosawa, Sidney Lumet, George Lucas, John Milius, Stanley Kramer, Jean Renoir, Douglas Sirk, Stephen Spielberg, and Francois Truffaut. Orson Welles considered Ford his "teacher" and Stagecoach (1939) his "movie text-book." When asked which directors appealed to him, Welles replied, "the old masters. By which I mean John Ford, John Ford and John Ford … With Ford at his best, you feel that the movie has lived and breathed in a real world." (B257, p. 58). British director Lindsay Anderson reverently acclaimed Ford our century's "Poet of faith in an age of unbelief." (B2, p. 208). Frank Capra described Ford as "the dean of directors-undoubtedly the greatest and most versatile in films. A megaphone has been to John Ford what the chisel was to Michelangelo: his life, his passion, his cross." (B168, p. 274). Martin Scorsese saluted Ford's The Searchers (1956) for reaching "as far as film can go toward expressing the longings and disillusionments of the human condition." (B414, p. 12). And the Indian director Satyajit Ray declared, "In my youth I admired John Ford for almost exactly the same reasons that I admired Beethoven: for his strength and simplicity; for his warmth, his lyricism and his breadth of vision; for his heroic stance, and his unbounded faith and optimism." (B61, p.77).
But the greatest tribute to John Ford is simply listing fifty of the more than one hundred twenty films he directed during his career: Straight Shooting (1917), The Iron Horse (1924), 3 Bad Men (1926), Four Sons (1928), The Black Watch (1929), Men Without Women (1930), Up the River (1930), Seas Beneath (1931), Arrowsmith (1931), Air Mail (1932), Pilgrimage (1933), Doctor Bull (1933), The Lost Patrol (1934), Judge Priest (1934), The Whole Town's Talking (1935), The Informer (1935), Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), Mary of Scotland (1936), The Plough and the Stars (1936), The Hurricane (1937), Four Men and a Prayer (1938), Stagecoach (1939), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Long Voyage Home (1940), Tobacco Road(1941), How Green Was My Valley (1941), They Were Expendable (1945), My Darling Clementine (1946), The Fugitive (1947), Fort Apache (1948), Three Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Wagon Master (1950), Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), The Sun Shines Bright (1953), Mogambo . . .