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Spencer's Mountain (1963)

Approved | | Drama, Family | 16 May 1963 (USA)
Clay Spencer is a hard-working man who loves his wife and large family. He is respected by his neighbors and always ready to give them a helping hand. Although not a churchgoer, he even ... See full summary »




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Complete credited cast:
Preacher Clyde Goodman
Claris Coleman
Miss Parker
Dr. Campbell
Colonel Coleman
Minnie-Cora Cook
Percy Cook
Mother Ida
Ken Mayer ...
Mr. John


Clay Spencer is a hard-working man who loves his wife and large family. He is respected by his neighbors and always ready to give them a helping hand. Although not a churchgoer, he even helps a newly arrived local minister regain his flock after he and Clay get into a bit of trouble. If he has one dream in life it's to build his wife Olivia a beautiful house on a piece of land he inherited on Spencer's mountain. When his eldest son, Clayboy, graduates at the top of his high school class and has the opportunity to go to college, Clay has only one option left to him. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This is your place, Clayboy. Your father brought his sweetheart here and married her. Your eight red-blooded uncles fell in love on Spencer's Mountain. This is your place Clayboy, and this is your time... See more »


Drama | Family


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

16 May 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Os Nove Irmãos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)|



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Veronica Cartwright's (Becky Spencer) sister Angela started in "The Sound of Music" (1965) with Kim Karath (Pattie Cake Spencer). Kym played Gretl and Angela played Brigitta. See more »


Seeing cars in the background during the film is not a mistake. One of the death dates in the family cemetery is 1959, another is 1956. When Clay Sr, is discussing college with his son he refers to freeways in the college town. There would be nothing unusual about seeing cars on a distant highway at the Spencer residence. See more »


Clay Spencer: You mean to say that not one single hymn-shoutin', foot-washin' hypocrite showed up?
See more »


Followed by A Wedding on Walton's Mountain (1982) See more »


Gaudeamus Igitur
Written by Christian Wilhelm Kindleben
Heard as a theme at the University
See more »

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User Reviews

Spencer Family Values
23 January 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Henry Fonda throughout his career showed a great flair for playing rustic characters and endowing them with dignity. In fact that was his introduction to film when he did the movie version of the play that made him a star, The Farmer Takes A Wife. Of course as Fonda started playing more of a variety of roles he was less and less in rustic settings.

His last role of this type was as Clay Spencer in Spencer's Mountain a feel good family type picture with a rather interesting take on the facts of life. Country folks like the Spencers who deal a lot in livestock are familiar with the breeding process so it's not a huge big deal with them. At least it's not in this film as Mimsy Farmer is ready to finish James MacArthur's eduction in that regard. One of the best scenes in the film is Henry Fonda bringing over his bull to mate with one of Dub Taylor's cows with everybody looking on. I guess they're starved for entertainment in that part of the country.

In fact MacArthur's further education is what drives the film. He's the oldest of Fonda's and Maureen O'Hara's nine children and the first to graduate high school. His teacher Virginia Gregg wants to see him get ahead and go to the university. But the financial and other obstacles are considerable. Even the new minister Wally Cox tutors MacArthur in a needed Latin course.

If the Spencers bear no small resemblance to the Walton family that's because Earl Hammer who created the Waltons also wrote the novel this film was based on. Spencer's Mountain is beautifully photographed in the Grand Teton mountains of Wyoming, just as pretty and more majestic than the Walton's Appalachians. Delmer Daves who directed Spencer's Mountain also directed Jubal a few years earlier, a western also set in the Grand Tetons. The cinematography is just as good, but the resemblance stops there because Jubal is quite the adult western.

Spencer's Mountain marked the farewell performance of Donald Crisp who was 81 years old when he filmed this and had a career going back to the earliest silent films. He was a grand character actor who played an awesome variety of parts. Here he's in his family patriarch persona as Fonda's father married to Lillian Bronson in the film. Crisp won his Oscar as the family patriarch in John Ford's How Green Was My Valley.

Spencer's Mountain did good box office and it's a nice family film. But Henry Fonda's new agent passed on a Broadway play called Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and signed his client for this. Fonda never forgave the agent, I can't really blame him.

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