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   10,338 votes »
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Down 10% 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:
(33 articles)
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)

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

User Reviews:
Magnificent See more (142 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:
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:
The film is credited with starting the trend for pacifist westerns.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: During passenger unloading from the stage, the little girl in the pink dress gets off the stage twice.See more »
Quotes:
Patricia Terrill:But if he loved me, why would he let me think he was a coward?
Julie Maragon:If you love him, why would you think it? How many times does a man have to win you?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Hollywood et les hommes (2013)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
87 out of 100 people found the following review useful.
Magnificent, 23 June 2005
Author: Alec West from United States

As a rule, I don't like westerns. This isn't because I'm a city slicker (though now, I do live in a city). I grew up in rural Eastern Oregon where "real" cowboys still herd their cattle through the center of town in John Day, Oregon. My stepfather owned a 10,170 acre cattle ranch. After being raised among "real" cowboys, the Hollywood versions tend to leave me flat. The Big Country was an exception.

Jim McKay (Gregory Peck) introduced us to a different kind of man, far different than most stereotypical men of the Wild West. If I were to compare McKay's character to any other film character, it would be Ghandi. He's a man who doesn't feel obliged to seek the approval of others ... a man who believes that violence doesn't need to be used to solve problems. His secret ride of Old Thunder, making Ramon (Alfonso Bedoya) swear to keep quiet regardless of the outcome, set the tone for McKay's character. His later secret fight with Steve Leech (Charleton Heston), making him swear to keep quiet regardless of the outcome, cemented that tone. This was a REAL man whose opinion of himself was not dependent upon anyone else's opinion ... in stark contrast to anyone else in the film outside of Julie Maragon (Jean Simmons). As Ramon said, "Such a man is very rare."

Outside of McKay, my #2 favorite character in the film was Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives). I found nothing about him distasteful considering he was a character whose back was against the wall ... whose livelihood was threatened. The things he did make perfect sense in such a situation. His only flaw was his obvious poor parenthood. He really blew it with Buck (Chuck Connors) and Buck's siblings were of the same ilk.

I'm so glad that MGM/UA finally released the widescreen version in 2001. This is a film that deserves such a presence. It may not be playing in theaters anymore but seeing it in any other display size takes so much away from it. I've seen the pan/scan version before and will never go back.

One note. The full listing of writing credits for the film adaptation is lacking. "Ambush In Blanco Canyon," originally serialized in a magazine, was later novelized into "The Big Country" by Donald Hamilton ... and Hamilton also worked on the adaptation as well as Leon Uris ("Topaz," "Exodus," "Gunfight At the OK Corral," etc.).

This epic film was not lacking for anything. It had the best writers, the best actors, the best musical score, and the best scenery of any other film of its time ... western or otherwise. And the film remains one of my favorite films of all time.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (142 total) »

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
What was the future for McKay and Leech? gancommercial
How miscasting could have made THE BIG COUNTRY unviewable! ScopeWatcher
Awesome Theme Music rikitiki
Use of compass when out riding, Best_ID_I_can_think_of
Who could play Clem Maragon? mike-osullivan3
Major Terrill and his daughter threeoranges
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