What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Stagecoach is a classic, landmark western from 1939, a masterpiece from director John Ford that featured John Wayne in his breakout role. This movie was designed for grown-ups, exploring complex psychological, moral and character issues through its simple story. Happily, it's also crackerjack entertainment, with plenty of tense conflict, humor, and action; it's also famous for one of the most dangerous stunts ever filmed. Younger kids may be bored, but for others that have never seen a western before, this is a grand place to start. It was nominated for seven Oscars and won two.
- Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it thrilling, or disturbing? How do the deaths of these characters affect you? How does the movie achieve these different emotions?
- Is it ironic that the lowest of the characters are the ones with the most integrity? What might cause these characters to have more empathy and tolerance than their more successful, more socially accepted passengers?
- In 1939, there was a motion picture code that prevented the movie from showing or discussing anything about prostitution or pregnancy. What may have been the reasons for this?
- What are the hallmarks of the Western genre? Why was it so popular, and why is it less popular today?