Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

Drums Along the Mohawk1939

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Drums Along the Mohawk Photos

Movie Info

John Ford directed this outdoor adventure set in the American Colonial period. Gilbert and Lana Martin (Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert) are a young couple trying to make a home in New York State's Mohawk Valley, but repeated attacks by Indians drive them, along with other settlers in the valley, into a nearby fort, where they watch helplessly as the natives lay waste to their farms and cabins. A spinster with a large farm, Sarah McKlennar (Edna May Oliver), comes to their rescue when she hires Gilbert to work as a field hand and gives the Martins a place to stay. The rugged life of the farm and frontier doesn't always sit well with Lana, who was raised in wealthy and comfortable circumstances; in time she develops a thicker skin and learns to love their new life in the Mohawk Valley, especially after giving birth to their first son. Gilbert joins the militia, who must do battle both with the local Indian tribes and the British soldiers who are provoking them to battle. Gilbert returns wounded, and as he recuperates, a healthy crop rises in the fields, but their satisfaction is short lived when the Indians once again hit the warpath. 1939 was a stellar year for John Ford; along with this highly successful adventure tale, which was nominated for three Academy Awards, Ford also released the ground-breaking western Stagecoach.

Watch it now


Claudette Colbert
as Lana (Magdelana)
Henry Fonda
as Gilbert Martin
Edna May Oliver
as Mrs. McKlennar
Eddie Collins
as Christian Reall
Dorris Bowdon
as Mary Reall
Jessie Ralph
as Mrs. Weaver
Arthur Shields
as Rev. Rosenkrantz
Robert Lowery
as John Weaver
Roger Imhof
as Gen. Nicholas Herkimer
Francis Ford
as Joe Boleo
Ward Bond
as Adam Hartman
Kay Linaker
as Mrs. DeMooth
Russell Simpson
as Dr. Petry
Si Jenks
as Jacob Small
Jack Pennick
as Amos Hartman
Arthur Ayleswofth
as George Weaver
Charles Tannen
as Dr. Robert Johnson
Paul McVey
as Capt. Mark DeMooth
Tiny Jones
as Mrs. Reall
Edwin Maxwell
as Rev. Daniel Gros
Robert Greig
as Mr. Borst
Clara Blandick
as Mrs. Borst
Tom Tyler
as Capt. Morgan
Lionel Pape
as General
Clarence Wilson
as Paymaster
Mae Marsh
as Pioneer Woman
View All

Critic Reviews for Drums Along the Mohawk

All Critics (11)

While Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz are often regarded as the standard bearers of Technicolor photography, it's hard to fathom why Drums Along the Mohawk isn't mentioned right alongside them.

August 6, 2019 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Duty leads to detachment, as is typical in Ford, and there are sterling examples here of resolute stoicism triumphing over hysteria.

August 16, 2012 | Rating: 73/100 | Full Review…

Visually very pleasing.

December 11, 2007 | Rating: B | Full Review…

a revelation

October 19, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It was Ford's first film in color and contains at least a handful of his most beautifully composed moments.

August 22, 2005 | Full Review…

Sketchy and episodic, John Ford's patriotic Revolutionary War tale is not one of his best dramatic efforts, but as his first color feature, it boasts stunning Oscar-nominated pictorial values.

June 7, 2005 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Drums Along the Mohawk

full of stereotypes, especially the description of indians as ape-like barbarians or christianity-converted dim-witts. i watched it just because i was curious how claudette colbert looks in color movies, and her costumes are sorta plain without the genius touch of paramout's travis banton, not doing colbert justice. henry fonda feels lacklusterly awkward with his un-becoming pig-tail. the reason i could be able to abscent-mindedly finish viewing it is its striking photography of inland wilderness, and how soothingly wide the blue sky is rendered along with limitlessly grand pastures, cliffy hills and the massive forests of tall pines(who knows what kind of tree is that..)..it manifests the aloof charm of primitive inland america despite the people in it weren't (portrayed) half as charming as its breath-taking landscapes. i would certainly watch it again to doze off while gazing at those striking views of celluloid nature.

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

Admittedly not Ford's best, not even his best in 1939 but Drums Along the Mohawk is still one of the better movies about the American Revolution and it contains some of Ford's most beautiful compositions.

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

It would have been emotionally uplifting at the time it was released, but it doesn't hold up today.

Edward Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

Drums Along the Mohawk Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features