MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 160 this week

How the West Was Won (1962)

 -  Western  -  20 February 1963 (USA)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 12,129 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.

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 19 Jul 2012
 
a list of 32 titles
created 19 Feb 2013
 
a list of 43 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 30 titles
created 4 months ago
 
a list of 38 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: How the West Was Won (1962)

How the West Was Won (1962) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of How the West Was Won.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Drama | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 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
The Searchers (1956)
Adventure | 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 Bravo (1959)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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 Shootist (1976)
Drama | 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
True Grit (1969)
Certificate: M Adventure | Western | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell
Stagecoach (1939)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
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
Adventure | War | Western
    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 centre. 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
Broken Arrow (1950)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Tom Jeffords tries to make peace between settlers and Apaches.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Eve Prescott
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Brigid Bazlen ...
...
Edit

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:

A FABULOUS ROMANTIC ADVENTURE See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The sequence where the Indians attack the wagon train took 6 weeks to film. See more »

Goofs

The scene in which Linus Rawlings (James Stewart) arrives to the Prescott camp it is supposedly at night. However, the illumination and environment shows as if it was daylight. 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 Saturday Night Live: Jack Burns/Santana (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Bound for the Promised Land
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Ken Darby and Robert Emmett Dolan
Played during opening credits and during the Intermssion
Sung by a chorus during the Overture
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"I Am Bound For The Promised Land."
21 November 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I still remember seeing How the West Was Won in Cinerama when it made it into general release back in 1962. A motion picture theater equipped for Cinerama is the only way this one should be seen. The formatted VHS copy I watched tonight can't come close to doing it justice.

James R. Webb's original screenplay for the screen won an Oscar in 1962 and it involves an episodic account of the Presscott family and their contribution to settling the American west in the 19th century. We first meet the Presscotts, Karl Malden and Agnes Moorehead going west on the Erie Canal and later by flatboat on the Ohio River. They have two daughters, dreamy romantic Carroll Baker and feisty Debbie Reynolds. The girls meet and marry mountain man James Stewart and gambler Gregory Peck eventually and their adventures and those of their children are what make up the plot of How the West Was Won.

Three of Hollywood's top directors did parts of this film although the lion's share by all accounts was done by Henry Hathaway. John Ford did the Civil War sequence and George Marshall the sequence about the railroad.

The Civil War piece featured John Wayne and Harry Morgan in a moment of reflection at the battlefield of Shiloh. Morgan did a first rate job as Grant in his brief cameo and Wayne was playing Sherman for the second time in his career. He'd previously played Sherman in an unbilled cameo on his friend Ward Bond's Wagon Train series. I'm surprised Wayne never did Sherman in a biographical film, he would have been good casting.

If any of the stars could be said to be THE star of the film it would have to be Debbie Reynolds. She's in the film almost through out and in the last sequence where as a widow she goes to live with her nephew George Peppard and his family she's made up as a gray haired old woman and does very well with the aging. Debbie also gets to do a couple of musical numbers, A Home in the Meadow and Raise A Ruckus both blend in well in the story. Debbie's performance in How the West Was Won must have been the reason she was cast in The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Cinerama was rarely as effectively employed as in How the West Was Won. I well remember feeling like you were right on the flatboat that the Presscott family was on as they got caught in the Ohio River rapids. The Indian attack and the buffalo stampede were also well done. But the climax involving that running gun battle between peace officers George Peppard and Lee J. Cobb with outlaw Eli Wallach and his gang on a moving train even on a formatted VHS is beyond thrilling.

There is a sequence that was removed and it had to do with Peppard going to live with buffalo hunter Henry Fonda and marrying Hope Lange who was Fonda's daughter. She dies and Peppard leaves the mountains and then marries Carolyn Jones. Lange's part was completely left on the cutting room floor. Hopefully there will be a restored version of How the West Was Won, we'll see Hope Lange and more of Henry Fonda.

And it should be restored. All those Hollywood legends in one exciting film. They really don't make them like this any more.


28 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Missing scene? sargon19552003
Most disturbing scene ... RenlyStannis
How much $ to make this in 2008?? madmadrid
Was that Forrest Tucker? michael-palazzo
Missing scene? sargon19552003
Missing scene? sargon19552003
Discuss How the West Was Won (1962) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?