3 Godfathers

Argosy Pictures / MGM Released 1948




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Movie Summary

John Ford
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3 Godfathers stars screen legend John Wayne ("Stagecoach," "Rio Bravo," "True Grit," "The Searchers") in a touching western about three half-hearted outlaws who go on the run with an orphaned infant they find in the desert. Directed by the great Oscar-winner John Ford ("Stagecoach," "Mogambo," "The Grapes of Wrath"). Co-starring Ward Bond ("My Darling Clementine," "Gentleman Jim"), Harry Carey Jr. ("Tombstone") and Oscar-nominee Mildred Natwick ("Barefoot in the Park").


John Wayne

John Wayne

Robert Marmaduke Sangster Hightower

Harry Carey Jr.

Harry Carey Jr.

William "The Abiline Kid" Kearny

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson


Mildred Natwick

Mildred Natwick


Ward Bond

Ward Bond


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • John Wayne's character at one point is seen squeezing a cactus to get water from it. A cactus in the desert would not normal have that much moisture retained in it, so director John Ford had his greensman continuously water the cactus all night prior to the filming of the scene so it would have plenty of water to squeeze out.

    • In the scene where Deputy Curly is seen dealing with an ornery mule, the mule wouldn't cooperate in Worden's closeups so the props department rigged up reins to pull backwards every time Worden would pull on them.

    • A baby girl was used for the scene where John Wayne greases a baby boy.

    • In numerous scenes John Wayne appears to be very red or flushed. Filming long scenes in the desert, Wayne got extremely sunburned and at one time had to be hospitalized due to the burns.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Posse Member: A lot of boys stick up stagecoaches and banks and one thing and another. But a man who would dynamite a water hole in this kind of country is downright criminal.

  • NOTES (5)

    • 3 Godfathers was produced by John Ford's Argosy Pictures and distributed through MGM Studios with a shooting budget of $1,243,000. Total domestic box office receipts were $2,841,000.

    • Director John Ford named John Wayne's character "Robert Marmaduke Hightower" after his favorite stuntman, Bryan Hightower, who was also one of the stunt actors in 3 Godfathers.

    • Desert filming locations for the 3 Godfathers included Death Valley National Park and the Mojave Desert, both in California.

    • 3 Godfathers is actually a remake of the 1916 black and white silent film The Three Godfathers which John Ford had also directed and had starred Harry Carey Sr. After Carey Sr. had died, Ford set out to remake the film in color, dedicating the movie to his long time friend and giving his son, Harry Carey Jr. one of the starring roles.

    • Harry Carey Sr. had been a long time close friend of John Ford but had died a few years prior to the making of 3 Godfathers. Carey's son, Harry Carey Jr., had a starring role in this film and when his parts had been completed, Ford demanded that he leave the set and go home. After Carey Jr. had exited the set, Ford filmed the dedication to Harry Carey scenes of a horseman riding toward the sunset and had felt that the scene would have been too emotional for Harry Jr. to watch.


More Info About This Movie


Westerns, Classics