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Go West (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical, Western | 6 December 1940 (USA)
The Marx Brothers come to the rescue in the Wild West when a young man, trying to settle an old family feud so he can marry the girl he loves, runs afoul of crooks.


Edward Buzzell


Irving Brecher (original screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
Groucho Marx ... S. Quentin Quale
Chico Marx ... Joe Panello
Harpo Marx ... 'Rusty' Panello
John Carroll ... Terry Turner
Diana Lewis ... Eve Wilson
Walter Woolf King ... Beecher
Robert Barrat ... 'Red' Baxter
June MacCloy ... Lulubelle
George Lessey ... Railroad President


Embezzler, shill, all around confidence man S. Quentin Quale is heading west to find his fortune. He meets the crafty but simple brothers Joseph and Rusty Panello in a train station, where they steal all his money. They're heading west too because they've heard you can just pick the gold off the ground. Once there, they befriend an old miner named Dan Wilson whose property, Dead Man's Gulch, has no gold. They loan him their last ten dollars so he can go start life anew, and, for collateral, he gives them the deed to the Gulch. Unbeknownst to Wilson, the son of his longtime rival, Terry Turner (who's also in love with his daughter, Eva), has contacted the railroad to arrange for them to build through the land, making the old man rich and hopefully resolving the feud. However, the evil Red Baxter, owner of a saloon, tricks the boys out of the deed, and it's up to them - as well as Quale, who naturally finds his way out west anyway - to save the day. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Rip-Roaring With Laughs, Girls, Songs! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Winston Churchill was informed of Rudolf Hess' capture in Scotland just before he was about to see a private screening of this film. Spurning a more detailed briefing, Churchill famously commented, "Well, Hess or no Hess, I'm off to see The Marx Brothers". (Different versions of this story insist the film Churchill was to see was Monkey Business (1931) or The Big Store (1941).) See more »


Indian Pete hands Red a note saying it was delivered by the Pony Express. The Pony Express only ran for 18 months from 1860 to 1861 Go West is set in 1870. See more »


[Arriving at the RR Station]
S. Quentin Quale: Any of you boys got change ah ten cents?
Porter: No.
S. Quentin Quale: Well, keep the baggage.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: Foreword: In 1851, Horace Greeley uttered a phrase that did much to change the history of these United States. He said: Go West, young man, go west. This is the story of three men who made Horace Greeley sorry he said it. See more »


Referenced in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) See more »


As If I Didn't Know
(1940) (credit only)
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
See more »

User Reviews

Vastly underrated latter Marx brilliance, I say!
30 August 2013 | by matthewdgalloSee all my reviews

The Marx Brothers' "Go West" is a vastly underrated gem. Admist a few comparatively disappointing later years Marx movies, it was certainly the strongest. I grew up on the Marx Brothers via my father (even though most of them were made before he was born as well), and ended up liking them so much I eventually bought every movie they made, and most of the documentaries, three single Groucho movies, two sets of 'You Bet Your Life' episodes, and even 'The Story of Mankind,' featuring the three primary brothers, though in small parts in separate segments...(Many books by and/or about them too.) In any case, I'm a huge fan. Even with all this, I admit that there are a handful of pretty weak Marx films. Love Happy was pretty awful on most levels, though little Harpo bits, and one or two Groucho lines give it its only very brief redemption. The Big Store was also pretty fairly terrible, with again, the only worthwhile notes being a few Groucho quips, and a few Harpo physical bits. Room Service and At The Circus as well suffered, as all their movies after the big MGM ones (Opera & races) did, due to the studios lack of interest and confidence in putting money and attention into the productions. Room Service and At the Circus both felt like they should've and could've been more, though each had a handful or more of perfectly enjoyable moments. And re-watching A Night in Casablanca (which at least a little more time and money was put into for what she really be considered their true final film, rather than the slapped together for quick cash 'Love Happy', which was originally a Harpo solo project), I've come to realize that Casablanca is stronger than I remembered, but still felt stale for much of it compared to their classics. So I suppose I better get the reason for this review-- So, in the middle of all these lesser like, later years fare, came Go West (in 1940). And I have to say, it has gotten an unfair rap from fans, critics and Groucho himself (though he was that way about much of their movies, sadly). I think, even with it's slapdash absurdity and overwrought gags, that it holds up better, and has better, more solid comedy than any of they other movies after A Day at the Races. In fact, and I know I'm essentially alone in saying this, but, I actually find it more entertaining than A Day at the Races (I think). There are some brilliant moments/lines for three brothers that felt more akin to there early madcap movies (the best ones), and I even enjoy the silly songs, and western pastiche elements, and the physical gags are stronger than the movies before and after as well. In any case, fans (and critics too) should give it another watch, and just let it try to entertain you, it really is a lot of fun, and hilarious.

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Release Date:

6 December 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Go West See more »

Filming Locations:

Monument Valley, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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