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The Big Country (1958)

Passed | | Romance, Western | October 1958 (USA)
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

Writers:

James R. Webb (screenplay), Sy Bartlett (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... James McKay
Jean Simmons ... Julie Maragon
Carroll Baker ... Patricia Terrill
Charlton Heston ... Steve Leech
Burl Ives ... Rufus Hannassey
Charles Bickford ... Maj. Henry Terrill
Alfonso Bedoya ... Ramón Gutierrez
Chuck Connors ... Buck Hannassey
Chuck Hayward ... Rafe Hannassey
Buff Brady Buff Brady ... Dude Hannassey
Jim Burk Jim Burk ... Blackie / Cracker Hannassey
Dorothy Adams ... Hannassey Woman
Chuck Roberson ... Terrill Cowboy
Bob Morgan ... Terrill Cowboy
John McKee John McKee ... Terrill Cowboy
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Storyline

Retired, wealthy sea Captain James McKay arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry fiancée Pat Terrill. McKay is a man whose values and approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers and ranch foreman Steve Leech takes an immediate dislike to him. Pat is spoiled, selfish and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. The Major is involved in a ruthless land war, over watering rights for cattle, with a rough hewn clan led by Rufus Hannassey. The land in question is owned by Julie Maragon and both Terrill and Hannassey want it. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Big they fought! Big they loved! Big their story!

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

October 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Horizontes de grandeza See more »

Filming Locations:

Ione, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gregory Peck (James McKay) and Charlton Heston (Steve Leech) both played the infamous Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele: Peck in The Boys from Brazil (1978) and Heston in Rua Alguem 5555: My Father (2003). See more »

Goofs

When Leech and McKay fire the cap and ball pistol, the sound effect is that of a modern cartridge. See more »

Quotes

Rufus Hannassey: He's going to be the most surprised dead man you ever saw!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Ren & Stimpy Show: Black Hole/Stimpy's Invention (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Easily one of the most underrated movies of all-time.
28 January 2001 | by DRFSee all my reviews

I've read all of the comments about Wyler's "The Big Country". I don't even remember the first time I saw this movie but I have never tired of watching it. William Wyler went to the vault and pulled out the often used theme, "the showdown on main street at high noon" genre that many directors had tired of and felt was the kiss of death to western movies of the day and he pulled it off in grand fashion. Why this movie has never received it's just due has mystified me for years. Maybe the late '50's became the time of the "brat pak" movie genre, ("Rebel Without A Cause"), but the performances in this movie are classic. Jean Simmons was absolutely intriguing. As a man watching this movie, I soon realized what Mr. Peck would begin to see in this woman as the movie progressed. Just that little glimpse from Ms. Simmons as she measured up the man she would soon fall in love with had more sexual power than most flicks today that try to thrive on the sexual theme to sell theatre tickets.

This is not just a western. It is pure greatness from William Wyler and a cast that added strength to the film. Burl Ives and Charles Bickford played their respective roles with the intenseness and professionalism of a classic Shakespearean play and Charlton Heston was perfect as the antagonist to Gregory Peck. This film has no weakness and has gotten better with time.


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