7.1/10
16,238
153 user 37 critic

How the West Was Won (1962)

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
Reviews
Popularity
1,347 ( 4,375)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
The Alamo (1960)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1836, a small band of soldiers sacrifice their lives in hopeless combat against a massive army in order to prevent a tyrant from smashing the new Republic of Texas.

Director: John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey
Adventure | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 1863, a Union outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in Mississippi to destroy enemy railroads but a captive southern belle and the unit's doctor cause frictions within ranks.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers
Fort Apache (1948)
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
Rio Grande (1950)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin
Drama | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The Cheyenne, tired of broken U.S. government promises, head for their ancestral lands but a sympathetic cavalry officer is tasked to bring them back to their reservation.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden
The Searchers (1956)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
The Shootist (1976)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A corrupt marshal is pressured by his army friend into negotiating the release of white captives of the Comanches, but finds that their reintegration into society has its consequences.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones
Edit

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
Edit

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:

It's here! The mightiest adventure ever filmed! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arapaho

Release Date:

20 February 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das war der wilde Westen See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$46,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$50,000,000, 31 December 1969
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

By August 12, 1963, the film had grossed $17,000,000. See more »

Goofs

When Cleve leaves the poker table on the ship, he puts down his cards twice. First he lays them down, then he throws them. 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.
See more »

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Biography: Darryl F. Zanuck: 20th Century Filmmaker (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

(Fifteen Miles On) the Erie Canal
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung off-screen by Dave Guard and The Whiskeyhill Singers
Judy Henske, Cyrus Faryar, David Buck Wheat
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
How Hollywood Struck Back Against Television
26 October 2011 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

In the early 1960s Hollywood found itself under attack by television so had to wheel out some big guns . THE LONGEST DAY and HOW THE WEST WAS WON were a couple of these howitzers . Film,s that lasted several hours full of episodic structure with big names playing the characters . Watching these type of movies years later you can see the thinking behind them but do seem overblown with hindsight and you can also see why film makers wanted to make more intense movies via New Hollywood in the 1970s

That said HTWWW is by no means a bad movie . If there's a problem with it it's the narrative problem of trying to squeeze 100 years of history in to three hours of cinema and to a large degree the film succeeds to a large extent . It also deserves some credit for using Debbie Reynolds and George Peppard - neither of whom were the biggest names in the movie - to play the main linking characters

And yet the problem of the narrative is impossible to overcome entirely successfully . The story remains episodic and has every cliché under the sun . Men are men and women are thankful . White men tend to be extremely good or extremely bad and the indigenous population are noble savages who become mere savages when white man speak with forked tongue . There's also the annoying production value of people standing in front of back projection which jars with the numerous establishing shots taken on location. It's also a conservative film with God frequently getting a name check

But for the most part it's an entertaining Western even for those of us who don't like the genre . Perhaps the reason it does work is because it's so traditional where the world is portrayed in black and white , a world that has never existed in the first place


13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 153 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed