144 user 33 critic

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
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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 »


When Linus Rawlings throws a dagger in to the chest of one of the bandits, the wire guiding it can clearly be seen against the tent. 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.
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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 Webster: How the West Was Once: Part 2 (1985) See more »


Miss Bailey's Ghost
Music by Alfred Newman
Performed by Imogene Clark and Carl Fortina
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Grand Epic
20 August 1999 | by (Morristown, NJ) – See all my reviews

I'm not a fan of westerns in particular, but this magnificent epic is an exception for me because it has all the wonderful elements of a sprawling historical epic that only Hollywood could do so wonderfully in the 50s and 60s. And yes, I embrace it for holding to a perspective that today's PC revisionists who see evil in everything associated with the rise of America as a great nation are always so quick to condemn. While this is by no means a flawless look at history, it is only those who dare to liken the American pioneers with "Nazis" as one reviewer did who end up "creating history" more than a film like this does.

45 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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