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The Big Country (1958) Poster

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Then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the movie four consecutive showings at the White House and called it "simply the best film ever made. My number one favorite film."
According to Gregory Peck, director William Wyler intended the film to be a left-wing allegory for the Cold War.
The film is credited with starting the trend for pacifist westerns.
Aged 47 at the time of filming, Burl Ives was only 11 years older than Chuck Connors, who played his son.
The character played by Charles Bickford was supposed to represent then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Final film of Alfonso Bedoya. He died before it was released.
Gregory Peck and William Wyler had become friends a few years earlier and got on well while making Roman Holiday (1953), but they clashed repeatedly during filming. After Peck stormed off the set one day following a blazing row, Wyler told the press, "I wouldn't direct Peck again for a million dollars and you can quote me on that." They reconciled a year later but true to the director's word Wyler and Peck never made another film together.
Only film to feature Gregory Peck and his sons Jonathan Peck, Carey Paul Peck and Stephen Peck.
Charlton Heston initially turned down the role of ranch foreman Steve Leech because he didn't think the part was big enough. His agent convinced him that it would be worth it just for the opportunity to work with Gregory Peck and William Wyler.
Gregory Peck (James McKay) and Charlton Heston (Steve Leech) both played the infamous Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele: Peck in The Boys from Brazil (1978) and Heston in Rua Alguem 5555: My Father (2003).
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Co-stars Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck both played men named Thorn in later films: Heston in Soylent Green (1973) , and Peck in The Omen (1976).
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Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston were really hitting each other in their fight scene.
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When the film was released there were complaints that it was too long.
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Jean Simmons was so traumatized by the experience making the film that she refused to talk about it for years until an interview in the late eighties when she revealed, "We'd have our lines learned, then receive a rewrite, stay up all night learning the new version, then receive yet another rewrite the following morning. It made the acting damned near impossible."
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Charlton Heston recalled filming a scene with Carroll Baker, "I had to fight with Carroll in one of my scenes. It's actually one of the best scenes I was in. I've got a grip on her wrists, and she's struggling to get out of it. Willy gave me secret instructions not to let go of her. He told Carroll, 'Break loose, so you can hit him.' Well, I've got a big enough hand I could have held both of her wrists in one. We must have done - I don't know - ten takes, easy, on this shot. She's got sensitive skin and she's getting welts. Between takes they were putting ice and chamois cloths on her wrists. She was weeping with frustration and anger and all kinds of things. Finally she tells Willy, 'Chuck won't let me go.' And he says to her, 'I don't want him to. I want you to get away by yourself.' Christ, I outweighed her by nearly a hundred pounds.'
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The film featured one of the largest sets ever built on the Samuel Goldwyn Studios lot, a reproduction of the enormous "Terrill" mansion which covered two continuous stages.
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It was the second most popular film in Britain in 1959.
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According to Gregory Peck, after using seven writers, he and William Wyler remained dissatisfied with the script, but financial commitments forced them to proceed with the production.
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This marked the final screen appearance of character actor Alfonso Bedoya ("Ramon"), who died a month after principal photography was completed.
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Tempers flared on the set between numerous individuals, particularly William Wyler and Charles Bickford, who had fought on the set of Hell's Heroes (1929) years before and were continuing their antagonistic relationship. Wyler liked to shoot numerous retakes and Bickford was very cranky, often refusing to say a line he didn't like or to vary his performance no matter how many takes he was forced to deliver.
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One of the actors who didn't have a problem with William Wyler was Burl Ives. He later said, "I found Willy delightful. I never got annoyed at him. I learned a helluva lot from him. He was enigmatic sometimes, but that's what he did to make me figure things out."
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Charlton Heston and Chuck Conner would later co-star in Soylent Green (1973).
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