John Sturges


John Eliot Sturges (January 3, 1910 – August 18, 1992) was an American film director. His best known films include Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), with Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Lee Marvin, and Ernest Borgnine; Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas; The Magnificent Seven (1960), with Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz; The Great Escape (1963), with McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Bronson, Donald Pleasence, Coburn, and Hannes Messemer; and Ice Station Zebra (1968), with Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Borgnine, and Jim Brown.

His early films include The Walking Hills (1949), with Randolph Scott and Ella Raines; The Capture (1950), with Lew Ayres, Teresa Wright, Victor Jory, and Jacqueline White; Mystery Street (1950), with Ricardo Montalban, Sally Forrest, Bruce Bennett, Elsa Lanchester, and Marshall Thompson; Right Cross (1950), with June Allyson, Montalban, Dick Powell, Lionel Barrymore, and (in a small uncredited role) Marilyn Monroe; Ethel Barrymore, Maurice Evans, Keenan Wynn and Angela Lansbury; Jeopardy (1953), with Barbara Stanwyck and Barry Sullivan; Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), with William Holden, Eleanor Parker, and John Forsythe; Underwater! (1955), with Jane Russell and Richard Egan; Backlash (1956), with Richard Widmark and Donna Reed; Last Train from Gun Hill (1959), with Douglas and Anthony Quinn; and Never So Few (1959), with Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, McQueen, Richard Johnson, Paul Henreid, Brian Donlevy, Dean Jones, Bronson, and Philip Ahn.

His films in the 1960s and 1970s include By Love Possessed (1961), with Lana Turner, Jason Robards, George Hamilton, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.; Sergeants 3 (1962), with Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop; A Girl Named Tamiko (1963), with Laurence Harvey, France Nuyen, Martha Hyer, Gary Merrill, Michael Wilding, and Miyoshi Umeki; Marooned (1969), with Gregory Peck, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, James Franciscus, and Gene Hackman; Joe Kidd (1972), with Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, and John Saxon; Chino (1973), with Bronson, Jill Ireland, Marcel Bozzuffi, and Vincent Van Patten; McQ (1974), with John Wayne, Eddie Albert, Diana Muldaur, Colleen Dewhurst, Clu Gallagher, David Huddleston, and Al Lettieri; and The Eagle Has Landed (1976), with Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Duvall, Jenny Agutter, and Pleasance.

For Bad Day Day at Bad Rock, Sturges was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, which also received nominations for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. In 2013, The Magnificent Seven was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Although both he and fellow director Preston Sturges were from the Chicago area and shared the same last name, they had no known close relation to each other.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • The Man Who Dared (1946)
  • Shadowed (1946)
  • Alias Mr. Twilight (1946)
  • For the Love of Rusty (1947)
  • Keeper of the Bees (1947)
  • Thunderbolt (1947)
  • The Sign of the Ram (1948)
  • Best Man Wins (1948)
  • The Walking Hills (1949)
  • The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
  • The Capture (1950)
  • Mystery Street (1950)
  • Right Cross (1950)
  • Kind Lady (1951)
  • The People Against O’Hara (1951)
  • It’s a Big Country (1951) – directed with Clarence Brown, Don Hartman, Richard Thorpe, Charles Vidor, Don Weis, & William A. Wellman – anthology
  • The Girl in White (1952)
  • Jeopardy (1953)
  • Fast Company (1953)
  • Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)
  • Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • Underwater! (1955)
  • The Scarlet Coat (1955)
  • Backlash (1956)
  • Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
  • Saddle the Wind (1958) – directing credit given to Robert Parrish
  • The Law and Jake Wade (1958)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (1958) – replaced Fred Zinnermann
  • Last Train from Gun Hill (1959)
  • Never So Few (1959)
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960)
  • By Love Possessed (1961)
  • Sergeants 3 (1962)
  • A Girl Named Tamiko (1963)
  • The Great Escape (1963)
  • The Satan Bug (1965)
  • The Hallelujah Trail (1965)
  • Hour of the Gun (1967)
  • Ice Station Zebra (1968)
  • Marooned (1969)
  • Le Mans (1971) – quit during production – credited to Lee H. Katzin
  • Joe Kidd (1972)
  • Chino (1973)
  • McQ (1974)
  • The Eagle Has Landed (1976)