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How the West Was Won (Three-Disc Special Edition)

610 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

How the West was Won: Special Edition (3-Disc) (DVD)

With courage, sinew and conflict: that's how the West was won. With three directors, five interlocked stories, some of movie history's most legendary action scenes and a constellation of acting talent: that's how How the West Was Won was filmed. Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart and John Wayne are among the big names in this big saga following a family's move West through generations – marked by the spectacles of a heart-pounding raging river ride, a thunderous buffalo stampede and a bracing runaway train shootout. Via technological advances, this panoramic winner of three Academy Awards can now be seen with a resplendent, restored clarity eliminating its original "three- panel join lines" and in roof-raising Dolby 5.1 audio. Westward ho!


Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Carroll Baker, James Stewart, Karl Malden, Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb
  • Directors: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008
  • Run Time: 164 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (610 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018O4RT2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,286 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How the West Was Won (Three-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A massive, sprawling epic shot in the three camera Cinerama Process popular during the early 60's, "How the West Was Won" spans from 1830 to 1880 covering the history of the westward expansion. Directed by three directors (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall with a fourth Richard Thorpe providing uncredited linking pieces)"How the West Was Won" was produced during the twilight of the western as the most popular type genre.

Warner has done a painstaking job of restoring this classic film and although it isn't perfect, it's an exceptional job that deserves kudos. The film has never looked this good with colors that pop and accurate fleshtones. More important the seams that one could see for the separate cameras aren't quite as glaring as before. The image quality is exceptionally crisp with terrific detail. Audio sounds extremely good with a nice 5.1 mix.

The film is spread over two discs with the original Overture and Alfred Newman's marvelous score included as part of the package. We get a terrific feature length commentary track from "West" stuntman Loren James who provides plenty of background details about the physical shooting of the film, filmmaker David Strohmaier, film scholar Rudy Behlmer, Cierama's John Sittig and music historian Jon Burlingame. My only complaint is that Burlingame will make a comment about listening to Newman's marvelous score and then whomever edited his comments continues to play them right over the music cue we should be listening to without interruption.
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158 of 167 people found the following review helpful By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on July 7, 2008
Format: Blu-ray
If you've never seen the original Cinerama big screen release, or only know the previous video versions of HTWWW, you are in for a big treat. The fully restored classic American film, the top box office hit of 1962, is stunning.

And the Blu-ray hi-def transfer is truly breathtaking. I literally gasped when I saw it. And so have special preview audiences of the hi-def DVD.

Warner -- which owns the pre 1986 MGM library -- has spent a ton of dough getting this right. Six years, hundreds of people, thousands of hours and millions of dollars have been invested in creating and applying new technology that has virtually erased the "join lines" that marred the earlier -- rather hideous -- video transfers. Not only that, but every frame has been restored. That's the equivalent of restoring three 35 MM films -- the original was exposed using three alligned cameras. The final aspect ratio is 2.89:1 (that's nearly three times as wide as it is high). And it is a wondrous sight to behold.

Seeing this new version is like experiencing the film for the first time. The familiar story -- based on a series in Life magazine -- follows three generations of a typical pioneer Ohio Valley family from 1839 to 1889. A myriad of stars shine in this great American adventure -- John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb and Carrol Baker are among the many recognizable faces.

Three accomplished directors (including John Ford) helmed this rousing epic that does not degrade the Native American experience even as it allows for the conflicts the westward movement created.

The absolutely stunning Blu-ray version inlcudes a "smilebox" transfer that mimics the original Cinerama experience of a giant curved screen.
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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful By T. Robin on March 26, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the first (and only) CINERAMA film I ever saw, without doubt the most thrilling aspect of the movie is the grand scale of the Cinerama process and the multi- channel soundtrack. The transfer to DVD is an insult. In this era of digital technology it is easily possible to correct the color balance errors evident in the "seams" of this otherwise remarkable motion picture. I agree with other reviewers, lose the Turner promo. The color balance, saturation, and picture
resolution are very average, and fall well below of what the DVD process is capable. One redeeming feature is the soundtrack. Finally, after viewing the VHS tape, and Laserdisc of this movie, the DVD release incorporates the correct rear channel information of the original release. Finally, and most regrettably, this DVD release has been cropped. Don't we buy widescreen movies to see how they were originally shot? HELLO HOLLYWOOD!
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114 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 4, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I keep running into negative reviews for a DVD film or set that hasn't been released yet. I am not sure why Amazon feels in necessay to move reviews over to a DVD that has yet to be released but it's a bit like shooting yourself in the foot. Everyone waiting for a decent release of this film - without the lines on film - should be aware they need to wait for reviews of the set AFTER it has been released and ignore the negative reviews of previous versions.

Everyone knows this film, it is the reviews of the DVD and not the film that is important to most of us. Wake up, Jeff. This is very frustrating. Quit posting reviews of DVDs that have yet to be released.

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Topic From this Discussion
Where is the missing scene of the water tower collapse during the...
"At the showing of HTWW at the Dome last year there was some comment about a scene in which a water tower falls down. It was not in the film! Upon later discussion it was agreed that the scene was in the trailer for the film but not in the final version!"
Sep 29, 2008 by BubbaCoop |  See all 19 posts
Smile box?
Smilebox really works with this film. A flat presentation is distorted along the side panels due to the deep curvature of the image captured in the CINERAMA cameras. Just watched the Smilebox Blu-ray for the first time and it really makes this film look 100% better on top of a fantastic... Read More
Mar 9, 2010 by Dee Zee |  See all 5 posts
Is this really 1.33:1?
Not 1:33

It is 2.89: 1 and looks great.
Sep 17, 2008 by Moray |  See all 8 posts
Amazon to correct their region coding for Blu-ray
I am pleased someone else noticed and did something! As u can read below 'smmab' - I wrote some weeks ago. As u can appreciate, it is pretty important for us "Across the Pacific' to have the right technical info! ... Read More
Aug 31, 2008 by rfdunedin |  See all 5 posts
The 3 DVD set has a 2.89:1 transfer.
ISBN 012569799714
Sep 17, 2008 by Moray |  See all 2 posts
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