7.2/10
2,175
31 user 21 critic

Union Pacific (1939)

Passed | | Drama, Western | 5 May 1939 (USA)
In 1862, Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Writers:

Walter DeLeon (screen play), C. Gardner Sullivan (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Mollie Monahan
Joel McCrea ... Jeff Butler
Akim Tamiroff ... Fiesta
Robert Preston ... Dick Allen
Lynne Overman ... Leach Overmile
Brian Donlevy ... Sid Campeau
Robert Barrat ... Duke Ring
Anthony Quinn ... Cordray
Stanley Ridges ... General Casement
Henry Kolker ... Asa M. Barrows
Francis McDonald ... General Dodge
Willard Robertson ... Oakes Ames
Harold Goodwin ... Calvin
Evelyn Keyes ... Mrs. Calvin
Richard Lane ... Sam Reed
Edit

Storyline

One of the last bills signed by President Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. But financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit from obstructing it. Chief troubleshooter Jeff Butler has his hands full fighting Barrows' agent, gambler Sid Campeau; Campeau's partner Dick Allen is Jeff's war buddy and rival suitor for engineer's daughter Molly Monahan. Who will survive the effort to push the railroad through at any cost? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Union Pacific" is coming!

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aliança de Aço See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Union Pacific was one of the films chosen from Hollywood to represent the United States in what would have been the first Cannes festival in September 1939.Because of the war, the event was postponed until 1946.In 2002, a retrospective jury looked at some of the titles that had been chosen for 1939 and awarded the De Mille film a belated Palme D'Or. See more »

Goofs

The chase sequence after the train robbery is shown in mountainous terrain. The robbery supposedly takes place between Cheyenne and Pine Bluffs Wyoming (from geographic references to the train's location in the telegrapher's office). There are no mountains in this area. See more »

Quotes

Mollie Monahan: [Dick has just given Mollie a fur cape] But far too grand for a poor engineer's daughter. Not that Monahan's a poor engineer. He's the best there is, but... I suppose a good engineer's daughter can get just as cold as a poor engineer's daughter.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Been Working on the Railroad
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played during the opening credits and as background music often
Sung by the railroad men
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
There's nothing like hearing an engine whistle in the still night.
16 June 2011 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Union Pacific is directed by Cecil B. DeMille (aided by others due to illness) and based upon the novel Trouble Shooter, written by Ernest Haycox. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy, Akim Tamiroff and Lynne Overman. Story is a fictionalised account of the building of the railroad across the American West, encompassing the trials, tribulations and rivalries that formed as history was being made.

"The legend of Union Pacific is the drama of a nation, young, tough, prodigal and invincible, conquering with an iron highroad the endless reaches of the West. For the West is America's Empire, and only yesterday Union Pacific was the West".

A big production that went down a storm at the box office on release, Union Pacific, in spite of its overt patriotic bluster, is an entertaining and important part of the Western movie story. Alongside John Ford's Stagecoach, which was released a couple of months previously, DeMille's movie helped take the Western to a new, more adult, level. It wouldn't be until the 50's that the Western truly found its mojo, but the influence of both Stagecoach and Union Pacific was firmly felt thru each passing decade. Film manages to be literate whilst puncturing the plot with doses of action, while the story is underpinned by a love triangle between McCrea, Stanwyck and Preston. The former as the stoic troubleshooter brought in to keep order, the latter as the charming villain with a heart. Cast all work well with the material to hand, and if one is not bothered by the historical tampering involved in the story? Then it's an easy film to recommend to Western movie seekers. 7/10


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