IMDb > The Big Country (1958)
The Big Country
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The Big Country (1958) More at IMDbPro »

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The Big Country -- Dazzling photography, an intelligent script, remarkable performances, superb direction and compelling music animate this large-scale Western.  An ex-sea captain (Gregory Peck) comes West to marry Carroll Baker and settle down on the ranch of her father (Charles Bickford).  A mutual dislike develops between Peck and the ranch foreman (Charlton Heston).  Baker shares many of the "macho" sensibilities represented by Heston, which drives Peck away from her and into the arms of a schoolteacher (Jean Simmons) - who happens to own the only water for miles around.  Bickford and Burl Ives have been competing for rights to Simmons' water and are willing to use any means to get it.  The intertwining tensions between Peck & Heston and Bickford & Ives inevitably will lead to a climactic and violent confrontation.

Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   10,499 votes »
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Up 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
James R. Webb (screenplay) &
Sy Bartlett (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Big Country on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 October 1958 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Big they fought! Big they loved! Big their story!
Plot:
A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(34 articles)
The 57 Greatest Westerns Ever, Ranked
 (From Moviefone. 26 May 2015, 2:00 AM, PDT)

100 Days 'Til Oscar. A Short Clean Sweep
 (From FilmExperience. 14 November 2014, 5:00 AM, PST)

Hal Needham obituary
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 27 October 2013, 5:06 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
A Big Film See more (143 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Gregory Peck ... James McKay

Jean Simmons ... Julie Maragon

Carroll Baker ... Patricia Terrill

Charlton Heston ... Steve Leech

Burl Ives ... Rufus Hannassey

Charles Bickford ... Maj. Henry Terrill
Alfonso Bedoya ... Ramón Guiteras

Chuck Connors ... Buck Hannassey
Chuck Hayward ... Rafe Hannassey
Buff Brady ... Dude Hannassey
Jim Burk ... Blackie / Cracker Hannassey

Dorothy Adams ... Hannassey Woman
Chuck Roberson ... Terrill Cowboy
Bob Morgan ... Terrill Cowboy
John McKee ... Terrill Cowboy
Slim Talbot ... Terrill Cowboy (as Jay Slim Talbot)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Alexander ... Party Guest - Oceans (uncredited)
Harry Cheshire ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Jay W. Jensen ... Cowboy (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ... Liveryman (uncredited)

Roddy McDowall ... Hannassey Watchman (uncredited)
Carey Paul Peck ... Boy (uncredited)
Jonathan Peck ... Boy (uncredited)
Stephen Peck ... Boy (uncredited)
Ralph Sanford ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Directed by
William Wyler 
 
Writing credits
James R. Webb (screenplay) &
Sy Bartlett (screenplay) &
Robert Wilder (screenplay)

Jessamyn West (adaptation) &
Robert Wyler (adaptation)

Donald Hamilton (novel)

Produced by
Gregory Peck .... producer
Robert Wyler .... associate producer
William Wyler .... producer
 
Original Music by
Jerome Moross 
 
Cinematography by
Franz Planer (director of photography) (as Franz F. Planer)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Belcher 
John Faure 
 
Casting by
Dorothy Whitney 
 
Art Direction by
Frank Hotaling 
 
Set Decoration by
Edward G. Boyle 
 
Costume Design by
Emile Santiago 
Yvonne Wood 
 
Makeup Department
Dan Greenway .... makeup artist
Harry Maret .... makeup artist (as Harry Maret Jr.)
Joan St. Oegger .... hair stylist
Gale McGarry .... hairdresser (uncredited)
Nick Volpe .... makeup sketches (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Tom Andre .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ray Gosnell Jr. .... second assistant director (as Ray Gosnell)
Henry Hartman .... assistant director: second unit
Robert Swink .... director: second unit
Ivan Volkman .... assistant director
John Waters .... director: second unit
Robert Templeton .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Saul Bass .... poster designer (uncredited)
C. Randall Berkeley .... greensman (uncredited)
Patrick Delany .... second prop man (uncredited)
Charles Gay .... leadman (uncredited)
Arnold Pine .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Tom Plews .... prop master (uncredited)
Steven Pridgeon .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Harry Spurgan .... art checker (uncredited)
Hal Waller .... draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Del Harris .... sound effects editor
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound recording (as Roger Heman)
John K. Kean .... sound recording (as John Kean)
Harry Alphin .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Harry Alphin .... sound recordist (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Al Gonzales .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Bill Babcock .... stunts (uncredited)
Buff Brady .... stunts (uncredited)
Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
Martha Crawford .... stunt double: Carroll Baker (uncredited)
Martha Crawford .... stunt double: Jean Simmons (uncredited)
Donna Hall .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
John McKee .... stunts (uncredited)
Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
Hal Needham .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Slim Talbot .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Wallace Chewning .... director of photography: second unit
Don Christie .... still photographer (uncredited)
Eddie Garvin .... camera operator (uncredited)
Dick Johnson .... assistant camera (uncredited)
John Livesley .... key grip (uncredited)
Fred Mandl .... camera operator (uncredited)
Harry Sundby .... gaffer (uncredited)
Sidney Zipser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eddie Armand .... costumer
Neva Rames .... costumer
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Agnes Koschin .... fitter (uncredited)
Agnes Koschin .... wardrobe cutter (uncredited)
John Lucas .... second wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Robert Swink .... supervising editor
Hal Ashby .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Tony Friedman .... assistant editor (uncredited)
William Sands .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Lloyd Young .... music editor
Alexander Courage .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Gil Grau .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Bernard Mayers .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Chuck Hammond .... transportation gaffer (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Saul Bass .... titles designed by
Carl P. Benoit .... location manager
Sam Freedle .... script supervisor
Clarence Marks .... assistant: William Wyler
Robert Gary .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Kenneth Gilmore .... first aid (uncredited)
Harold Hourihan .... office accountant (uncredited)
Al Jank .... ramrod (uncredited)
Monty W. 'Red' Kennedy .... location auditor (uncredited)
Carey Leverette .... choreographer (uncredited)
Harry Mines .... unit publicist (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
165 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1959) (one cut) | Norway:16 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1988) (1993) (2001) (2013) | USA:Unrated | USA:Not Rated (DVD) | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #18972) | West Germany:12
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Only film to feature Gregory Peck and his sons Jonathan Peck, Carey Paul Peck and Stephen Peck.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Buck shoots at McKay in the duel, he causes a wound at least an inch long on the side of his forehead. When Rufus Hannassey is challenging the Major to single combat a little while later, McKay's face is shown full face in one shot and there is no trace of the wound.See more »
Quotes:
Major Henry Terrill:If there's anything I admire more than a dedicated friend, it is a dedicated enemy.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in It's Showtime (1976)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
49 out of 58 people found the following review useful.
A Big Film, 22 December 2003
Author: henry-girling from London, England

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....

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Awesome Theme Music rikitiki
Use of compass when out riding, Best_ID_I_can_think_of
What was the future for McKay and Leech? gancommercial
Who could play Clem Maragon? mike-osullivan3
Major Terrill and his daughter threeoranges
Charlton vs. Gregory happygoluckyduck
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