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The Big Trail (1930)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0

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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,915

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Movie Info

The first "epic" western of the talkie era, The Big Trail is motivated by a hero's search for the murderer of his father. Twenty-three-year-old John Wayne, hitherto limited to bit parts, was thrust into the difficult leading role, a young mountaineer put in charge of a huge California-bound wagon train. Over the next several months, Wayne and his fellow pioneers face every imaginable hazard and disaster, from blistering desert heat to blinding snowstorms, negotiating steep cliffs, treacherous

May 20, 2003

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (0) | DVD (14)

Integrating the settlers' passionate mortal conflicts into the landscape, Walsh turns the theatrical limitations of early sound technique to an advantage, composing vast, static tableaux with the mighty breadth and noble pace of epic stanzas.

July 15, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

More historical than anything, but a must for Wayne fans.

February 17, 2008

Raoul Walsh believed that John Wayne would become a big star after his epic Western but he did not. A combo of factors account for this failure, not just Wayne's stiff acting but also the cool reception of the horseopera itself.

December 21, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

John Ford recommended to his friend Walsh bit-part actor Marion Morrison for the lead, and for his first starring role he took the name John Wayne...

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Visually spectacular early sound Western

May 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

Interesting early wide-screen spectacle with indifferent acting and story.

September 23, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Big Trail

The film version i had on blu-ray contained both the regular 35mm print at 108 minutes and the "Fox Grandeur" version filmed at 70mm and running 122 minutes. The Fox Grandeur version is certainly the way to watch it in my opinion and really showcases the vast landscapes and wide-open space of the land. While the cinematography was impressive, the film's simple narrative, wooden acting on John Wayne's part and the scope was a little ambious for what we are given in the final product. The film apparently was a financial failure as it was filmed two times and dubbed in French and German as well as the native English and the costs were substancial. The film is essential viewing I would think for John Wayne films, and while he would work on B-westerns the next nearly decade it eventually got him to the fame he would gain one day and become the star of such greats as Stagecoach and countless other A-films to come.
December 8, 2013
Chris Browning

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Latest News on The Big Trail

December 28, 2006:
25 New Films Enter National Film Registry ... Good Ones, Too!
Every year another 25 films are chosen for "National Film Registry" designation, and it's...

Foreign Titles

  • The Big Trail (1930) (DE)
  • The Big Trail (1930) (UK)
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