7.1/10
14,496
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.

Writer:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

People who liked this also liked... 

The Alamo (1960)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A small band of soldiers sacrifice their lives in hopeless combat against a massive army in order to prevent a tyrant from smashing the new Republic of Texas.

Director: John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey
Adventure | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers
Fort Apache (1948)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
The Shootist (1976)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
The Searchers (1956)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles
Rio Grande (1950)
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson
Drama | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When the government agency fails to deliver even the meager supplies due by treaty to the proud Cheyenne tribe in their barren desert reserve, the starving Indians have taken more abuse ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden
Rio Bravo (1959)
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson
The War Wagon (1967)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of a man who was shot, robbed and imprisoned who returns to steal a large gold shipment from the man who wronged him. The gold is transported in an armored stage coach, the War Wagon.

Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Howard Keel
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

A FABULOUS ROMANTIC ADVENTURE See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 February 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das war der wilde Westen  »

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the second highest-grossing film of 1963, behind Cleopatra (1963). See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 »

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Going Back (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Wayfarin' Stranger
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Dave Guard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Great Epic... and I Generally Detest Westerns
28 January 2001 | by (Pittsburgh, PA USA) – See all my reviews

I have not been fortunate to view this film in its original Cinerama format, but I have seen various prints of it over the years, and have recently watched the newly released DVD version.

Even in DVD's digital format, I can see how the color in some sections of the film has faded -- a pity, for there are vistas of incredible beauty in this film.

There are several reasons why this film works. The photography is simply breathtaking. The story is epic in proportions, yet as simple as the pioneers. Alfred Newman's score is lovely; This is the best film music that he had written since The Song of Bernadette. Ken Darby's vocal arrangements add just the right feel of authenticity to the sonic scheme. And, the actors are truly actors, not just "personalities". I absolutely fell in love with Thelma Ritter, Agnes Moorehead, Karl Malden, and Walter Brennan. These were just the "supporting" members of the cast. Debbie Reynolds and Gregory Peck made a great duo, James Stewart was independent, strong, yet vulnerable, and Carol Baker was sweet, if just a little conniving.

I was surprised how many times while watching the film I was moved to tears -- and not always during the sad scenes. (The scene at her father's grave when Carol Baker sends her son off to war, long after her husband has also gone, is very moving.) What was it that made me so misty-eyed? I found myself getting caught up in the lives of these pioneers, with their hopes, dreams, and disappointments, and all too human frailties.

Now for the flip side -- I must admit that I cringed when I heard Spencer Tracey's narration stating that "the west had to be won...from primitive man." It made me think about how one-sided this presentation was with regards to our treatment of Native Americans. George Peppard's character is an ally of the Native Americans, but this plot development occurs far too late to provide any kind of real balance to the story.

In the final analysis, we have a film that is not very politically correct, but is a tale told well, filmed beautifully, about people who sacrificed everything they had to pursue their dream.


30 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Has anyone watched this on a Curved 4K television? bobralph2001
Most disturbing scene ... RenlyStannis
Missing scene? sargon19552003
is Dora Hawkins killed with his family? zalman1972
Other frontier movie suggestions (similar to this one) dollvalley
How much $ to make this in 2008?? madmadrid
Discuss How the West Was Won (1962) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page