BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 21: Director Steven Spielberg attends the "The Fabelmans" (Die Fabelmans) premiere & honorary golden bear and homage for Steven Spielberg red carpet during the 73rd Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Berlinale Palast on February 21, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Tristar Media/WireImage)
Movies - TV
One John Wayne Western Influenced Steven Spielberg More Than Any Other Film
Steven Spielberg learned to make movies by watching movies and turned to an iconic John Ford Western for inspiration early in his life: “The Searchers” starring John Wayne is widely considered not only Ford’s best film but perhaps the greatest Western of all time. Ever since seeing it, Spielberg revisits Ford’s movies at a specific time when directing his own projects.
“The Searchers” has influenced Spielberg's films since middle school, as he shot a homemade Western in the seventh grade using a bedsheet with Monument Valley painted on it, a landscape made famous in Ford’s films. He told AFI, “I try to rent a John Ford film, one or two, before I start every movie. Simply because he inspires me, and I'm very sensitive to [...] the way he frames things.”
It was Spielberg’s curious and mischievous nature that introduced him to Ford in the first place. “I had to actually take a little money out of the cookie jar because my parents thought ['The Searchers'] was too violent,” Spielberg told Turner Classic Movies. “I walked a mile to the theater and spent my 35 cents, got in, and saw my first John Ford picture. I've been a fan of his ever since.”