Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West

  • 2002
  • Movie
  • G
  • Docudrama

Director Bruce Neibaur's dramatic recreation of the epochal Lewis and Clark expedition — an undertaking that was in its day (1803-1806) equivalent in difficulty and danger to a trip to the moon — represents a truly spectacular use of the IMAX format. All history lessons should be as enthralling. Filmed mostly on the actual locations, the film chronicles...read more

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Reviewed by Steve Simels
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Director Bruce Neibaur's dramatic recreation of the epochal Lewis and Clark expedition — an undertaking that was in its day (1803-1806) equivalent in difficulty and danger to a trip to the moon — represents a truly spectacular use of the IMAX format. All history lessons should be as enthralling. Filmed mostly on the actual locations, the film chronicles the expedition's 8000-mile journey from the mouth of the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean and back, across a wilderness that only Native Americans had ever seen. Along the way, they identified and catalogued hundreds of plant and animal species and basically changed the course of America's history. Screenwriter Mose Richards's script is an artful mix of historical narration (nicely voiced by Jeff Bridges) and quotes from the copious journals kept by expedition members. It's remarkable how much detail is crammed into the film's 45-minute running time, and though it dances around some troublesome historical issues — Clark, for example, was accompanied by a slave who wasn't freed until ten years after the expedition — at least they're brought up, if only in passing. As you might expect, the film is visually stunning; about half of the footage is aerial, and depicts jaw-droppingly beautiful vistas of virgin forests, rivers and plains. And there are some amazing set pieces, including a stunning sequence of an apparently endless heard of stampeding buffalo whose hooves sound like an earthquake, and an attack by what may be the most terrifying grizzly bear in screen history. Another plus is the highly evocative orchestral score by Sam Cardon, which juggles Celtic and Native American elements with aplomb. All in all, a really tremendous piece of filmmaking and a stunning visual and aural treat; the only puzzle is why, with the exception of the native Americans, all the actors somehow look Liam Neeson.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: G
  • Review: Director Bruce Neibaur's dramatic recreation of the epochal Lewis and Clark expedition — an undertaking that was in its day (1803-1806) equivalent in difficulty and danger to a trip to the moon — represents a truly spectacular use of the IMAX for… (more)

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