The Big Country ()

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A New England sea captain in the 1880s arrives at his fiancée's sprawling Texas ranch, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.

  • Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations.
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Cast verified as complete

James McKay
Julie Maragon
Patricia Terrill
Steve Leech
Rufus Hannassey
Maj. Henry Terrill
Ramón Gutierrez
Buck Hannassey
Rafe Hannassey
Buff Brady ...
Dude Hannassey
Jim Burk ...
Blackie / Cracker Hannassey
Hannassey Woman
Terrill Cowboy
Terrill Cowboy
John McKee ...
Terrill Cowboy
Slim Talbot ...
Terrill Cowboy (as Jay Slim Talbot)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Party Guest (uncredited)
Party Guest (uncredited)
Party Guest (uncredited)
Terrill Cowboy (uncredited)
Terrill Cowboy (uncredited)
Jay W. Jensen ...
Terrill Cowboy (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ...
Liveryman (uncredited)
Man (uncredited)
Carey Paul Peck ...
Boy (uncredited)
Boy (uncredited)
Stephen Peck ...
Boy (uncredited)
Party Guest (uncredited)
Party Guest (uncredited)

Directed by

William Wyler

Written by

James R. Webb ... (screenplay) &
Sy Bartlett ... (screenplay) &
Robert Wilder ... (screenplay)
Jessamyn West ... (adaptation) &
Robert Wyler ... (adaptation)
Donald Hamilton ... (novel)

Produced by

Gregory Peck ... producer
Robert Wyler ... associate producer
William Wyler ... producer

Music by

Jerome Moross

Cinematography by

Franz Planer ... director of photography (as Franz F. Planer)

Film Editing by

Robert Belcher
John Faure

Editorial Department

Robert Swink ... supervising editor
Hal Ashby ... assistant editor (uncredited)
Tony Friedman ... assistant editor (uncredited)
William Sands ... assistant editor (uncredited)

Casting By

Dorothy Whitney

Art Direction by

Frank Hotaling

Set Decoration by

Edward G. Boyle

Costume Design by

Emile Santiago
Yvonne Wood

Makeup Department

Dan Greenway ... makeup artist
Harry Maret ... makeup artist (as Harry Maret Jr.)
Joan St. Oegger ... hair stylist
Gale McGarry ... hairdresser (uncredited)
Nick Volpe ... makeup sketches (uncredited)

Production Management

Tom Andre ... production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Ray Gosnell Jr. ... second assistant director (as Ray Gosnell)
Henry Hartman ... assistant director: second unit
Robert Swink ... director: second unit
Ivan Volkman ... assistant director
John Waters ... director: second unit
Robert Templeton ... second assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

Saul Bass ... poster designer (uncredited)
C. Randall Berkeley ... greensman (uncredited)
Patrick Delany ... second prop man (uncredited)
Charles Gay ... leadman (uncredited)
Arnold Pine ... construction foreman (uncredited)
Tom Plews ... prop master (uncredited)
Steven Pridgeon ... draughtsman (uncredited)
Harry Spurgan ... art checker (uncredited)
Hal Waller ... draughtsman (uncredited)

Sound Department

Del Harris ... sound effects editor
Roger Heman Sr. ... sound recordist (as Roger Heman)
John K. Kean ... sound recordist (as John Kean)
Harry Alphin ... sound effects editor (uncredited) / sound recordist (uncredited)

Special Effects by

Al Gonzales ... special effects (uncredited)


Bill Babcock ... stunts (uncredited)
Buff Brady ... stunts (uncredited)
Jim Burk ... stunts (uncredited)
Martha Crawford ... stunt double: Carroll Baker (uncredited) / stunt double: Jean Simmons (uncredited)
Donna Hall ... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward ... stunts (uncredited)
John McKee ... stunts (uncredited)
Bob Morgan ... stunts (uncredited)
Hal Needham ... stunts (uncredited)
Slim Pickens ... horse stunt double: Gregory Peck (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson ... stunts (uncredited)
Slim Talbot ... stunts (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Wallace Chewning ... director of photography: second unit
Don Christie ... still photographer (uncredited)
Eddie Garvin ... camera operator (uncredited)
Dick Johnson ... assistant camera (uncredited)
John Livesley ... key grip (uncredited)
Fred Mandl ... camera operator (uncredited)
Harry Sundby ... gaffer (uncredited)
Sidney Zipser ... assistant camera (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Eddie Armand ... costumer
Neva Rames ... costumer
Joan Joseff ... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Agnes Koschin ... fitter (uncredited) / wardrobe cutter (uncredited)
John Lucas ... second wardrobe (uncredited)

Location Management

Carl P. Benoit ... location manager
Monty W. 'Red' Kennedy ... location auditor (uncredited)

Music Department

Lloyd Young ... music editor
Alexander Courage ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Gil Grau ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Bernard Mayers ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Jerome Moross ... conductor (uncredited) / orchestrator (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger ... orchestrator (uncredited)

Script and Continuity Department

Sam Freedle ... script supervisor
Robert Gary ... script supervisor (uncredited)

Transportation Department

Chuck Hammond ... transportation gaffer (uncredited)

Additional Crew

Saul Bass ... titles designed by
Clarence Marks ... assistant: William Wyler
Kenneth Gilmore ... first aid (uncredited)
Harold Hourihan ... office accountant (uncredited)
Al Jank ... ramrod (uncredited)
Carey Leverette ... choreographer (uncredited)
Mel Marshall ... screen supervisor (uncredited)
Harry Mines ... unit publicist (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

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

Plot Keywords
Taglines Big they fought! Big they loved! Big their story! See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Les grands espaces (France)
  • Weites Land (Germany)
  • Horizontes de grandeza (Spain)
  • 錦繡大地 (Taiwan)
  • 大いなる西部 (Japan, Japanese title)
  • See more »
  • 166 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

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 At the beginning of the film Peck's character James McKay is mocked for his wearing of a bowler hat, which the characters make out as something only an easterner would wear. This is in stark contrast with history where the bowler hat was one of the most popular styles in the old west, beating out the Stetson and the sombrero. It has even been referred to as "The Hat that Won the West". See more »
Movie Connections Edited into Bass on Titles (1977). See more »
Quotes Patricia Terrill: But if he loved me, why would he let me think he was a coward?
Julie Maragon: If you love him, why would you think it? How many times does a man have to win you?
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