It’s hard to comment on such a seminal work, so I’m not going to try too hard. Instead, I’ll just stick to whether I liked it or not: mostly, I didn’t. The film’s racism bothered me. It can be argued that John Ford is peaking out against racism, but personally, I didn’t see it. The film belongs very much to its own time, the 1950s, and the world has moved on since then.
Also, its highly variable emotional tone (it swings from deep emotional anguish, to near-slapstick romantic farce, and back again) made it feel unbalanced and clumsy in comparison to modern, more tighly structured films. It certainly has some outstanding sequences, and the cinematography is undoubtedly beautiful, but overall, I think it’s now a movie to watch for its place in the history of cinema rather than for pleasure.