From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
John Ford (February 1 1894 – August 31 1973) was an American film director of Irish heritage famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach and The Searchers and adaptations of such 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath. His four Best Director Academy Awards (1935, 1940, 1941, 1952) is a record, although only one of those films, How Green Was My Valley, won Best Picture.
His style of film-making has been influential, leading colleagues such as Ingmar Bergman and Orson Welles to name him as one of the greatest directors of all time. In particular, Ford is a pioneer of location shooting and the long shot which frames his characters against a vast, harsh and rugged natural terrain. Ford has further influenced directors as diverse as Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Sam Peckinpah, Peter Bogdanovich, Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, David Lean, Orson Welles, Ingmar Bergman, John Milius, François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard.