- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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An Adventure Classic
- Denham Fields
This is Howard Hawks in top form. A brilliantly crafted movie where early pioneers journey up the Missouri River and meet adventure at every bend. The screenplay shines through the personas of some great performances from Kirk Douglas and Arthur Hunnicutt (Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance). They are believable, honorable and very funny, along with their delightful and bawdy French immigrant crew. You can always sense the presence of Hawk's innate ability as he brings dialogues and actors to life, evident in his other movies such as Rio Bravo. One senses that he truly enjoys people and this warmth permeates the movie. The crew show what true camaraderie between men can be as they face the inevitable dangers in the journey. Finally, some beautiful, authentically reproduced ceremonial dances of the Blackfoot Indian tribe. The camera work (B&W) is beautiful and won another Oscar. A wonderful and uplifting film.
THE BIG SKY (1952)
I whole heartedly agree with Tom Metz that this is a really bad print compilation of a really great film that deserves far better treatment than it has thus far received. I read Guthrie's book when I was a kid and have loved this movie ever since. I've seen butchered versions of this film as short as 90 min broadcast on commercial television. A 122 min VHS ver was released in 1988, & a Turner colorized ver. Per archives the original release of TBS (1952) was 140-141 min long. TCM has shown the 122 min ver &, for the last few years, a 138min "restored" version, which is in dire need of professional clean-up. Still, considering RKO's tumultuous history, we should be grateful that we have, what we have, from TCM. RKO Radio Pictures (1928-1956) RKO Teleradio Pictures (1956-60): In 1931, when Selznick became the new studio chief, RKO entered it's "Golden Era." Successive mgmt by Merian Cooper, Samuel Briskin, Pandro Berman, & other talents, allowed RKO to survive the depression. During it's heyday RKO produced many significant classics as well as numerous memorable B pictures. Howard Hughes took over RKO in 1948. After years of turmoil & decline under his control, Hughes sold the studio to General Tire & Rubber Company in 1955. When General Tire acquired the studio library it was sold to independent television stations. RKO Pictures ceased production in 1957 and within 2 yrs was effectively dissolved. What remains of the studio's library today is in numerous corp. hands. International ownership of theatrical, television & home video distrib. rights to RKO's library makes access to unedited products a difficult process. Howard Winchester Hawks (1896-1977) & Winchester Pictures Corp: Another classic by writer/producer/director H.Hawks & editor Christian Nyby (RKO release) that is in dire need of loving restoration is "The Thing from Another World" (1951). Though still intact at 87min, it suffers from very similar blurs and audio malformities as seen & heard in TBS (1952).
- Tom Metz it
I just saw this film for the first time and really loved it. It's obvious that some of the reels are defective and weathered. It seems they may have pieced the whole thing together from different sources as the quality really varies throughout. The fact that the quality is so questionable makes me wonder if an original print even exists?Such a fine film really deserves to be remastered. Also, the original black and white looks really great. If the original does print exist perhaps sitting in a vault somewhere in Hollywood, get to work people! That's a wrap!
- Tom Metz it
I just saw this film for the first time and really loved it. It's obvious that some of the reels are defective and weathered. It seems they may have pieced the whole thing together from different sources as the quality really varies throughout. The fact that the quality is so questionable makes me wonder if an original print even exists?Such a fine film really deserves to be remastered. Also, the original black and white looks really great. If the original does print exist perhaps sitting in a vault somewhere in Hollywood, get to work people!
Love this film
My husband loves this film. Watches for it to be on TV so that he can be sure to see it. Would love to purchase it. Would have to be in DVD form.. Thank you
Needs to be on Blu-ray!
- Erich Kuersten
Most of Hawks is now on DVD or has been re-released on multiple labels/platforms (i.e. Criterion's Only Angels have Wings coming a few years after TCM's on Blu-ray) but BIG SKY doesn't even HAVE A VHS! What's the deal? Its mountanous Pacific NW scenery and rivers are I'm sure very beautiful and TCM at least shows it fairly frequently but the print is just so-so - is it that the negative is lost?
Hail Howard Hawks !
- Will Fox
As any serious scholar or student of the studio system in Hollywood's heyday knows, Howard Hawks is in the top 3, of the most successful directors. Intelligent people worldwide are still fascinated by John Ford's westerns. Alfred Hitchcock's suspense-filled mysteries intrigue five-generations of the intelligencia. Rivaling these two aces, is the ace of aces among world-class film directors, Howard Hawks. He created more 4-star films (the highest of ratings among most critics) in many more genres than any other director in the history of film. Howard Hawks is famous as a movie-making maverick with a distinctive talent for creating sassy female characters that enchant male bosses. Please consider his hits: "A Girl in Every Port" (1928), "The Dawn Patrol" (1930), "The Crowd Roars" and "Scarface" (1932), "20th Century," "Barbary Coast," "Bringing Up Baby," "Only Angels Have Wings," "His Girl Friday," "Sergeant York," "Ball of Fire," "Corvette K -255,", "To Have And Have Not," "The Big Sleep" (1946), "Red River" (1948), "A Star Is Born," "I Was A Male War Bride," "The Thing From Another World," "The Big Sky," "Monkey Business," "Gentle Prefer Blondes," "Rio Bravo" (1959), "Hatari" (1962), and "El Dorado" (1967). Twenty-three successes. Who else compares to this heroic champion, across so many different genres, among film directors? Hail Howard Hawks!
Finding an old friend
- Madd Coww
I was born the year this film was made. I saw it as a child, and loved it then. I tconfused it with another upriver travel adventure with an Indian princess: "The Far Horizons" made a few years later with Donna Reed and Charlton Heston. That film was entertaining, but after I saw "The Big Sky" again today, after decades, I know which one I preferred. This film is not nearly as polished as Howard Hawks' other "westerns" from the same era. This film is not even in the same class as "Red River." But that does not mean this film as not enormously entertaining. This film could not be made today, because virtually every character or plot element has now become politically incorrect. We have racism, sexism, mentally challenged characters as comic relief, stereotypically "good" and "evil" Indians, and a Native American ingenue who is about as geniune as Donna Reed. We have bar singing, harmonicas around the campfire, and a Native Ameican line dance around a campfire. Dewey Martin and Kirk Douglas have more costume changes than Lana Turner ever had in any film. The costume authenticity includes a lot of Buckskin Bill fringe, tailored leather trousers for Dewey along with lace-up buckskin shirts that are never quite laced. The frontier medicine is enchanting--iin the course of the film, Kirk Douglas has an injured finger chopped off (around a campfire), and later has a musket ball carved out of his leg (ditto). Dewey has a severe knife laceration to his back, and gets it stitched up with an upholstery needle and fishing twine. Also, our heroes and the crew of the boat look like they've just stepped out of a hot shower each morning. Add to this a voice-over narration which sounds a lot like a Wonderful World of Disney nature feature, and what's not to like? I absolutely LOVE this movie, and I will certainly buy a copy when it is put to DVD.
Restore THE BIG SKY
- John Fedinatz
THE BIG SKY cannnot really be faulted except for some minor issues such as Kirk Douglas and Dewey Martin being well groomed throught their metamorphosis into Mountain Men, and Kirk Douglas affected "fir" instead of "for". Otherwise, both are well cast along with the rest of the actors. I remember Pauline Kael criticizing the film for being poky. For me, since I first saw it as a teenager to the present, it has retained an exhilharating sense of adventure. The characacters are so well individualized are so strongly melded that my attention does not have to be piqued by a lot of physical action. I just relish the by-play throughout: UNCLE ZEB "Now get the sand outta your craw and tell me your doin' here." BOONE: "We got in a fight with a fella. He said you was nothin' but a drunk".UNCLE ZEB: "Ain't much to fight about. I would like to know his name."The sense of space and wilderness captured in the "black & white" photography leaves me with my tongue hanging out. Even the studios exteriors, usually a distraction, are just right here.Having a copy on DVD from France that includes restored footage, not of the best quality, I yearn for a full restoration with a pristine look. That's probably asking too much.
We watch this movie about once every week to two weeks. This is one of those classics that never gets old. I love listening to the music in this show. I wish I could find the soundtrack. I can't wait until TCM plays the movie again in August. The original recording we had was accidently deleted. The recording we currently watch is missing the first 15 minutes. It would be wonderful if this became available on DVD.
Great Entertaining Western
- Richard A. Radford
This has always been one of my favorites. It has great actors, a great script, and great scenery. I once had the colorized version in VHS (lost in fire) and have not been able to find since. To me it's a movie I can sit back and relax. Even though I may have seen it almost a dozen time, I find myself wanting to watch it over and over. Not many movies these days can you say that.
The Big Sky
- Celia Trimboli
Wonderful Western adventure film. Great performances by Kirk Douglas, Arthur Hunnicutt, and the actor who plays Poor Devil. I believe he was in The Searchers, playing Old Mose. Elizabeth Threatt is one of the most beautiful actresses I have ever seen. I have a colorized, poor quality version on VHS. PLEASE release a remastered, original black and white version this to DVD very soon.
The Big Sky
- Dashiell B.
An overlooked, very enjoyable film from Hawks' library. Douglas & Martin are fur trappers who join a cast of wacky characters to trade up the river, the cast including Hunnicutt in an Oscar-nominated performance as Martin's uncle. Based on an excellent novel by A.B. Guthrie, Jr., the story is doesn't tap into the full possibilities of the novel as much as it creates a good collection of characters. At times the picture quality gets grainy, but that's a little complaint against a film well worth seeing. I give it a 4/5.
the big sky
love this film. great cast kirt douglas took me some getting used too in this part, after reading the book umpteen times arthur hunnicut great character actor in his element . spectacular scenery. only one complaint. a biggy. does anyone have a decent copy of this film? every time i see it about halfway through the film seems to take on a whole different look and sound and not for the better.it throws me right off.as if the whole crew quite. cameras film sound all different maybe a new version aye hint! hint!
The Big Sky one of the best westerns ever made
- André Poirier
One of the best westerns ever and a masterpiece of story telling. Free from studio constraints and conventions, Howard Hawks with The Big Sky joins the company of John Ford and Jean Renoir, a very select group of real film artists.
This is one great movie
- John Celba
One of if not the best early mountain man movies i have ever seen. I would tell anyone into mountain movies that they have to see this one.
the big sky
- John Celba
I've been rendezvousing since 1974 and been looking for good movies about the mountain man even longer. This is one of the best. Maybe its not the most factual one but it gets it's point across and has some doing it to.
A wonderful trip
It's a wonderful trip into the imagination of what could have been. Sure, it is spiced up drama, but it's an enthralling expedition, none the less. Makes one wish to visit the Blackfeet and set a spell.To me, the most important aspect is the exploration of a different culture, a different way of looking at the world, not only of the "English", the "French", but of the Blackfeet. And thankfully, the movie doesn't overlay 20th century anachronisms and viewpoints too much.
Why not color
- Mike Gross
A very good adventure movie. However, I remember seeing this movie in 1952 at the Ogden Theatre at 63rd and Ashland in Chicago, IL and it was in technicolor. What happened to the color?
The Big Sky
- Kathy Blackwell
This was a great movie. This movie needs to be remastered on a DVD.
the Perfect Western
This is the greatest Western on film. So many films have borrowed from this, including Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans". Great cinematography, performances, pacing and direction. The treatment of the Indians is accurate and not stereotyped. Just brilliant historical fiction on film!!
Enjoyed this one for years.
- Dennis Boring
I recorded this on tape back when it was on TNT and was a colorized version but it had commercials. The quality is not great but it should be in color with the background. I have since recorded it on TCM but still enjoy the color one. I also would like to have it on DVD, in color.
the big sky
- james r schleede
howard hawks makes a person feel like he/she is living in this time period . a great feature to this triffic movie is the employment of Arthur Hunnicutt's voice filling in the gaps in the story line.
The Big Sky - a truly great movie
- Paul Kinnane
Have loved this one for years. Probably where I first became aware of Arthur Honeycutt, one of the great character actors. I too have longed for a DVD copy and I finally found one commercially produced out of the UK. Although it is a PAL format, my player is not limited and now I can enjoy this movie. Why TCM only shows this once in a blue moon is beyond me...
Bitter in Beaumont
- Jack Pieper
You might know it, one of my fav all time movies " The Big Sky " is no longer availablethru T.C.M. or at one of our local video stores. And my copy on VHS is worn out. If youlike " Mountain Men " you'll love Big Sky. My only complaint, it deserved to be in color.
- Will Alley
one of the best movies KD made!!!!
The Big Sky
- David W
What a great action movie. Kirk Douglass and Arthur Hunnicutt give great performances. The adventure to some degree is like a Lewis and Clark expedition. Cannot find it on DVD and would be good to see TCM show it.
THE BIG SKY
- John Celba
It is a crime thats this wonderful and enertaining movie is not on both DVD and Blu-Ray. This by far is one of the best if not the best movie on the Moutain Man Era. What is wrong with the movie industry anyway.
an Unsung Hawks' Gem
- Robert Caprio
Some of the worst movies ever made somehow make it to DVD. But not THE BIG SKY. Lovers of this film agree that finding a "decent" print to work from is the problem, or the more mysterious Who Has the Rights? Frankly, having patiently waited for years, PLEASE, JUST PUT IT ON DVD (with a nice cover).This is a great film by Howard Hawks which I rate over (don't get mad) RED RIVER. Beautifully photographed, wonderfully etched characters, and the writing (with Arthur Honeycutt's down home philosophy) is sublime.There are many classic film lovers out there chomping at the bit to place this film in their personal libraries.Keep voting, folks!
The Big Sky (1952)
- Celia Trimboli
Wonderful movie about the beginnings of Western exploration. Great performances, especially by Arthur Hunnicutt and Kirk Douglas. Elizabeth Threatt as Teal Eye is one of the most beautiful women ever.
The Big Sky
This is one of the best movies I've ever seen. I have looked and looked for it on DVD, with no luck. Why is that? I'm going to search TMC, maybe they will be showing it sometime. No one makes movies like this anymore. Our children are missing out on a great thing. Wake up movie makers!! You know you could help make this world a little better, by making us another good one like "THE BIG SKY". Tom Seleck (sp?) would be great for the lead role! Now, put that in your pipe and smoke it....
The Big Sky
The Big Sky is a movie, I would like to see more often. It is a movie I seen as a child and it is one I have a tough time seeing when it is on TCM. This movie is an all time favorite of mine and one that is tough to get to see. I would also like to see it on DVD becasue it seems as if I miss this movie when it is on TCM.
Best trapper movie ever made
- John Celba
When i frist saw The Big Sky i was so impressed that i looked every where for the dvd. I would look for it to be on tv and tell all my friends when it was on. I do historical reanactments so i know a good movie on the subject when i see it. To anyone who loves this kind of movie make sure you make a point of watching THE BIG SKY......
The Big Sky
- Zeke Luna
I look forward to two movies--Shane and The Big Sky--both give me a lump in my throat. Great movies.
This is the best western/adventer movie I've ever seen.I think that everyone should see this movie so that we all can be told the true story of this great nations begining years.I wish it would come out on DVD so everone could enjoy it,besides my VHS copy is wearing out from continued use!
Great Adventure Movie
- John D Jones
I have watched this movie more times than I can remember but still LOVE it.I once saw it in a colored version , seen it only once in color . Is it available or do you know?? Its the best western adventure movie I think of all time .
This movie should be on DVD, it not only is a great movie, but tells a story dealing with your early migration West.
great movie should be on dvd
- john brown
i really enjoy tcm and the great movies yoy show. i think the big sky is one of kirk douglas best movies. i would buy this movie as soon as it comes out on dvd. tcm could show this movie once a month thanks
I love this film.
I really would love to see this movie again. Absolutely loved it when I first watched it over twenty years ago. I felt like I was on the adventure with the cast. Please show this film soon.
The Big Sky
- Ken Oliver
Should this movie become availaable on DVD, I would purchase it immediately formy home collection. I have been searching for it for years. Whenever I see it shown, I always make time to watch it.
we need more movies like this!
where have all the real men gone! director's and actor's. I would love to own this movie.
They don't make them like this anymore!
- Larry Osher
A great adventure, and a movie that I can truly watch over and over. Howard Hawks' movie hits on all cylinders - from screenplay to casting/acting to visual concepts to music. It's just great. It's Hawks' attention to the "little details" that give the viewer a seat on that boat back in frontier times. I grew up watching this is black and white, but the colorized version is also great. I understand that the sound on the original prints has deteriorated - it's a crime if it's not transfered to digital soon.
A WESTERN FAN IN THE MAKING
Im not a fan of western movies but I loved this one. I saw this movie last year and it was my first western that Ive ever wached. Even though its a true western I liked it because it had comedy, drama, and a little romance. I only know of four westerns that I really liked, but as time goes on I find myself being more drawn to them. This is a great movie and it would be wonderful to see it on DVD.
The Vision of A Visionary Time
One of the most basic but outstanding movies that depict the life and times of the early trapper era. As 'Jermiah Johnson' and the 'Mountian Men' depict the life and times of the Mountian Men, 'The Big Sky' shows without elaborate voyages from truth the life and times of the Misouri River fur traders and all that they had to endure and go through. I have for years seached for this movie to add to my collection. When will it be release on DVD. SOON PLEASE.
When will this film be available on DVD?
This is one of my favorie films of all time. Arthur Hunnicutt is my favorite character actor of the period. When I watch this film I almost feel like I'm making my way up the Missouri on a keelboat with the crew. I also love the soundtrack to this film. I wish this film would finally be released on DVD. What's the holdup?
A MAJOR HOWARD HAWKS FILM
- OLIVIER EYQUEM
BIG SKY IS HOWARD HAWKS' MOST LYRICAL FILM (IN FACT IT'S ONE OF THE VERY FEW HAWKS FILMS THAT DESERVE THE ADJECTIVE). A TRUE MASTERPIECE, THIS SPLENDID WESTERN WAS HEAVILY CUT (FROM 140 MN TO 120), AND THE LONGER VERSION IS UNFORTUNATELY ONLY AVAILABLE ON A MEDIOCRE FRENCH DVD EDITION MADE FROM FROM A 16 MM PRINT. SOMETHING SHOULD BE DONE !!
I LOVED THIS MOVIE
I'VE WATCHED THIS MOVIE AND WOULD LOVE TO WATCH IT AT LEAST 30 MORE TIMES
the big sky.
- Gilbert Grayson
I have a tape copy of the movie and would like to get a dvd of the movie. It probably one of the best westerns made. the story line is great and the actors make the movie very believable.
- Kenneth Waring
I've watched this movie a number of times and never get tired of seeing it again and again. I would love to be able to purchase a release in DVD.
The Big Sky
- bruce brown
want to see this movie again when is it going to be back on and when can we get a copy of the movie to buy?????
The Big Sky...Great
Great real movie...like the nice jabs at each of the actors....they talk normal not rehearsed...get this movie and I'll buy one....thanks for showing it
I love this move it's a classics