7.9/10
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162 user 50 critic

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 »
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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 Bob Morgan ... Terrill Cowboy
John McKee John McKee ... Terrill Cowboy
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Storyline

Retired, wealthy sea Captain Jame 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

Then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the movie four consecutive showings at the White House and called it "simply the best film ever made. My number one favorite film." See more »

Goofs

McKay tells the Major that the "hazing" he received from the Hannasseys upon his arrival was to be expected, stating that he was "keel hauled" as a young seaman the first time he crossed the equator. This is highly unlikely, since keel-hauling was a form of punishment which often resulted in death, never a form of hazing. It was so severe that it was abolished in 1853, at least 25 years before the time this film is set (based on the Colt revolvers that the cowboys are carrying). See more »

Quotes

James McKay: I was just about finished if it's okay with you.
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Connections

Referenced in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable ranch-war Western with an outstanding Oscar-Nominated Musical Score...
26 September 1999 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

When Jim McKay (Gregory Peck) stepped off the stagecoach in the open range of the West, Steve Leech (Charlton Heston) was already his excellent rival and adversary...

Steve - Major Terrill's strong right arm - was in love with the beautiful Pat (Carroll Baker) daughter of his boss, who intends to marry the innocent handsome Captain...

Soon than expected, McKay discovered a bitter blood feud between the Terrills, owner of a huge ranch, and the Hannasseys, simple mountain men..

Extreme hatred united the two families, the two cattlemen Major Terrill (Charles Bickford) and Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives).

Julie Maragon (Jean Simmons) was a strategic factor in the conflict... She was the key to supply water... Both, Terrill and Hannassey wanted her part of land to have their cattle watered, but she always said 'no' to either... Why not to say 'yes' now to Jim McKay! Julie was touched by his honesty, a quality she admired in a man...

Jim, a perfect gentleman - suffering humiliation since his arrival to the big country - grew to unlike Pat's ideas and manners which were in a primitive set of values... He became aware of Julie as a sensitive woman, an understanding human being with great heart...

When Julie is kidnapped by the Hannassey, McKay goes to meet Rifus... He wins esteem and consideration from the old man but fails to refrain a hostile confrontation between the two selfish, inflexible old barons...

"The Big Country" is distinguished by its magnificent landscapes... The high, wide and impressive buggy ride spread out a lavish, sumptuous scale of the State of Texas as never has been carried to the silver screen..

The film is about land and its influence and power over people... A story that can occur everyday in every country, zone and family... The love, the hatred, the war for land, for power, for water rights... always for an asset!

Gregory Peck is outstanding as the calm anti-traditional hero, balancing a deed of bravery, strength and endurance...

Jean Simmons is a big leading lady at that time, big enough to the 'Big Country.'

Carroll Baker, famous as the thumb-sucking child-wife in "Baby Doll," is Charles Bickford's willful daughter, acting according to his law and dictate...

Charlton Heston confirms a favorable impression by giving an excellent account as the grinning, menacing rival in love with the land and with McKay's attractive fiancée...

Burl Ives - Winner of the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor in the film - is impeccably cast as the gray-haired patriarch of a shameful, indecent, discourteous clan...

Charles Bickford (1891-1967) could play as easily the sincere man of virtue ("Duel in the Sun") as the dishonest villain... His generous character and his stubborn face fitted him perfectly to such roles as the proud misguided patriarch led by false and mistaken ideas in the range against Burl Ives...

Chuck Connors (1921-92) is always remembered for his success on T.V. notably in "The Rifleman" series (58-63). Here he plays the heavy coward, the rude and vulgar, the hypocrite impolite noisy disorderly son...

Directed by William Wyler, "The Big Country" is a spectacular Western featuring a brilliant cast at top shape...

If you like big action, big fights, big love, don't miss it!


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