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The Big Country [VHS] [1958]

Price: £16.97
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Product details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Writers: Donald Hamilton, James R. Webb, Jessamyn West, Robert Wilder, Robert Wyler
  • Producers: Gregory Peck
  • Format: Colour, Full Screen, HiFi Sound, PAL
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: MGM
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Feb. 2000
  • Run Time: 160 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CI9P
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,327 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

When sea-captain Jim McKay (Gregory Peck) forgoes a life on the ocean waves and travels west to claim his bride Patricia Terrill (Carroll Baker), he finds more trouble than he bargained for. The Terrill clan are embroiled in a bitter feud over water rights with a rival family headed by Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives). Both clans want access to land which belongs to Julie Maragon (Jean Simmons), and as their squabbling escalates, Jim and Julie find themselves caught up in the middle, doing their best to calm things down.

From Amazon.co.uk

William Wyler directed this epic Western, about the clash of East and West, intellect and action. Gregory Peck stars as a sea captain who moves way out West to marry Carroll Baker and become part of the ranch owned by her father (Charles Bickford). But he discovers that daddy's top hand (Charlton Heston) carries a torch for Baker and doesn't particularly like Peck stepping into his place. Peck also finds himself caught in the midst of a power struggle between Bickford and his surly neighbour, Burl Ives (and his reprehensibly bullying son, Chuck Connors). The Big Country is a long, sprawling tale that works because its characters are played by movie stars who know how to command the big screen in a big story. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By MentalLentil on 9 Nov. 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Despite what a previous reviewer said this is a full length version. The running time is 160 minutes which is slightly shorter than the NTSC version because of PAL conversion, nothing is cut from this film. Perhaps people could see the film before reviewing it.
The mistake was made because the original packaging said 95 minutes, this mistake is repeated on the Amazon listing (and most others).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Motion picture man on 7 Jan. 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Firstly, this US import Blu ray plays in the UK, I mention this as it is not clear on the UK Amazon listing that this disc is region free or at least playable in Europe.
The Big Country is an intelligent Western and when I first saw it way back in the late sixties I was too young to fully appreciate its maturity. I remember of course the rousing score by Jerome Morross and the vast landscapes. To view it again on my 42in LG tv in splendid Blu ray has been magical. NOTE: Do not be disappointed during the opening titles, for some reason these images have not been Blu ray'd, I dont know why. This does not spoil the experience when the majestic theme music sounds as beautiful as ever accompanying the thundering stagecoach.
When we then see the very first scene of the movie, the tiny town, the splendour of the Blu ray kicks in with sharp, dynamic colour and contrast. From then on the blu ray version is a visual feast. The Big country landscapes become even bigger and the larger your screen the more amazing it will look.
I refer you to other reviews and wikipedia for the plot.
The Big country is for me quite out on its own in the way it interprets a story of the American West in the 19th century.
It considers the struggles and dilemmas to maintain some integrity, morality and justice facing those settling in this huge expanse. It reveals alot of the personality of each of its main characters gradually and cleverly. Romance is very realistically handled as is the true value of love. Pride and honour eventually determine it's outcome. A destiny the viewer eventually realises was sadly the only fate deserved.
It really is unique in its genre due to how it drip feeds the viewer its engrossing saga.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon on 22 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
This is a sprawling, glorious saga that will be appreciated by people who don't even like the Western genre. With fabulous cinematography, an excellent script, and two of my favorite actors, it's a film I never tire of watching.
Gregory Peck is the sea captain with principles who goes west to meet his future bride, only to find feuds and fighting, and some lawless varmints who need his "non violent" ways of resolving territorial issues. He is terrific as James McKay, who is sort of an Atticus Finch in boots, and looks mighty fine as well.
Charlton Heston has the smaller part as Leech, a foreman who is seething with jealousy and obeys the orders of his unscrupulous boss (rancher Terrill, played with subtle menace by Charles Bickford) as he yearns for his daughter. Heston is brilliant as this rather complex character, and would a year later star in director William Wyler's next epic, "Ben Hur", which is perhaps my all-time most viewed and enjoyed film.
Both female leads are wonderful, and are portrayed with enormous strength; Jean Simmons, with her luminous eyes is the schoolteacher, and Carroll Baker is the tough daughter of rancher Bickford, and is too much like her daddy to make a suitable bride for Peck.
Among the many strong performances in the supporting parts are Burl Ives, and received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his gnarly old Rufus, Chuck Connors is his bad to the bone son, and Alfonso Bedoya, is a delight as Ramon, who along with a horse named "Old Thunder", provides some of the humor in the film.
The score by Jerome Moross is lovely (and received an Oscar nomination) and the cinematography by Franz Planner spectacular.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By steveacoustic on 8 Jun. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an unreservedly great film, in so many respects. Previous reviewers have made good points about it that need no repetition from me. What intrigues me is that The Big Country is a neglected piece of cinema (I think the Radio Times Film Guide makes this very point). It shows what an astonishingly good actor the late Gregory Peck was, a master of quiet understatement and dignity. I believe he was a co-producer of the movie, so it was something of a labour of love. Whether you view it as an allegory of the Cold War, i.e. the pointlessly destructive head-to-head belligerence of two giant opponents, or you see it as a a cracking good western, you can't be disappointed. I think what intrigues and impresses me above all is that the style of the film doesn't date at all. It looks as if it could have been made last year, not nearly fifty years ago, and in fact looks better than slightly later Western classics such as The Magnificent Seven. It just has a fresh feel about it and is one of very few films that I could watch over and over again (if I had the time..!|). There is subtlety and nuance in every frame and the pace doesn't flag. The plot is clever and not stereotyped. Oh yes, and Jerome Moross' fabulous music score is unforgettable. And the cinematography. Oh well, everything about it really. Fantastic film. Watch. Enjoy.
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