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Plot: A highly fictionalized account of the life of George Armstrong Custer from his arrival at West Point in 1857 to his death at the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. He has little discipline at the academy but is prepared to stand up to the senior cadet, Ned Sharp, who makes his life miserable. Runtime: 140 min Release Date: 01 Jan 1941
should had been photographed in color (by 2thomjef)
great historical movie, will not allow a viewer to leave once you begin to watch. View is presented differently than displayed by most school books on this subject. My only fault for this movie is it was photographed in black and white; wished it had been in color ... wow !
what a film!! (by The_guard_of_Magog)
I saw this film over Christmas, and what a great film it was! It tells the story of Custer played by Errol Flynn during and after his graduation from Westpoint. Although I've heard that the film isn't very historically accurate Hollywood never is I still enjoyed it as I knew little of the real events anyway.I thought Errol Flynn was brilliant as Custer and has since become my favourite actor! His acting alongside Olivia De Havilland was brilliant and the ending was fantastic! It brought me close to tears as he and Ned Sharp Arthur Kennedy rode to their deaths on little big <more>
horn.I had always known that Errol Flynn was a brilliant actor as he was my dads favourite actor, and I grew up watching his films as a child. But it wasn't until I watched this film that I realised how great he actually was.I'll give this film 10 out of 10!!
Now this is more like it!One of the best movies I have ever seen!Despite it made very well on all aspects,this movie was put down solely for not being too historically accurate.Loosen up!There are tons of historical movies out there that were forgiven for not being too historically accurate and many of them do not even come close to how grand,how entertaining and how captivating this movie was!Now this is what a movie ticket is all about!You will get exacty what you want from this movie's genre and all naysayers are those with the anti-Flynn syndrome.This conservative rooted syndrome is <more>
very closely related to the anti-Elvis,anti-Ali,anti-Clinton,anti-Kennedy syndromes,usually caused by fear of charming individuals who have unconventional beliefs.If the viewer of this movie is open minded and has the ability to separate politics from art,you will find this movie not only one of the best classics,but also one of the best movies of all time.I rate it the second best western ever, right behind Wayne's The Cowboys........
George Armstrong Custer's Last Stand (by TheLittleSongbird)
Don't go watching 'They Died With Their Boots On' expecting historical inaccuracy, history is cast to the wind and will make historians' heads ache taking note of them. While very much fictionalised on the most part, and Custer is written in an idealised way, 'They Died With Their Boots On' succeeds with flying colours as a film on its own merits.More development on Arthur Kennedy's villain, written in somewhat of a one-note way, wouldn't have gone amiss and occasionally the wittier/more humorous parts are slightly out of place. However, 'They Died With <more>
Their Boots On' is impeccably made, with cinematography that's beautiful on the eyes and stirring in atmosphere and the production and costumes are handsome in design. Max Steiner's music score is rich in lushness, rousing, full of pathos and really stirs the emotions, very distinctive Steiner.Raoul Walsh, in his first collaboration with leading actor Errol Flynn, does a great job directing, while much of the script is intelligently done with humour, emotion, romance and thought adeptly balanced. The story, regardless of its inaccuracies though one should note that 'They Died With Their Boots On' is hardly the one inaccurate film out there and many other films distort facts even more so and more blatantly and don't even have the distinction of being good films to compensate having even more problems than just inaccuracy , is exciting and moving, especially in a magnificently staged ending.The battle scenes rouse and affect, and the romance is charming and poignant. Errol Flynn sheds his swashbuckling image in a more mature characterisation and gives one of his better performances in one of his best films along with 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' and 'The Sea Hawk', hold 'Captain Blood' in high regard too in a commanding, gallant and dramatically engaged performance. Olivia DeHavilland, a frequent leading lady in her last of her eight collaborations, is radiant and poignant.Of the supporting cast, a sympathetic and noble Anthony Quinn, a slimy Arthur Kennedy and authoritative Sidney Greenstreet are the standouts.In summary, despite the inaccuracies 'They Died With Their Boots On' is in many ways a great film. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Much romanticized adaptation of the unorthodox army career of Custer, showcasing Flynn, with Olivia as his wife. (by weezeralfalfa)
The last of several B&W cavalry films starring Flynn, and the only one not directed by Michael Curtiz, whom Flynn hated. Also, the first and most remembered Flynn-starring film directed by the equally famous Raoul Walsh, who would direct or codirect nearly all of Flynn's WWII-related films and several of his remaining westerns during the '40s. Also, the last of 8 pairings of Flynn with Olivia De Havilland as the leading lady wife Libby . Olivia has a greater presence in this film than in most, despite the emphasis upon Custer's military events. In a cleverly comedic incident, <more>
she has good reason to initially view Flynn's character very negatively, but quickly changes her attitude when offered a reasonable explanation. The initial animosity between Libby's father and Custer is faithfully dramatized in a series of often humorous scenes during their courtship, sometimes including their maid, charismatically played by Hattie McDaniel.Flynn, of course, was perfect for the role of the brash, loose cannon, side of Custer, as well as his more serious side. The early part of the film, dealing with Custer's less than stellar record at West Point, memorably burlesques Custer's penchant for fancy dress and irreverence toward authority and tradition: modeling himself on Napoleon's flamboyant cavalry leader Joachim Murat. Rather reminds us of Flynn's portrayal of Robin Hood, complete with occasionally being the victim, rather than the perpetrator, of pranks, in a very memorable incident. The W.P. brass comment that they can't remember a cadet as unpromising in academics and discipline since Ulysses Grant: a pregnant point of irony.In view of his ignominious record at West Point, the film dramatizes the difficulties and luck involved in getting his desired appointment as a cavalry officer in the Civil War. It then dramatizes his brash disobedience of orders and reckless charges in several situations, that luckily led to positive results that overrode court marshaling considerations. His several charges at or near Gettysburg are reminiscent of that in the previous "The Charge of the Light Brigade". Custer's courtship of Libby provides an often humorous interlude during this segment.Since NAs, who were Custer's later foes in battle, couldn't be faulted for defending their sacred homeland and way of life, the script needed a fictional white villain as Custer's periodic foe, rather similar to Van Helflin's character in the previous "Santa Fe Trail". This appears in the form of the Sharp father and especially son, who are overcharging frontier army personnel for supplies and refreshments, selling firearms to the NAs, and later spread a 'false' rumor of a gold discovery in the sacred Black Hills, to encourage flocks of gold seekers they can sell supplies to at inflated prices. The younger Sharp eventually suffers poetic justice when he is kidnapped by Custer, and essentially forced to take part in 'Custer's Last Stand': bizarre fiction! Historically, Custer was instrumental in blowing open this scandal, presented at the end of the film as a fitting posthumous victory for Custer. As dramatized, during this period, Grant looked upon Custer as a thorn in his side, not only for implicating his brother-in-law in this scandal, but for criticizing his overall 'Indian' policy. However, I find it nauseating that Custer is painted as having pro-NA sympathies. His copied, if controversial, innovation of using NA women and children as shields in the Battle massacre? of Washita River is skipped. Also unforgivable is his bizarre claim that the report of a gold discovery in the Black Hills is a false rumor. Historically, it was a scouting expedition lead by Custer that confirmed rumors of some gold in the Black Hills! The US government lacked the muscle or desire to keep prospectors out of this treatied 'Indian' lands, hence decided that the only solution was to make the NAs move to a far off reservation. Also, Custer is falsely presented as assuming that his command would be wiped out by an overwhelming NA force at the Little Big Horn, thus making them a sacrificial lamb to the greedy traders and gold seekers. Prior to this incident, Custer was unduly lucky in surviving all of his cavalry charges and other battles.In addition to Flynn and Olivia, we have several very recognizable character actors in support. Tony Quinn, as chief Crazy Horse, was still treated as a supporting actor at this time. His speeches are typical Hollywood 'Indian -pidgin'. Of course, Crazy Horse never had a parley with Custer, as dramatized, and didn't personally kill Custer...Always charismatic 'old codger' Charlie Grapewin adds some needed humor to the second half, as a crazed old loner pioneer. His appearances in "The Good Earth", "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Tobacco Road" also stand out in my mind... The very familiar Gene Lockhart plays Olivia's father. ..Noted cavalry leader Phil Sheridan, who was periodically important in Custer's career, pops up periodically. But, he certainly wasn't the West Point commander! Old General Winfield Scott also is presented as an important, if often unsure, promoter of Custer's career.In all, a captivating , historically relevant, Flynn vehicle, with historical accuracy a distant second consideration to making his character appear to die for heroic reasons rather than brash overconfident stupidity.
A Monument to Custer and Crazy Horse (by walchonvonsentze)
It's true that "They Died With Their Boots On" gives a highly fictionalized account of George Armstrong Custer's Errol Flynn life and career, but a remarkable one, especially with regard to the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Because it is not a given that a 1941 movie tries to portray both the US-American cavalryman and Native American leader Chief Crazy Horse Anthony Quinn in a favorable light. I'm almost tempted to say that "Little Big Man" in its unqualified anti-Custer stance seems unbalanced by comparison. Further, one should not be mislead by the <more>
title of the picture this isn't just a movie about the Battle of the Little Big Horn, it's a movie about that shows the unreliable West Point cadet, the famed Civil War hero, the Indian fighter, and, last but not least, the husband.The movie begins with Custer's time at the West Point military academy, where his recalcitrance and insubordinate behavior lead to frequent demerits. During a punitive military exercise, he meets his future wife, Elizabeth Bacon Olivia de Havilland , who, like Custer himself, is a native of Monroe, Michigan. Custer intends to court her, but the outbreak of the Civil War calls him away. Custer's legendary bravery is shown in a sequence of battle scenes, the greatest of which is devoted to his engagement with legendary Southern cavalry general Jeb Stuart during the Battle of Gettysburg. While on leave, he travels to Monroe and courts Elizabeth, who promises him her hand in matrimony. Immediately after the war, Custer and Elizabeth Bacon are married.With the Civil War over, Custer is demoted, doesn't get a real command, and has to go through the painstakingly slow process of promotion in the small, professional American army. As he starts to drink, his wife intervenes in his behalf with former general-in-chief Winfield Scott. Custer is given the command of the US 7th Cavalry, which he trains to be an elite unit. Neither Custer nor Crazy Horse are desirous of battle, but greedy businessmen and corrupt politicians decide to build a railroad through Indian lands in clear violation to earlier treaties. Custer explicitly acknowledges the justice of Crazy Horse's cause, but rides into battle to do his duty as a soldier, exposing the conspiracy of the moneyed interests in a letter he writes on the eve of battle."They Died With Their Boots On," though short on historical accuracy, is as good as war movies and Westerns in the 1940s got: Both Custer and Crazy Horse are played by major actors, neither the Indians nor the Southern Confederacy are denigrated, and the courtship scenes with beautiful Livvy de Havilland are just charming. The only minus, and that's why I can't give this picture a full 10, is the undercurrent of racism in the portrayal of African American servants; Elizabeth's servant Callie is the stereotypical, overweight, good-natured, superstitious black mammy.It is also interesting that the movie does not find fault with either Custer or Crazy Horse, but with the greed of the railroad companies pressuring Washington politicians with semi-criminal methods into breaking assurances they had given to the Native Americans. Just a couple of years later, the insinuation that American entrepreneurs could even think of doing anything remotely questionable would probably have been taken as a hint that the film makers were communist sympathizers.Needless to say that "They Died With Their Boots On" omits the fact that Custer's overly aggressive tactics often bordered on the foolhardy, greatly overstates the importance of his engagement with Stuart, and doesn't mention the lack of reconnaissance prior to the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Nevertheless, Custer was seen as a war hero by his contemporaries and had some spectacular exploits to point to in the Battles of Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Trevilian Station and others, though his feats of arms were not as decisive for the Civil War as "They Died With Their Boots On" suggests.In any event, "They Died With Their Boots On" is a well-made war movie with Western elements, three outstanding performers Flynn, Quinn, and de Havilland , and offers a positive view of Native Americans as well as a negative one on big money, which wouldn't be seen in major Hollywood productions for decades to come. It would deserve a 10 if it weren't for the racist minstrelization of African Americans.
All in all, an excellent movie from that time and source coming from Warner Brothers as it was peaking in craftsmanship and style just before WWII , provided you don't take it at all seriously. The movie really makes no claim to being historically accurate, and is certainly no more or less accurate or believable than say, JFK. This one may actually be more honest about it, though, as it essentially admits along the way that it's not to be taken as particularly fact-based, but more of a stylishly semi-heroic portrayal. It's worth noting that audiences of the time were no more <more>
naive about the story than we are today; the NY Times review conceded that audiences would "dismiss factual inaccuracies sprinkled throughout the film," described the biographical account of Custer's life as "fanciful," and pointed out that the presentation of Custer's motivations regarding the final events were at odds with various historical accounts. They could have really gone overboard in building up Custer, one supposes, but they succeed admirably in depicting him as not necessarily the sharpest or most diligent guy around, but appropriately determined, principled and inspirational.Flynn and DeHavilland, doing their 8th movie together in 7 years and their last , are so comfortable together, and play off each other so easily at this point, that it's not too difficult to overlook how thinly their courtship is written here. With a first-time pairing, it would be hard to imagine what could really draw Elizabeth to Custer, but these two make it work. The movie is also missing their director from their previous seven films together the greatly underrated Michael Curtiz , but given that he had worked with them on the previous year's similar-themed Santa Fe Trail, it's understandable if he chose to opt out of this one. They all started together with Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade - both terrific - so we can't really blame them if they started having a tough time keeping it all fresh. Raoul Walsh, the director here, is certainly more comfortable with the action sequences - which are outstanding - and everything else outdoors. The interior scenes are a little more uneven, but the studio craftsmen succeed in compensating for that very well, as does Warner Bros' outstanding cast of "usual suspects" and new faces Greenstreet, Gene Lockhart, Anthony Quinn, Arthur Kennedy, etc . I would have liked it better if Kennedy's character had been a bit less standard I generally like his work , but here he seems to be hitting roughly the same notes in every scene; the part could have been better written - and I suppose they might have been unsure of what he could handle, as he'd only been in films for one year Walsh probably took him for this after doing High Sierra together .Various highlights include the depiction probably imagined of the genesis of "Garryowen" as the cavalry theme. The last half hour is particularly outstanding, especially with the parting of the leads echoing the end of their screen partnership, followed by the final battle scenes. A thoroughly rousing adventure.8 of 10
Errol Flynn was born to play General Custer. (by tmwest)
Although this film changes reality to make it more heroic and entertaining, sometimes fantasy is more enjoyable than real life, and also nothing could be more real than Errol Flynn playing Custer. This remains the best film made about Custer. The music of Max Steiner is magnificent and also all through the film the Irish song "Gerry Owen", which was a favourite of Custer is played. The film should have more villains, because they try to concentrate all the bad guys in Arthur Kennedy. The relationship between Flynn and De Havilland flows like in no other off their films together, and <more>
director Raoul Walsh with his experience in outside scenes with a lot of actors is at his best.
Rousingly spirited but highly inaccurate account of the legendary Custer (by bux)
The Custer Legend, a la Warner Brothers Epic. There's no casting against type here, with the flamboyant Flynn as the flamboyant Custer in this rousing tribute, not only to Custer, but to the men of the 7th Cavalry. The story traces the life of the famed 'Boy General" from his turbulent days at West Point to his final fight at the Little Big Horn. Great liberties are taken with facts here, and we are presented with a Custer that is much more sympathetic to the plight of the redman than history relates. But this one is done on such a grand scale, the battle scenes alone provided <more>
employment for every extra in Hollywood. Down beat ending and all, this is great fun!