27 user 11 critic

Union Pacific (1939)

Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 5 May 1939 (USA)
In 1862, Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California.



(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Colorado territory, outlaw Wes McQueen escapes jail to pull a railroad robbery but, upon meeting pretty settler Julie Ann, he wonders about going straight.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy Malone
Golden Boy (1939)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Despite his musical talent, Joe Bonaparte wants to be a boxer.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, William Holden
The Plainsman (1936)
Biography | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Wild Bill Hickok attempts to stop an Indian uprising that was started by white gun-runners.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison
Drama | Western | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A 100-year-old pioneer woman tells her story in flashbacks.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Brian Donlevy
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Newlyweds Gil and Lana Martin try to establish a farm in the Mohawk Valley but are menaced by Indians and Tories as the Revolutinary War begins.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Cowboy Ross McEwen arrives in town. He asks the banker for a loan of $2000. When the banker asks about securing a loan that large, McEwen shows him his six-gun collateral. The banker hands ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Joel McCrea, Frances Dee, Charles Bickford
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Earp agrees to become marshal and establish order in Tombstone in this very romanticized version of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral (e.g., Doc is killed by Curley before the actual battle and Earp must do the job alone).

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly, Cesar Romero
Jesse James (1939)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge.

Directors: Henry King, Irving Cummings
Stars: Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Elissa Landi
Western Union (1941)
History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Edward Creighton leads the construction of the Western Union to unite East with West, he hires a Western reformed outlaw and a tenderfoot Eastern surveyor.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Robert Young, Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger
Beau Geste (1939)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Three adopted English brothers join the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, after one of them steals their adoptive family's famous heirloom sapphire.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Businessman Logan Stuart is torn between his love of two very different women in 1850's Oregon and his loyalty to a compulsive gambler friend who goes over the line.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Butler
Duke Ring
General Casement
Asa M. Barrows
Oakes Ames
Mrs. Calvin
Richard Lane ...
Sam Reed


One of the last bills signed by President Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. But financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit from obstructing it. Chief troubleshooter Jeff Butler has his hands full fighting Barrows' agent, gambler Sid Campeau; Campeau's partner Dick Allen is Jeff's war buddy and rival suitor for engineer's daughter Molly Monahan. Who will survive the effort to push the railroad through at any cost? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Union Pacific" is coming!


Drama | Western


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aliança de Aço  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dick Allen (Robert Preston) asks, "Where does he keep his 'Rule G'?", meaning a bottle of whiskey. This is a reference to Rule G: "The use of intoxicants or narcotics is prohibited", one of 12 rules in standard code adopted by the Association of American Railroads. See more »


When Jeff meets Dick at his hiding place and asks for a light, the match Dick hands him is unlit, then suddenly flaming. See more »


Leach Overmile: Don't reach for your handkerchief, Brett. Just use your sleeve if you want to wipe your mouth.
See more »


Gwine to Rune All Night (De Camptown Races)
(1850) (uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
Played in the gambling tent
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Excellent epic by DeMille, probably my favorite of his films
31 July 2006 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

It doesn't suffer from any of his usual flaws. The pacing is perfect, the acting is not at all stilted, and the technical aspects don't dominate the story or the characters. The story centers around the building of the titular railroad. A banker hires a motley group of gamblers and whoremongers (led by Brian Donlevy) to slow down production and then invests in the Central Pacific. Joel McCrea plays a railroad cop, basically, who sees that Donlevy is trouble. He can't outright kick him out, because his army buddy and best friend (Robert Preston) is Donlevy's partner. To further complicate the relationship between McCrea and Preston, there is a girl caught between them (Barbara Stanwyck). It's a great story supported by fine performances all around. While the film runs for 2 hours and 19 minutes, it never seemed boring at all. There are several exciting setpieces, most notably an Indian attack. There are also a couple of great suspense sequences. I loved the scene where McCrea corners Preston and Stanwyck after the payroll has been stolen. It goes on for a long time but the suspense never breaks. Generally I don't think DeMille has skill enough to pull something like that off. My only real problem is that sometimes the good guys are as bad as the villains. McCrea has two sidekicks, played by Akim Tamiroff and Lynne Overman, who can't help but be referred to as henchmen. I mean, even the characters' names are sinister, Fiesta and Leach. Donlevy has a couple of henchmen as well (Anthony Quinn in an early role and Robert Barrat), and they aren't any scarier.

11 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD Frankfdlov
Riding on cowcatcher? EvelynHolley
were all the posts brittany-beasley
Discuss Union Pacific (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: