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The Big Country (1958)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 9,976 users  
Reviews: 140 user | 41 critic

A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.

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Title: The Big Country (1958)

The Big Country (1958) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Alfonso Bedoya ...
Ramón Guiteras
...
Buck Hannassey
Chuck Hayward ...
Rafe Hannassey
Buff Brady ...
Dude Hannassey
Jim Burk ...
Blackie / Cracker Hannassey
...
Hannassey Woman
Chuck Roberson ...
Terrill Cowboy
Bob Morgan ...
Terrill Cowboy
John McKee ...
Terrill Cowboy
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Storyline

Retired, wealthy sea Captain Jame McKay arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry fiancée Pat Terrill. McKay is a man whose values and approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers and ranch foreman Steve Leech takes an immediate dislike to him. Pat is spoiled, selfish and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. The Major is involved in a ruthless civil war, over watering rights for cattle, with a rough hewn clan led by Rufus Hannassey. The land in question is owned by Julie Maragon and both Terrill and Hannassey want it. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Big they fought! Big they loved! Big their story!

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1 October 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Da Terra Nascem os Homens  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is credited with starting the trend for pacifist westerns. See more »

Goofs

The S-shaped portion of the canyon where Hannassey's men trap Terrill and his ranch hands between barriers is the same location (supposedly further down the canyon) where Terrill later walks to confront Hannassey. A large round, white boulder can be seen half-way up the middle of the far canyon wall in all of the aerial shots and over Gregory Peck's head in the final ground-level shot when the shoot-out concludes. See more »

Quotes

Major Terrill: There's no prettier sight in the world than 10,000 head of cattle... unless it's 50,000.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Big Film
22 December 2003 | by (London,England) – See all my reviews

There are many things to enjoy in 'The Big Country'. The landscape itself is a character that seems overwhelming. There are many panoramic shots of it, sweeping out to a misty horizon. All beautifully photographed. This big country seems to glow and the film gets an appropriate music score, sweeping and colourful. It must be one of the most perfect film scores written.

In this breathtaking landscape the story of the characters unfold with their prides, jealousies, fears, loves, pretensions, hopes, disappointments. The actors are first rate and convey lots of feeling not just in dialogue but in looks. It is worth seeing more than once to catch the emotional nuances. This is a film with space in lots of senses and it gives the cast time to flesh out their characters. In all the splendid acting I have a particular admiration for Chuck Connors in a performance of a lifetime. His Buck Hennassey is a coward and a bully yet you can't help feeling sorry for him in the end.

There is also the political undertones, the oft quoted Cold War parallels, embodied in the confrontation between Bickford and Ives of mutually assured destruction, that was an ever present issue in the late fifties. Bickford and Ives have narrow self interested vision that portends destruction, while the Peck character has a wider view of co-operation and fairness. (In an illuminating exchange at the engagement party a guest asks Peck if he has seen anything bigger than the 'big country' and Peck replies to the guest's astonishment that he has, a couple of oceans!) It is the outsider who sees clearest.

William Wyler was a great director and made a great film to be enjoyed on many levels. It is an aural and visual treat but the film also has believable characters performed by a superior cast. And I can't stop humming that theme tune....


45 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How miscasting could have made THE BIG COUNTRY unviewable! ScopeWatcher
Who could play Clem Maragon? mike-osullivan3
Rufus holds Buck after he kills him sul-4
Use of compass when out riding, Best_ID_I_can_think_of
Awesome Theme Music rikitiki
What happens before the very end? jgepperson
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