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The Big Country [Blu-ray]

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,074 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A former sea captain goes west, woos women and joins a water-rights fight. Directed by William Wyler. Best supporting Oscar for Burl Ives.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Mono), French (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,074 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0052E8XFI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,982 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2003
Format: DVD
What we have here is a blood feud over water rights between two ranching families headed by Major Henry Terrill (Charles Bickford) and Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives), with school teacher Julie Maragon (Jean Simmons) caught in the middle. Directed by William Wyler with stunning cinematography by Franz Planer, we follow a narrative which involves the engagement of Easterner James McKay (Gregory Peck) to Terrill's beloved daughter Pat (Carroll Baker). Frankly, what he sees in her continues to elude my understanding.

Some reviewers have dismissed this as a "B" movie but I do not. The quality of the acting (notably Ives's which earned him an Academy Award for best supporting actor) is outstanding. Although in what I guess could be considered a minor role as Steve Leech, Terrill's ramrod, Charlton Heston delivers a remarkably nuanced and controlled performance as does Chuck Connors as Buck Hannassey. This is much less a western than a study of two patriarchs (Terrill and Hannassey) who play a zero sum game to gain control of access to water on which they and their herds obviously depend. But there is something else at work in this great but (for whatever reasons) under appreciated film. Julie Maragon is quite willing to allow both patriarchs access to the water. That is not the core issue: rather, it is the conflict between the inflated egos of two proud and stubborn men who detest each other.

For me, one of the most memorable scenes occurs when, just before dawn, McKay and Leech finally have it out. It is an awkward but inevitable and immensely effective fist fight, with much of it filmed as if we were observing it at a distance. Of course, the fist fight achieves nothing other than demonstrating that McKay is more of a "man" than Leech once thought.
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Format: VHS Tape
I think Peck's best performance was in 1958s THE BIG COUNTRY. THE BIG COUNTRY is based on Donald Hamilton's novel of the same name. Gregory Peck plays the central character named James McKay. McKay was a sea captain who looked and acted like something of a dandy as he relocated out west from back east to marry his fiancée. McKay was a man who had nothing to prove to anyone but himself. I read the novel. Gregory Peck is James McKay. Peck chose this project and co-produced it because I think he recognized that particular character in the novel that mirrored his approach to many of the roles he chose. There are wooden people in everyday life. What is behind the wooden veneer? I think that a good actor takes the roles that work best for them. Look at Peck's performance as Lewt in DUEL IN THE SUN. That is not one of Peck's typical performances. I wonder after all these years what Peck's critique would be to his performance in that film. If you do watch THE BIG COUNTRY I think that Peck actually makes very subtle references to his performance in DUEL IN THE SUN with his awkward attempt at humor, which is consistent with the character of James McKay. THE BIG COUNTRY is one of America's greatest films. It is blessed with one of the finest scores ever written for an American film. What composer Jerome Moross gave us was true Americana as well as music in the Western genre. This score captures the spirit of what made America great. America is made up of different people and different ideals. Charlton Heston as Steve Leech, in what I think was also his best role and performance, showed us an overly assertive male quality. When he finally confronts McKay he comes away with a self-realization about his own motivations and what being a man really means.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
MGM's Western Legends Series presents William Wylers (Director of BEN-Hur) 1958 epic western classic "The Big Country". Now on DVD presented in WideScreen and enhanced for WideScreen HDTV's (16:9) format. This DVD is beautifully presented with the huge panoramtic display of "The Big Country".
This western was overshadowed in the late 1950's by the new "Rebel Without A Cause" youth gendre films.
Now we can recapture this 165 minute WideScreen western epic in the home on this fabulous DVD. Perfect script, magnificent photography, superb musical score, masterful direction of William Wyler & a brilliant ensemble cast providing all the elements for a great story. Lead by Gregory Peck - at his best, Jean Simmons - beautiful & intelligent, Charleton Heston - excellent Peck nemesis, Carrol Baker - rich & spoiled, Burl Ives - strong & rough (Oscar Winner - Best Supporting Actor), Chuck Connors - outstanding villian & Charles Bickford - arrogant & vane.
Summary: An Eastern Sea Captain / Dude (Peck) with a high moral code arrives in "The Big Country" to marry spoiled rich girl (Baker). Immediately he discovers he is in the middle of a range & water rights war against two feuding families, the Terrills (Bickford, Baker & hired foreman Heston) vs the Hannasseys (Ives & Connors). A local school teacher (Simmons) holds the deed & control of the water rights in "The Big Country". Who will get control of the water & will Peck be able to maintain his high morale ethical code? We journey throughout this epic western captured in the plot complexity & magnificent scenes discovering these answers & lots more.
A great family film. This is when Hollywood provided us with all the key ingredients for a great story, including the classical happy ending. An epic western you'll enjoy over & over. This DVD has an excellent transfer of sight & sound. The only extra is a trailer. Enjoy.
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