7.2/10
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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

According to a news item in the Hollywood Reporter, Cecil B. DeMille directed much of the film from a stretcher, because of an operation he had months earlier. However, studio records indicate DeMille collapsed from the strain of directing three units simultaneously, and used a stretcher for about two weeks. See more »

Goofs

After the train wreck, and during all the scenes that immediately follow, Barbara Stanwyck suddenly appears with a very stylish 1939 bobbed hairstyle which we had not seen before, and which, of course, is completely inappropriate to the time period during which the story is taking place. See more »

Quotes

Leach Overmile: Don't reach for your handkerchief, Brett. Just use your sleeve if you want to wipe your mouth.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 65th Annual Academy Awards (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Londonderry Air
(uncredited)
17th century music attributed to Rory Dall O'Cahan
Background music when Mollie reads letter to Paddy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Excellent epic by DeMille, probably my favorite of his films
31 July 2006 | by zetesSee all my reviews

It doesn't suffer from any of his usual flaws. The pacing is perfect, the acting is not at all stilted, and the technical aspects don't dominate the story or the characters. The story centers around the building of the titular railroad. A banker hires a motley group of gamblers and whoremongers (led by Brian Donlevy) to slow down production and then invests in the Central Pacific. Joel McCrea plays a railroad cop, basically, who sees that Donlevy is trouble. He can't outright kick him out, because his army buddy and best friend (Robert Preston) is Donlevy's partner. To further complicate the relationship between McCrea and Preston, there is a girl caught between them (Barbara Stanwyck). It's a great story supported by fine performances all around. While the film runs for 2 hours and 19 minutes, it never seemed boring at all. There are several exciting setpieces, most notably an Indian attack. There are also a couple of great suspense sequences. I loved the scene where McCrea corners Preston and Stanwyck after the payroll has been stolen. It goes on for a long time but the suspense never breaks. Generally I don't think DeMille has skill enough to pull something like that off. My only real problem is that sometimes the good guys are as bad as the villains. McCrea has two sidekicks, played by Akim Tamiroff and Lynne Overman, who can't help but be referred to as henchmen. I mean, even the characters' names are sinister, Fiesta and Leach. Donlevy has a couple of henchmen as well (Anthony Quinn in an early role and Robert Barrat), and they aren't any scarier.


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