7.1/10
3,072
49 user 15 critic

Northwest Passage (1940)

'Northwest Passage' (Book I -- Rogers' Rangers) (original title)
Trailer
2:00 | Trailer
Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner join Major Rogers' Rangers as they wipe out an Indian village. They set out for Fort Wentworth, but when they arrive they find no soldiers and none of the supplies they expected.

Directors:

King Vidor, Jack Conway (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Laurence Stallings (screenplay), Talbot Jennings (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Westerner (1940)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinegarroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When American newspaperman and adventurer Henry M. Stanley comes back from the western Indian wars, his editor James Gordon Bennett sends him to Africa to find Dr. David Livingstone, the ... See full summary »

Directors: Henry King, Otto Brower
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, Richard Greene
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A lad with a penchant for trouble is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Indiana. Though he's not happy about the arrangement at first, his love of horses and his affection for a young ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Walter Brennan, Jeanne Crain, Charlotte Greenwood
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An old man and a young boy who live in the southeastern Mississippi swamps are brought together by the love of a dog.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Walter Brennan, Phil Harris, Brandon De Wilde
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A major countermands orders and attacks to avenge a previous massacre of men, women, and children.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Patric Knowles
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After a career criminal is recaptured and knows he faces the guillotine, he offers to exchange his life for 100 hostages slated for execution by the Nazis.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Errol Flynn, Paul Lukas, Lucile Watson
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Four outlaws come to New Jerusalem, a town full of courteous and religious people, to rob the bank. After shooting the president of the bank, only three make it out of town followed by the ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Walter Brennan
The Sea Hawk (1940)
Action | Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains
Mister 880 (1950)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Gentle romantic comedy about a Secret Service Agent trying to catch a cold case counterfeiter and a United Nations translator.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Edmund Gwenn, Dorothy McGuire
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A German-born engineer, his American wife and their children travel from Mexico to the United States to visit her family but their plans are complicated by a Romanian count.

Directors: Herman Shumlin, Hal Mohr
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Boom Town (1940)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Major Richard Rogers
Robert Young ... Langdon Towne
Walter Brennan ... 'Hunk' Marriner
Ruth Hussey ... Elizabeth Browne
Nat Pendleton ... 'Cap' Huff
Louis Hector Louis Hector ... Reverend Browne
Robert Barrat ... Humphrey Towne
Lumsden Hare ... Lord Amherst
Donald MacBride ... Sergeant McNott
Isabel Jewell ... Jennie Coit
Douglas Walton ... Lieutenant Avery
Addison Richards ... Lieutenant Crofton
Hugh Sothern ... Jesse Beacham
Regis Toomey ... Webster
Montagu Love ... Wiseman Clagett
Edit

Storyline

Based on the Kenneth Roberts novel of the same name, this film tells the story of two friends who join Rogers' Rangers, as the legendary elite force engages the enemy during the French and Indian War. The film focuses on their famous raid at Fort St. Francis and their marches before and after the battle. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Half Men - Half Demons . . . Warriors Such As The World Has Never Known . . . They Lived With Death and Danger For The Women Who Hungered For Their Love ! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Northwest Passage See more »

Filming Locations:

Cascade Mountains, Oregon, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,677,762 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The most demanding scene for the actors involved the filming of the "human chain" employed by the Rangers to cross a treacherous river. The actors themselves had to do the shots without the benefit of stunt doubles. The sequence was begun at Payette Lake in Idaho but had to be completed in the studio tank because the lake was far too dangerous. For Spencer Tracy, who once complained that the physical labors required of actors "wouldn't tax an embryo," it was his most difficult shoot to that point, surpassing even the taxing ocean scenes of his Oscar-winning Captains Courageous (1937). See more »

Goofs

During the attack on St. Francis, some of the bayonets on the Ranger's rifles can be seen wobbling, indicating they are made of rubber. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: This is a story of our early America... of the century of conflict with the French and Indians... when necessity made simple men, unknown to history, into giants in daring and endurance. It begins in Portsmouth New Hampshire, in 1759...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 53rd Annual Academy Awards (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

The British Grenadiers
(uncredited)
Traditional 17th century March
Sung a cappella by Andrew Pena
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Frequently ripped-off historical plot seen here first.
9 June 2011 | by KittymanSee all my reviews

Two months before his death in 1957, Kenneth Roberts received a special Pulitzer Prize for his historical novels. Of them, Northwest Passage was his most famous. It consisted of two distinct parts, and was the second best selling American book of 1937 (after first having been serialized in the Saturday Evening Post).

MGM's 1940 movie is based on the first, and in my opinion, better part of the book. It recounts Major Robert Rogers' 1759 raid on St. Francis, an Abenaki village, during the French and Indian War. As Rogers, Spencer Tracy gives a powerhouse performance, King Vidor delivers the directorial goods, and the storyline, itself, is very exciting. Indeed, I remember Northwest Passage fondly from my childhood, and consider it a classic. However, because of today's values, it probably appeals more to conservatives than liberals.

In 1945, Warner Brothers' Objective, Burma! (starring Errol Flynn) used the same plot without attribution--a Japanese transmission station replacing the Indian village. (Directed by Raoul Walsh, it too is very well done.) Then, in 1951's Distant Drums (starring Gary Cooper), director Walsh again used the same plot without attribution. This time the movie (which is not so well done) occurs during The Seminole Indian Wars (1835–1842), and the initial objective is an old Spanish fort, lying deep within the Everglades.

In conclusion, I'm not shocked that Hollywood recycled Roberts' plot without attribution. (You only have to remember Dorothy Parker's quip "The only 'ism' Hollywood believes in is plagiarism.") I am, however, somewhat shocked that Roberts did not sue. (His reputation was that of an acerbic curmudgeon.) But, then again, maybe he just didn't know.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 49 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed