THE BIG COUNTRY (USA, 1958, 165 min.)

Considered one of the best Westerns ever made, this classic film spotlights rival ranchers fighting over water rights to a river located between their two ranches. Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives) is head of a rough-hewn clan at war with Major Henry Terrill (Charles Bickford), the other rancher. Julie Maragon (Jean Simmons) owns the river in question and allows access to cattle belonging to both ranchers, who hate each other and demand exclusivity. Into this scene, retired, wealthy sea captain James McKay (Gregory Peck) arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry his fiancée Pat Terrill (Carroll Baker). McKay is a man whose values and approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers and ranch foreman Steve Leech (Charlton Heston) takes an immediate dislike to him, especially since he wants Pat for himself. There is obvious chemistry between McKay and Maragon and the finale features a rousing and bloody confrontation between Terrill and Hannassey. The Big Country, screened in 35mm, features outstanding cinematography, editing and musical scoring and an all-star cast. Directed by William Wyler and produced by Anthony Productions. Academy Award, Best Supporting Actor, Burl Ives.

Introduced by Catherine Wyler, Artistic Director, Rochester/High Falls International Film Festival and daughter of director William Wyler.

Ticket/Reservation Info:

Tickets may be purchased online at or at the AFI Silver Box Office. AFI members, seniors (65+), students (with valid I.D.), children and military,$8.50; Gen. Admission, $9.75.

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md.(METRO: Silver Spring)

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