The Big Country / William Wyler

The Big Country.

Director William Wyler has the distinction of having directed more actors to Oscar-nominated performances than any
other director in history: thirty-six.
Out of these nominees, fourteen went on to win Oscars.

The Big Country Banner
The Big Country Banner
Burl Ives - The Big Country
Burl Ives – ‘The Big Country’ 1958

Wyler: Academy Award for Best Direction three times
Ben HurThe Best Years of Our Lives, and Mrs. Miniver

William Wyler - The Big Country
William Wyler – The Big Country

“I made over forty Westerns. I used to lie awake nights trying to think up new ways of getting on and off a horse.”

Western Filmography (Partial)

People laugh at these old Westerns now – from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s – but that’s where we came from – and where Wyler paid his dues – and went on to become one of the most celebrated Directors in Movie history.

Friendly Persuasion (1956 – Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire) / The Westerner Starring (1940 – Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan) / The Storm (1930) Written by John Huston / Hell’s Heroes (Charles Bickford)1929 / Thunder Riders (1928) / The Border Cavalier (1927) / Daze of the West (1927) / The Horse Trader (1927) / The Square Shooter (1927) / The Phantom Outlaw (1927) / Gun Justice (1927) / The Home Trail (1927) / The Ore Raiders (1927) / The Lone Star (1927) / Hard Fists (1927) / The Haunted Homestead (1927) / Galloping Justice (1927) / Shooting Straight (1927) / Blazing Days (1927) / The Silent Partner (1927) / Tenderfoot Courage (1927) / Kelcy Gets His Man (1927) / The Two Fister (1927) / The Stolen Ranch (1926) / The Pinnacle Rider (1926) / Lazy Lightning (1926) / Martin of the Mounted (1926) / The Gunless Bad Man (1926) / Stolen Ranch (1926) / The Crook Buster (1925)

Saddledome Rise SE, Calgary, AB T2G, Canada

Author: jcalberta

Howdy! I love Westerns. ... and the intent of is to celebrate Western Movies/Film - old and new. This site will eventually show my top 30 favorite Westerns - or more. I will have original graphic work with regular updates. All this - and more ... Yee Haw ... !! - jcablerta / Moderator / Administrator

4 thoughts on “The Big Country / William Wyler”

  1. One of my favorite westerns that I often forget. William Wyler was a master — along with THE master, Pappy Ford and George Stevens. One scene — among the many great shots — is especially memorable. The epic fist fight between Peck and Heston. Shot primarily in long shots with minimal sound. This was a style used by Wyler and George Stevens. Gregory Peck, I believe, was the Producer or “EP” on this one. Heston told me he didn’t blink about taking the 5th billing –after starring in “The Ten Commandments” because it gave him the chance to work with Wyler. Of course, the following year, “Chuck” starred for Wyler in “Ben Hur”. Heston who was a delightful guy (Just ask Marilyn) in his pre NRA years — said Wyler was perhaps the BEST director he ever worked for in his career. Great cast with the Ives-Bickford rivalry so very well done. Wonderful music!! Gotta watch it again.

    1. A definite Classic – worthy of repeated viewing. I’m working on a few of the bios right now (Ives, Heston, Peck …) and it’s a major task with a line-up like this. What a body of work these artists left us!!! Ives’ history is especially interesting as a wayfaring troubadour/activist in the 30’s who knew and played music with Guthrie, Seeger … was a member of the Weavers; wrote ‘Ghost RIders in the Sky’ … amazing stuff.
      Thanks for the notable and informed comments.

  2. Funnily enough, I have this film on my list of “retro-reviews” as I love this film. My father still maintains that it is the best western ever made and while I don’t necessarily agree, I think it is in the top 5. I was waxing lyrical about it the other night to my daughters significant other. Great post mate! 😀

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