A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the nineteenth century - including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.

Writer:

James R. Webb
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Popularity
380 ( 2,001)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carroll Baker ... Eve Prescott
Lee J. Cobb ... Marshal Lou Ramsey
Henry Fonda ... Jethro Stuart
Carolyn Jones ... Julie Rawlings
Karl Malden ... Zebulon Prescott
Gregory Peck ... Cleve Van Valen
George Peppard ... Zeb Rawlings
Robert Preston ... Roger Morgan
Debbie Reynolds ... Lilith Prescott
James Stewart ... Linus Rawlings
Eli Wallach ... Charlie Gant
John Wayne ... Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
Richard Widmark ... Mike King
Brigid Bazlen ... Dora Hawkins
Walter Brennan ... Col. Jeb Hawkins
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Storyline

Setting off on a journey to the west in the 1830s, the Prescott family run into a man named Linus, who helps them fight off a pack of thieves. Linus then marries daughter Eve Prescott (Carroll Baker), and 30 years later goes off to fight in the Civil War with their son, with bloody results. Eve's sister, Lily, heads farther west and has adventures with a professional gambler, stretching all the way to San Francisco and into the 1880s. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For the First Time in 70mm and Full Stereophonic Sound See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM commissioned Louis L'Amour to novelize the screenplay. The book became a bestseller. See more »

Goofs

When the wagon train, on its way to California, is attacked by Indians, it is in a mountainous area, yet the Indians are identified as Cheyenne. The Cheyenne tribe was a Great Plains tribe, and would not have been that far west. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [as the camera pans over the Rocky Mountains] This land has a name today, and is marked on maps. But, the names and the marks and the maps all had to be won, won from nature and from primitive man.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Except for historical events and characters, the events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious and any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. See more »

Alternate Versions

Some prints (like the Swedish pan&scan video release) leave out the final modern travelogue scenes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in How the West Was Fun (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Shenandoah
(uncredited)
Music by Alfred Newman
Performed by Tommy Morgan
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User Reviews

 
Underrated . This is one heck of an epic film . Loaded with many favorite stars James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Carroll Baker.
20 February 2019 | by robfollowerSee all my reviews

Underrated . This is one heck of an epic film . Loaded with many favorite stars James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, George Peppard, Debbie Reynolds, Richard Widmark, Robert Preston, Eli Wallach, Brigid Bazlen, Walter Brennan, David Brian, Raymond Massey, Agnes Moorehead, Harry Morgan, Thelma Ritter, Mickey Shaughnessy, Russ Tamblyn, Spencer Tracy ...Narrated by (voice) Just rap your brain around these actors .

Filmed in panoramic Cinerama, this star-studded, epic Western adventure is a true cinematic classic. Three legendary directors (Henry Hathaway, John Ford and George Marshall) combine their skills to tell the story of three families and their travels from the Erie Canal to California between 1839 and 1889. Spencer Tracy narrates the film, which cost an estimated $15 million to complete. Westward expansion shows scenes of the Indian's sorrow, the white man's greed, river pirates, outlaws, lawmen, and life and death on the Western plains. Dozens of marquee names worked with over 12,000 extras, 630 horses, hundreds of horse drawn wagons, and a stampede of 2,000 buffalo. The human cost of the concept of Manifest Destiny is revealed in all its colorful and violent glory. How the West Was Won garnered three Oscars, for screenplay, film editing, and sound production.

A story as big, as brash, and as exciting as the west itself. You have to hand it to everyone involved, this is one mammoth viewing experience. This covers generations as well as historical events like no other movie has attempted to do. I think the wisest decision was having multiple directors so each time period has a different feeling and vision. There is no denying the spectacle, the adventure, and the romance in How the West Was Won. It really is true to say they don't make them like this any more.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arapaho

Release Date:

20 February 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

How the West Was Won See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,568, 14 September 2003

Gross USA:

$76,729

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$76,729
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints)| Cinerama 7-Track (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.89 : 1
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