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The Big Country (1958)

Western | 165 minutes
3,69 202 votes

Genre: Western / Romance

Duration: 165 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: William Wyler

Stars: Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston and Jean Simmons

IMDb score: 7,9 (21.068)

Releasedate: 30 September 1958

The Big Country plot

"Big they fought! Big they loved! Big their story!"

Naive sea captain James McKay finds himself in a water rights feud between the Terrill and Hannassey rancher families when he stays at the ranch of his beloved Patricia Terrill, whom he met in the East. Rather than take sides in this feud, James tries to tame a horse at the 'Terrill Ranch', much to the disappointment of spoiled Patricia and jealous foreman Steve Leech. James doesn't care that his and Patricia's honor would have been tarnished on the way to the Terrill Ranch by the humiliation of a tipsy Buck Hannassey. James is therefore not part of the punitive expedition against the Hannasseys led by Patricia's father and ex-Major Henry Terrill.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

James McKay

Julie Maragon

Patricia Terrill

Rufus Hannassey

Major Henry Terrill

Ramón Guiteras

Buck Hannassey

Rafe Hannassey

Dude Hannassey

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avatar van Shadowed

Shadowed

  • 8469 messages
  • 5312 votes

Solid.

In fact, I think I like this film a lot more compared to the films of iconic director Sergio Leone. But Leone's westerns might be a bit hard to compare to this movie. Also the first contact with director Wyler, of which I still have to see a number of other films.

A western from 1958 that lasts no less than 165 minutes. Beforehand it seemed like a nightmare to start, but the Empire top 500 was preferred. However, it turned out to be not too bad, as far as I'm concerned a standout in the old western genre.

But that wasn't because of the characters, most of which I found to be mediocre acting. Peck is almost invisible as the lead, and I also found Heston unremarkable for such a well-known actor. I only thought Ives played well. His role also requires some space, but Ives knows how to use it.

At times the film is portrayed in a grand way, but the images themselves are somewhat less grand. However, nature is portrayed on a grand scale, and the film knows how to use that very well. The images are, to put it mildly, beautiful. Phenomenally portrayed. Beautiful nature that is brought here.

But in terms of the film itself, it is all a bit less grand and epic, except for a number of epically constructed sets. It is also special if the hero is anti-violence. I personally have not seen that often, but then I am not a western fan. And I don't know if I can call the main character a hero either.

But visually I thought it was all wonderful. The film also continues to fascinate to the fullest and exudes a lot of atmosphere. Enough happens to keep it all interesting, although the film is a bit slower compared to other westerns. As a result, some viewers may drop out. I can enjoy it again though, and so I award it a solid grade. Also nice that the film is not based on typical bombastic western music.

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avatar van Bobbejaantje

Bobbejaantje

  • 1839 messages
  • 1826 votes

A fairly long film but with a fascinating plot and top actors who know what they are doing. Gregory Peck was completely believable to me as greenhorn and I also enjoyed the chemistry with Jean Simmons that seemed to splash off the screen towards the end of the film. But in fact, the entire cast deserves credit for their work and dedication (which apparently was no mean feat in collaboration with the demanding William Wyler).

A real attraction are the beautifully photographed landscapes, in addition to the numerous long shots that somehow emphasize the futility of the event. Tiny people move like ants in a garden at times.
And finally, the film is almost perfectly supported by the score of Jerome Moross, with a grand sound that nevertheless manages to avoid excess.

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avatar van Filmkriebel

Filmkriebel

  • 8970 messages
  • 4142 votes

superwestern. This is definitely a wonderful movie. A wealthy man, McKay travels to a huge ranch to celebrate his engagement to the wealthy landowner's daughter, The Major Terrill. What he doesn't know is that there is fierce animosity with another family, the Hannesseys, and that Steve Leech, the ranch's overseer, also has a crush on his fiancé. Peck and Heston are therefore two serious calibers and their brawl in the wide open space is a very striking scene. In the beginning it is a bit sheepish to watch the good-hearted McKay let a lot go, which does not really fit in with the macho culture that prevails there. Even his fiancé questions his manhood. It does hurt McKay... which is shown when he wants to prove to himself that he is man enough for the Terrill family by proving that he can ride a wild horse, find his way in the desert and isn't afraid to teach Leech a lesson in respect . What I also liked was the breakup with his fiancée, which also nicely illustrates that both have very different expectations of each other. And then of course there is also a final and tragic confrontation between the two families that had been bubbling and sputtering for two hours.
Everything is just fine in this film, and even though it lasts 165 minutes, every scene is justified. Can not be missed!

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original