How the West Was Won

Watch How the West Was Won

  • G
  • 1962
  • 7.0  (22,727)
  • 56

How the West Was Won is a critically acclaimed western epic film that was released in 1962. The movie follows the Prescott family as they journey through the American West in search of a better life. It spans from the 1830s to the 1880s, depicting key events that shaped the region during that era, such as the California Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the transcontinental railroad.

The cast of the movie is a who's who of Hollywood's biggest stars of the time, including James Stewart, John Wayne, and Gregory Peck. They are joined by an ensemble of talented actors, such as Henry Fonda, Debbie Reynolds, and Richard Widmark. The film was directed by John Ford, Henry Hathaway, and George Marshall, and it features stunning cinematography by William H. Daniels.

The movie begins with the Prescott family, led by patriarch Zeb (played by Stewart), traveling westward along the Erie Canal in search of a better life. Along the way, they meet Linus Rawlings (played by Peck), a rugged frontiersman who saves the life of the family's matriarch, Eve (played by Carroll Baker). After arriving in Missouri, the family decides to split up, with some members heading to California to join the Gold Rush and others heading to Oregon to start a new life as farmers.

The movie then shifts its focus to the Civil War, which tears the country apart and forces some of the Prescotts to choose sides. One son, Charlie (played by Widmark), fights for the Confederacy, while another, James (played by Stewart), fights for the Union. The war scenes are some of the most stunning in the movie, with massive battles and explosions that are expertly staged.

After the war, the film moves on to the building of the transcontinental railroad, which is overseen by railroad tycoon, Asa M. Mercer (played by Fonda). The railroad subplot provides the movie with some of its most exciting scenes, including a breathtaking sequence in which a train navigates through treacherous mountain terrain.

As the years pass, the surviving members of the Prescott family reunite and settle in a small town in Colorado. There, they must contend with threats from both the weather and Native American tribes. The movie's final act sees the Prescott family and their friends facing off against a massive flood that threatens to destroy the town.

Throughout the movie, there are several subplots and side stories that add depth to the sprawling narrative. There's a love story between Linus and Eve, for example, and a thrilling bank robbery sequence that showcases the talents of a young George Peppard. But despite its many moving parts, How the West Was Won never loses its focus on the central theme of the American West and the people who forged it.

One of the most impressive things about How the West Was Won is its scope. It's a grand, sweeping epic that covers several decades and countless miles of terrain. But despite its grandeur, the movie never feels overwhelming or bloated. Each scene is expertly crafted, and the characters are given room to breathe and evolve over time.

Moreover, the acting in How the West Was Won is uniformly excellent. Each member of the massive cast delivers a standout performance, with no weak links to be found. Many of the characters are archetypes of the western genre, but the actors imbue them with nuance and personality that make them feel fresh and vital.

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of How the West Was Won is its incredible visuals. The movie was shot using a unique three-camera Cinerama process that allowed for breathtaking panoramic shots of the American West. The desert vistas, mountain peaks, and rushing rivers are captured in stunning detail, making the movie an immersive experience like no other.

In conclusion, How the West Was Won is a timeless classic of the western genre that remains as impressive today as it did in 1962. Its scope, acting, and visuals are all top-notch, and it's a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the American West.

How the West Was Won is a 1962 western. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 56.

How the West Was Won
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Where to Watch How the West Was Won
How the West Was Won is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent How the West Was Won for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
    1962
  • MPAA Rating
    G
  • Language
    English
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (22,727)
  • Metascore
    56