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The Red Badge of Courage (1951)


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Release Date: Mar 16, 1951 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 2,293

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Movie Info

The backstory of The Red Badge of Courage involves the toppling of MGM's old Louis B. Mayer regime in favor of Dore Schary and his young Turks. It is also the tale of how an intended epic was ruthlessly whittled down to a lower-berth programmer. Since this story has already been related in detail in Lillian Ross' Picture (not to mention several John Huston biographies), the focus here will be what shows up on screen in Red Badge of Courage. Based on the novel by Stephen Crane, the film stars


Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics

Stephen Crane, John Huston

Feb 4, 2003


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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (1) | DVD (5)

The fall and redemption of the protagonist, while clearly predictable, is still intelligently and effectively executed

October 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemania

What's truly amazing is how good the film is despite MGM slicing it up in the re-editing process.

July 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Almost seems like a documentary in look, action, acting. A Huston gem.

October 30, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Through Henry, The Red Badge of Courage allows us to face the chaos and confusion, the terror and futility, of both large-scale, national strife and inner, personal turmoil.

March 2, 2003
Movie Metropolis

Despite the studio's editing hatchet job, this remains a powerful tale of redemption

June 27, 2002 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Red Badge of Courage

In spite of the studio's blasphemous 'recut' of John Huston's work, The Red Badge of Courage successfully illuminates the fragile psyche of the foot soldier in harm's way. Audie Murphy, given his own combat experience, seems perfectly cast as the civil war private battling fear and self-doubt while serving in a union regiment. Like the source material from which it sprang, this film is a study in humanity and man's astonishing ability to persevere.
September 14, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

For 1951 it was a pretty great movie. It had a great behind it, and got it acrossed well. I felt it ended a little suddenly, and to me it seemed like there seemed to be something missing, though im not sure what, but overall, it was a film , for any civil war buff, too see.
November 4, 2007

Super Reviewer

Heavily scissored by the studio, it's distressing to think how good Huston's Civil War flick could have been. It has some truly gorgeous visuals, in particular the close-ups of the young soldiers facing their first taste of warfare and the shot of the sunlight breaking through in shafts through the trees. The decision to keep the novel's anonymous characters (the film is adapted from a Stephen Crane novel), pays off, adding to the sense of alienation in combat (they are referred to in adjective titles, ie: 'The Tattered Man', 'The Tall Soldier'). Murphy also convinces as a young lad staring death in the face, and his eventual defiance in not letting the flags touch the ground makes for some striking cinematography, irregardless of your stance on war. Sadly, this would-be great was truncated down to just over an hour's worth of footage, making it a frustrating experience. In doing so, the audience feels a little short-changed by Murphy getting over his demons in about fifty minutes, the same effect as watching the regular cut of Apocalypse Now after one has grown accustomed to the full nightmare of Redux. What could have been....
October 25, 2006

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"The Red Badge of Courage" takes place during the American Civil War in 1862. A regiment of Union soldiers has been busy not engaging in combat with the enemy but in constant drilling. Then one day, news reaches them of orders to go into combat. As the soldiers converse amongst themselves, a young soldier, Henry(Audie Murphy), worries about the upcoming battle...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Red Badge of Courage" is an excellent examination of bravery and cowardice under fire, filmed in a very naturalistic style.(It is based on the 1895 novel by Stephen Crane which I read over ten years ago but cannot recall any details from.) The emphasis here is on the soldiers of both sides without any thought given to ideology. This is especially surprising considering the film was made in 1951 during the Korean War and the height of the Red Scare. [/font]
January 15, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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  • Red Badge of Courage (DE)
  • Red Badge of Courage (UK)
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