7.2/10
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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.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jeff Butler
...
...
...
...
...
Duke Ring
...
Cordray
Stanley Ridges ...
General Casement
Henry Kolker ...
Asa M. Barrows
...
...
Oakes Ames
Harold Goodwin ...
Calvin
...
Mrs. Calvin
Richard Lane ...
Sam Reed
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

"Union Pacific" is coming!

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aliança de Aço  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lon Chaney Jr and Joel McCrea attended the same high school. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Jeff Butler: [informing Mollie that her husband Dick Allen is dead] He'll be waiting for us ... at end of track.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played after the wedding ceremony
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
There's nothing like hearing an engine whistle in the still night.
16 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Union Pacific is directed by Cecil B. DeMille (aided by others due to illness) and based upon the novel Trouble Shooter, written by Ernest Haycox. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy, Akim Tamiroff and Lynne Overman. Story is a fictionalised account of the building of the railroad across the American West, encompassing the trials, tribulations and rivalries that formed as history was being made.

"The legend of Union Pacific is the drama of a nation, young, tough, prodigal and invincible, conquering with an iron highroad the endless reaches of the West. For the West is America's Empire, and only yesterday Union Pacific was the West".

A big production that went down a storm at the box office on release, Union Pacific, in spite of its overt patriotic bluster, is an entertaining and important part of the Western movie story. Alongside John Ford's Stagecoach, which was released a couple of months previously, DeMille's movie helped take the Western to a new, more adult, level. It wouldn't be until the 50's that the Western truly found its mojo, but the influence of both Stagecoach and Union Pacific was firmly felt thru each passing decade. Film manages to be literate whilst puncturing the plot with doses of action, while the story is underpinned by a love triangle between McCrea, Stanwyck and Preston. The former as the stoic troubleshooter brought in to keep order, the latter as the charming villain with a heart. Cast all work well with the material to hand, and if one is not bothered by the historical tampering involved in the story? Then it's an easy film to recommend to Western movie seekers. 7/10


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