How the West Was Won

How the West Was Won

John Ford (1962)

PG Certificate


Our Score
This epic re-creation of the settling of the American west seen through the eyes of a single family is one of only two narrative films made in three-camera Cinerama - if you look very carefully you can see the joins in its widescreen version. To match the scale of the movie, it also has a truly all-star cast with the likes of James Stewart and Gregory Peck pairing up with feisty pioneering women such as Carroll Baker and Debbie Reynolds. Genre icons John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Richard Widmark also make significant appearances. Of the three credited directors, Henry Hathaway shot the all-star Rivers, Plains and Outlaws sections, George Marshall filmed that dangerous stunt-work on the railroad and the great John Ford directed the splendid American Civil War sequence, beginning with a marvellous slice of widescreen action, as surgical tables are sluiced down, seeming to drown the audience. A massive undertaking at the time, it really is true to say they don't make them like this any more. Alas, the total impact will inevitably be dwarfed on your average television.


Three generations of a pioneering family experience many ordeals and adventures in their endeavour to build a new life for themselves on the American frontier in the 19th century. Over the years, the family experiences the key events of the nation's history, including the gold rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads. Epic Western, starring James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Debbie Reynolds, Lee J Cobb and Richard Widmark.

Cast & Crew

Linus Rawlings James Stewart
General William T Sherman John Wayne
Cleve Van Valen Gregory Peck
Jethro Stuart Henry Fonda
Eve Prescott Carroll Baker
Marshal Lou Ramsey Lee J Cobb
Julie Rawlings Carolyn Jones
Zebulon Prescott Karl Malden
Zeb Rawlings George Peppard
Roger Morgan Robert Preston
Lilith Prescott Debbie Reynolds
Charlie Gant Eli Wallach
Mike King Richard Widmark
Dora Hawkins Brigid Bazlen
Colonel Hawkins Walter Brennan
Attorney David Brian
Corporal Peterson Andy Devine
Abraham Lincoln Raymond Massey
Rebecca Prescott Agnes Moorehead
General Ulysses S Grant Harry Morgan
Agatha Clegg Thelma Ritter
Narrator Spencer Tracy
Confederate deserter Russ Tamblyn
Corporal Ben Ken Curtis
Gant henchmen Harry Dean Stanton
River pirate Lee Van Cleef
Director John Ford
Director Henry Hathaway
Director George Marshall
Director Richard Thorpe
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Cinerama LtdGuidance: Violence. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray