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How the West Was Won


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Product Details

  • Actors: James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Carroll Baker
  • Directors: George Marshall, Henry Hathaway, John Ford, Richard Thorpe
  • Writers: James R. Webb, John Gay
  • Producers: Bernard Smith
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
  • Run Time: 164 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (514 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000O599V2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,093 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How the West Was Won" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

From 1839 to 1889, this epic story follows four generations of a courageous New England farm family as they travel to the fertile Ohio Valley during America's westward expansion. This wondrous historical saga is set against the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War, buffalo hunters, the Pony Express and the first transcontinental railroad. How The West Was Won won three Academy Awards for Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Editing.

Customer Reviews

This very old movie has stirred me every time that I have watched it.
Stephens Parker
Film from the three cameras was formatted and synchronized into aligned panels, which worked spectacularly well when viewed as intended.
Russell de Ville
The picture and sound quality on this film is stunning, particularly on the second disc which includes the Cinerama version.
James Quirk

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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145 of 152 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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99 of 107 people found the following review helpful By T. Robin on March 26, 2000
Format: DVD
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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110 of 124 people found the following review helpful By JackShadow 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.

Richard
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Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 ?
I don't see why this seems to be so difficult to understand... It is simply impossible to completely fill the screen of a display with an aspect ratio differing from the as-shot frame without either 1) cropping the image (top/bottom or sides, depending on which was wider) or 2) distorting the... Read More
Apr 10, 2009 by A Reader |  See all 10 posts
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
How ro wreck a western Be the first to reply
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