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How the West Was Won (1962)

 -  Western  -  20 February 1963 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 12,225 users  
Reviews: 137 user | 31 critic

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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Title: How the West Was Won (1962)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

Sprawling epic which follows the Prescotts, an emigrant family through four generations, from the Erie Canal in the 1830's to their settled home in the West a half a century later. On the way they encounter river pirates, and escape with the help of fur trapper Linus Rawlings, who subsequently marries one of their daughters, Eve. The parents are drowned on a foundering raft, and the other daughter Lilith becomes a riverboat singer and catches the eye of a genteel adventurer Cleve Van Valen. They cross the plains together in a wagon train and make and lose a fortune in California; meanwhile Linus has turned farmer and, comes the Civil War, joins the Union Army and is killed at the Battle of Shiloh. One of his sons Zeb also joins the army and stays after the war as a cavalry officer and is sent to Colorado to help guard the pioneering railroad against the Indians, whose land they are crossing. By this time Lilith is the elderly lady of the family, having survived long enough to see the ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's here! The mightiest adventure ever filmed! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 February 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La conquista del Oeste  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$12,150,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.89 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During his narration at the beginning of the film, Spencer Tracy refers to Native Americans as "primitive man". This statement is still on the DVD version, although it could be considered racist today. See more »

Goofs

When the wagon train on its way to California is attacked by Indians, it is in a mountainous area, yet the Indians are identified as Cheyenne. The Cheyenne tribe was a Great Plains tribe, and would not have been that far west. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Golden Girls: Yes, We Have No Havanas (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Entr'acte
: "Home in the Meadow" (uncredited)
Sung by Ken Darby
"900 Miles"/ "On the Banks of the Sacramento" (uncredited)
Sung by Dave Guard and The Whiskeyhill Singers
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!




GO FETCH!!


41 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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