The ABC's of Film Noir
The ABC's of Film Noir

Henry Fonda – One-Take Fonda

Warlock (1959) - Henry Fonda

Warlock (1959) – Henry Fonda

I don't want to be in a fake war in a studio - Henry Fonda


Henry Fonda was a soft-spoken man who was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1905. Following high school, he attended the University of Minnesota and studied journalism. At the age of 20, Fonda began acting at the Omaha Community Playhouse. After becoming a part of the Cape Cod University Players Fonda moved to New York and began working on Broadway. He worked on Broadway through 1934. The last play he did was “The Farmer Takes a Wife.” When this was made into a film he got a role. For the next fifty years, he made some of the most important movies of their era. Fonda worked across all genera’s.

Henry Fonda is remembered for so many movies it is hard to summarize. In 1939, Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) and Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) were released. The next year Fonda struck gold with his portrayal of Oakie Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940). He received an Oscar nomination for this role. He excelled in westerns starring in The Return of Frank James (1940), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) where he played a man trying to stop a lynching, My Darling Clementine (1946), Fort Apache (1948), Warlock (1959) in which Fonda was an evil gunfighter, Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) where he plays a more evil gunfighter, and The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) where he was not evil at all.

Henry Fonda - The Grapes of Wrath

Henry Fonda – The Grapes of Wrath

However, Fonda’s work in other genera’s is even more impressive. These films include Mister Roberts (1955) the story of a man wanting to do more in the war, 12 Angry Men (1957) in which Fonda’s charcter changes the minds of 11 other men, The Longest Day (1962), Advise & Consent (1962), Spencer’s Mountain (1963), Sex and the Single Girl (1964), Fail-Safe (1964) where he tried to stop a nuclear war at a great personal price, Battle of the Bulge (1965), In Harm’s Way (1965), The Rounders (1965), A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966) which was a western comedy grafter movie, Yours, Mine and Ours (1968) a light-hearted comedy with Lucille Ball, Sometimes a Great Notion (1970), Midway (1976), The Swarm (1978), Meteor (1979) a disaster film, and On Golden Pond (1981) where Fonda played an old poop. He received an Oscar for Best Actor for On Golden Pond (1981).

As successful as he was on screen he was as unlucky in love. Fonda was married five times. From his marriage to Frances Seymour he would have two children; Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda. Both of these children became actors and both have won Oscars. Fonda was in a film with each, briefly in Wanda Nevada (1979) with Peter and in On Golden Pond (1981) with Jane. Bridget Fonda is his granddaughter.

Fonda died in Los Angeles on August 12, 1982, from cardiorespiratory arrest.

Full-Length Movies

1935 The Farmer Takes a Wife Dan Harrow
1935 I Dream Too Much ‘Johnny’ Street
1935 Way Down East David Bartlett
1936 Spendthrift Townsend Middleton
1936 The Moon’s Our Home Anthony Amberton / John Smith
1936 The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Dave Tolliver
1937 That Certain Woman Jack Merrick
1937 Slim Slim
1937 You Only Live Once Eddie Taylor
1937 Wings of the Morning Kerry Gilfallen
1938 The Mad Miss Manton Peter Ames
1938 Spawn of the North Jim Kimmerlee
1938 Blockade Marco
1938 Jezebel Preston Dillard
1938 I Met My Love Again Ives Towner
1939 Drums Along the Mohawk Gilbert Martin
1939 Young Mr. Lincoln Abraham Lincoln
1939 The Story of Alexander Graham Bell Thomas Watson
1939 Let Us Live ‘Brick’ Tennant
1939 Jesse James Frank James
1940 Chad Hanna Chad Hanna
1940 The Return of Frank James Frank James
1940 Lillian Russell Alexander Moore
1940 The Grapes of Wrath Tom Joad
1941 You Belong to Me Peter Kirk
1941 Wild Geese Calling John Murdock
1941 The Lady Eve Charles
1942 The Big Street Agustus ‘Little Pinks’ Pinkerton, II
1942 Tales of Manhattan George
1942 The Magnificent Dope Thadeus Winship ‘Tad’ Page
1942 Rings on Her Fingers John Wheeler
1942 The Male Animal Tommy Turner
1943 The Ox-Bow Incident Gil Carter
1943 Immortal Sergeant Cpl. Colin Spence
1946 My Darling Clementine Wyatt Earp
1947 Daisy Kenyon Peter Lapham
1947 The Fugitive A Fugitive
1947 The Long Night Joe Adams
1948 Fort Apache Lt. Col. Owen Thursday
1948 On Our Merry Way Lank Solsky
1949 Jigsaw Nightclub Waiter (cameo appearance) (uncredited)
1953 Main Street to Broadway Henry Fonda (scenes deleted)
1955 Mister Roberts Lt. JG Douglas A. ‘Doug’ Roberts
1956 The Wrong Man Manny Balestrero
1956 War and Peace Pierre Bezukhov
1957 The Tin Star Morgan ‘Morg’ Hickman
1957 12 Angry Men Juror 8
1958 Stage Struck Lewis Easton
1959 The Man Who Understood Women Willie Bauche
Warlock (1959) – as angry gunfighter Clay Blaisedell. Loosely based on the OK Corral.
1962 How the West Was Won Jethro Stuart
1962 The Longest Day Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
1962 Advise & Consent Robert Leffingwell
1963 Spencer’s Mountain Clay Spencer
1964 Sex and the Single Girl Frank
1964 Fail-Safe The President
1964 The Best Man William Russell
Battle of the Bulge (1965) as Lt. Col. Dan Kiley a New York detective now in the Army trying to discover the location of a German attack.
1965 The Secret Agents Dimitri Koulov
In Harm’s Way (1965) as CINCPAC II, in a very small role in the World War II drama.
1965 The Rounders Marion ‘Howdy’ Lewis
1966 A Big Hand for the Little Lady Meredith
1967 Welcome to Hard Times Mayor Will Blue
1968 Once Upon a Time in the West Frank
1968 The Boston Strangler John S. Bottomly
1968 Yours, Mine and Ours Frank Beardsley
1968 Madigan Commissioner Anthony X. Russell
1968 Firecreek Larkin
1970 Sometimes a Great Notion Henry Stamper
1970 The Cheyenne Social Club Harley Sullivan
1970 Too Late the Hero Capt. John G. Nolan
1973 My Name Is Nobody Jack Beauregard
1973 Ash Wednesday Mark Sawyer
1973 The Serpent Allan Davies
1974 The Last 4 Days Cardinale Schuster
1976 Midway Adm. Chester W. Nimitz
1977 Rollercoaster Simon Davenport
1977 The Last of the Cowboys Elegant John Howard
1977 Tentacles Mr. Whitehead, President of Trojan Construction
1978 The Swarm Dr. Walter Krim
1978 Fedora President of the Academy
1978 The Biggest Battle General Foster
1979 Meteor The President
1979 Wanda Nevada Old Prospector
1979 City on Fire Fire Chief Albert Risley
1981 On Golden Pond Norman Thayer Jr.

Henry Fonda – One-Take Fonda

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