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How the West Was Won (1962)

Approved | | Western | 20 February 1963 (USA)
A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the nineteenth century--including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.


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Won 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


Setting off on a journey to the west in the 1830s, the Prescott family run into a man named Linus, who helps them fight off a pack of thieves. Linus then marries daughter Eve Prescott (Carroll Baker), and 30 years later goes off to fight in the Civil War with their son, with bloody results. Eve's sister, Lily, heads further west and has adventures with a professional gambler, stretching all the way to San Francisco and into the 1880s. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The epic journey of four generations of Americans who carved a country with their bare hands See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 February 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das war der wilde Westen  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$12,150,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System)


(Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.89 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Wayne's wig was longer at the sides to suggest that his character did not have time to get a haircut. See more »


During the final scene of the movie when the camera is looking down at a modern freeway cloverleaf, the helicopter landing struts can be seen on the extreme left and right sides of the screen. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: [as the camera pans over the Rocky Mountains] This land has a name today, and is marked on maps. But, the names and the marks and the maps all had to be won, won from nature and from primitive man.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Except for historical events and characters, the events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious and any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. See more »


Referenced in The Last Days of Cinerama (2012) See more »


Nine Hundred Miles from Home
(1962) (uncredited)
Music by Alfred Newman
Lyrics by Ken Darby
Sung by a Chorus during Intermission
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Wow Of a Blue Ray!!
26 August 2009 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Three cheers are much in order for Warner Home Video with their release of this superb issue on Blue Ray disc of MGM's 1962 blockbuster epic HOW THE WEST WAS WON! Firstly the nine star rating adjudged the disc is NOT for the movie - which I think is generally agreed to be something of a much flawed western extravaganza - but for the quite awesome two disc presentation this time around on Blue Ray.

Virtually gone are the once irritating panel lines that were left by the filming with three cameras. Now we have the definitive version of the movie that is nothing short of stunning! With extremely well defined sharp as a button imagery, pluperfect colour resolution and outstanding audio sound (Alfred Newman's brilliant score comes across with dynamic clarity!) the entire visual experience is certainly something to behold!

The first disc presents the film in a terrific 2.35 widescreen version with some excellent extras that includes a documentary giving us the history of Cinerama and how the public responded to its introduction in the early fifties. There are also some great clips from the first Cinerama picture "This Is Cinerama" (1953) presented by explorer and Cinerama pioneer Lowell Thomas.

But it is disc two that really takes the biscuit! Here we get a "smile box" version of the complete HOW THE WEST WAS WON. This is the "wrap around" totally curved format of the film which simulates the cinema Cinerama viewing experience. And by simply moving your seat closer to your TV (the greater your TV screen the greater the effect) you can well imagine watching the movie in your bygone Cinerama theatre. It is all quite astonishing really and makes a great fun demo. to show off to your friends!

Amazingly this unique presentation - with all its technical brilliance

  • actually makes the movie better than it really is!


28 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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