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Learn more about How the West Was Won:

Format: DVD
Sku: 207988454
UPC: 012569799714
UPC 14: 00012569799714
See more in Westerns
Westward Ho!
Follows one brave family through generations and miles as it pushes west.

"Enough plot twists and spectacular climaxes to equip a dozen movies.  John Douglas Eames, The MGM Story
"...great cast, first-rate photography and lovely Alfred Newman score still make it top entertainment.  Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide
"Immense, sprawling western epic loaded with great stars, acting, music, direction.  Steve Crum,
"A great epic, a wonderful western, a thrilling and poignant motion picture by any standard...  The Motion Picture Guide
"...impressive cast...Expansive western settings.  VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever

Editor's Note
Hollywood's most celebrated luminaries--behind the camera as well as in front of it--combined talents to present this epic tale of the development of the American West from the 1830s through the Civil War to the end of the century, as seen through the eyes of one pioneer family. The film, divided into three chapters--"The Civil War" (directed by John Ford), "The Railroad" (directed by George Marshall), and "The River, the Plains, the Outlaws" (directed by Henry Hathaway)--tells the story of the Prescotts, a spirited group of easterners who make a declaration to migrate west. When their parents are lost in a tragic river accident, Eve (Carroll Baker) and Lilith (Debbie Reynolds) go their separate ways. Eve remains on the land that took her parents, settling down with the well-intentioned Linus Rawlings (James Stewart), while Lilith becomes a singer who is courted by the conniving Cleve Van Valen (Gregory Peck) when he learns that she has inherited a fortune in California. As time passes and the Civil War takes the life of Linus, the newest generation of Prescott offspring struggles with even greater danger and loss, in the form of fierce Indians as well as family archrivals. Top-notch production values and an endless string of solid performances have earned HOW THE WEST WAS WON the well-deserved label as one of Hollywood's most revered classics.


Video Features DVD, Special Edition

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Warner
Video Release Date Release Date: 9/9/2008
Video Play Time Running Time: 162 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 1962
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 1000019114
Video UPC UPC: 00012569799714
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 2

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Widescreen  2.35:1

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Carroll Baker
Video Cast Info Debbie Reynolds
Video Cast Info Robert Preston
Video Cast Info James Stewart
Video Cast Info Richard Widmark
Video Cast Info John Wayne
Video Cast Info Henry Fonda
Video Cast Info Carolyn Jones
Video Cast Info Gregory Peck
Video Cast Info Spencer Tracy
Video Cast Info George Peppard
Video Cast Info Karl Malden
Video Cast Info Lee J. Cobb
Video Cast Info Eli Wallach
Video Cast Info William Daniels - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info William Ferrari - Production Designer
Video Cast Info George W. Davis - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Addison Hehr - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Ken Darby - Composer
Video Cast Info James R. Webb - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Bernard Smith - Producer
Video Cast Info Alfred Newman - Composer
Video Cast Info Harold F. Kress - Editor
Video Cast Info Milton R. Krasner - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Charles Lang - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Harold Wellman - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Joseph La Shelle - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Henry Hathaway - Director
Video Cast Info George Marshall - Director
Video Cast Info John Ford - Director
Plot Summary
Epic and episodic tale of the development of the American West from the 1830s through the Civil War to the end of the century, as seen through the eyes of the pioneer Prescott family. As the Prescotts struggle with danger and loss, and newfound love, the vast canvas of US history unfolds around them. Top notch production values and a "who's who" of performances have solidified this as a Hollywood classic.


Oscar (1964)
   Video Award Name Alfred Newman, Ken Darby, Nominee, Best Music, Score - Substantially Original
   Video Award Name Bernard Smith, Nominee, Best Picture
Video Award Name Franklin Milton, Winner, Best Sound
   Video Award Name George W. Davis, et. al., Nominee, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color
Video Award Name Harold F. Kress, Winner, Best Film Editing
Video Award Name James R. Webb, Winner, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen
   Video Award Name Walter Plunkett, Nominee, Best Costume Design, Color
   Video Award Name William H. Daniels, et. al., Nominee, Best Cinematography, Color

Memorable Quotes

"That goddamned Cinerama... do you know a waist shot is as close as you could get with that thing?" ---- Henry Hathaway

"The epic journey of four generations of Americans who carved out a country with their bare hands." ---- line from the poster for the 1970 reissue

Professional Reviews

USA Today
"Hollywood's definitive all-star Western pageant....There's plenty of nostalgia to be gleaned from seeing James Stewart, John Wayne, Henry Fonda and so many more in their superstar primes..." 08/14/1998 p.6E

Entertainment Weekly
"The buffalo stampede, rapids run, and train robbery sequences are seamless..." -- Grade: A- 09/19/2008 p.56

New York Times
"[T]he open-air sequences...with their unmoving camera, long-shot compositions and rootedness in the rural landscape, recall the work of the American pioneer D.W. Griffith." 09/08/2008

Total Film
4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n epic western of staggering scale and ambition....The buffalo stampede is a pummelling experience on the small screen; writ large, it must have been terrifying." 12/01/2008 p.148

Variety 9 of 10
It would be hard to imagine a subject which lends itself more strikingly to the wide-screen process than this yarn of the pioneers who opened the American West. It's a story [suggested by the series How the West Was Won in Life magazine] which naturally puts the spotlight on action and adventure, and the three directors between them have turned in some memorable sequences...George Marshall [credited with the final segment, The Railroad] has the credit for the buffalo stampede, started by the Indians when the railroad was moving out West. This magnificently directed sequence is as vivid as anything ever put on celluloid. Undoubtedly the highlight of Henry Hathaway's contribution [The Rivers, the Plains, the Outlaws] is the chase of outlaws who attempt to hold up a train with a load of bullion. John Ford's directorial stint [The Civil War] is limited to the Civil War sequences, and though that part does not contain such standout incident, there is the fullest evidence of his high professional standards...Peck gives a suave and polished gloss to his role of the gambler, and Stewart has some fine, if typical, moments in his scenes...John Wayne has a minor part as General Sherman, but he, too, makes the charactor stand out. Spencer Tracy is heard but not seen as the narrator.

Ozus' World Movie Reviews 7 of 10
The first film in Cinerama. Watching it at home without the three-strip Cinerama process takes most of the sparkle out of the film. It's a sprawling epic with an all-star cast that follows the development of the West through one pioneering New England family of Zebulon Prescott, who in 1839 leave from the Erie Canal to go West to start a new farm in Ohio. It follows Zebulon Prescott's children and grandchildren for the next fifty years in their western adventures, some reaching California. Spencer Tracy is the narrator. John Ford, Henry Hathaway, and George Marshall do the directing honors, each handling individual episodes. Hathaway does a nice job in his three sequences ("The River", "The Plains," and "The Outlaws"). He tells of the adventure of America's westward expansion. Ford's fifteen-minute sequence on the Civil War is the highlight of the film. It tells the tale of a coming-of-age farm boy (George Peppard) saving General U.S. Grant from a Confederate assassination attempt during the Battle of Shiloh. The rest of the film is unbearably dull and muddled, doing more for getting at the landscape and its numerous genial pioneering tunes than nailing it down in dramatics...The top grossing film of 1962 won Oscars for screenplay (James R. Webb), film editing (Harold F. Kress), and sound production (Franklin E. Milton). - Dennis Schwartz

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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