Union Pacific (1939)

Union Pacific (1939)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Union Pacific Photos

Movie Info

In this film, Cecil B. DeMille takes us back to the 1860s, then rebuilds the first intercontinental railroad. The real-life spectacle is occasionally interrupted by the fictional adventures of railroad overseer Joel McCrea, postmistress Barbara Stanwyck, and McCrea's best pal Robert Preston.
Classics , Drama , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Pictures


Joel McCrea
as Capt. Jeff Butler
Robert Preston
as Dick Allen
Brian Donlevy
as Sid Campeau
Barbara Stanwyck
as Molly Monahan
Akim Tamiroff
as Fiesta
Lynne Overman
as Leach Overmile
Anthony Quinn
as Jack Cordray
Stanley Ridges
as Gen. Casement
Henry Kolker
as Asa M. Barrows
Francis McDonald
as Gen. Grenville M. Dodge
Sid Saylor
as Barker
Willard Robertson
as Oakes Ames
Harold Goodwin
as E.E. Calvin
Evelyn Keyes
as Mrs. Calvin
Richard Lane
as Sam Reed
William Haade
as Dusky Clayton
Regis Toomey
as Paddy O'Rourke
J.M. Kerrigan
as Monahan
Fuzzy Knight
as Cookie
Harry Woods
as Al Brett
Lon Chaney Jr
as Dollarhide
Joseph Crehan
as Gen. U.S. Grant
Julia Faye
as Mame
Joe Sawyer
as Shamus
Byron Foulger
as Andrew Whipple
Jack Pennick
as Harmonica Player
Richard Alexander
as Card Player
Ruth Warren
as Mrs. Cassidy
Max Davidson
as Card Player
Dutch Hendrian
as Card Player
Jim Pierce
as Card Player
Walter Long
as Irishman
Monte Blue
as Indian
John Merton
as Laborer
Jim Farley
as Paddy
Richard Denning
as Reporter
David Newell
as Reporter
Chief Thundercloud
as Indian Brave
Ray Mala
as Indian Brave
Iron Eyes Cody
as Indian Brave
Sonny Chorre
as Indian Brave
Greg Whitespear
as Indian Brave
Richard Robles
as Indian Brave
James Pierce
as Card Player
Tony Urchell
as Indian Brave
Earl Askam
as Bluett
John Marston
as Dr. Durant
Morgan Wallace
as Sen. Smith
Russell Hicks
as Sergeant
May Beatty
as Dr. Harknes
Stanley Andrews
as Dr. Harknes
William Worthington
as Oliver Ames
Guy Usher
as Leland Stanford
Robert H. Barrat
as Duke Ring
James M. McNamara
as Mr. Mills
Gus Glassmire
as Gov. Stafford
Paul Everton
as Rev. Dr. Tadd
Frank Yaconelli
as Accordion Player
Elmo Lincoln
as Card Player
Syd Saylor
as Barker
Davison Clark
as Doctor
Lane Chandler
as Conductor
Nestor Paiva
as C.P. Conductor
Jack Richardson
as Official
Mary MacLaren
as Official's Wife
Jane Keckley
as Official's Wife
Frank Shannon
as Old Man
Maude Fealy
as Woman
Ida May
as Goldie
Nora Cecil
as Snoring Woman on Train
Noble Johnson
as Native American Shooting Piano
Si Jenks
as Old Prospector
Louis Natheaux
as Card Player
Wilbur Mack
as Jake - Bartender
Emory Parnell
as Foreman
Edward J. Le Saint
as Father Ryan
Sam McDaniel
as St. Louis Waiter
Ernie S. Adams
as Gen. Sheridan
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Union Pacific

All Critics (3)

Released in 1939 and boasting patriotic zeal, DeMille's empire-building epic is one of his most impressive pictures, with wonderful performances from Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea at their peak.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008

It has the grand sweep of a DeMille film.

Full Review… | May 18, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Rip-snortin', old-fashioned Western, with understated McCrea and hammy Stanwyck a great team.

September 1, 2006
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for Union Pacific

The paper thin characters and distracting use of studio sound stages in conjunction with the outdoor photography is a difficult hurtle to get over, but DeMille's genuine zeal for the "unity of the Nation" and an epic scale are undeniably appealing. Not even Barbara Stanwyck's fake Irish accident could bring down her performance.

Garrett Cash
Garrett Cash

DeMille, yes, but not truly epic, since the film's just too saddled down with a love triangle plotline with Barbara Stanwyck as pivot gal. Stanwyck delivers brogue Irish well and she's interesting enough to watch, but the romantic melodrama shares at least equal stage, if not more, with the advertised theme of forging America's first intercontinental railway. And even much of that story feels fairly cliche - Injun attacks, trestle collapses, train robberies and such. There's not much truly historical footing to be found here either. In fact, the Chinese coolie labor is conspicuously absent. Oddly, this film was awarded the 1939 Palme d'Or - retroactively in 2002. The first official Cannes was in 1940, but it apparently wanted to be on record regarding 1939, classic Hollywood's most golden year. They couldn't really award it to any of the titles hindsight now honors - and still be insightful - so, pass the envelope please, it's Union Pacific! RECOMMENDATION: It's no Saturday afternoon oater, it's better-than-average Western fare compared to its period but, again, it's not truly epic in scope. Consider checking out a far-feistier Stanwyck in "The Furies" (1950) instead.

TonyPolito  Polito
TonyPolito Polito

Typical overblown, overlong DeMille epic. Stanwyck is excellent as always although the 30's eyebrows are a bit distracting.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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