Charge of the Light Brigade


Charge of the Light Brigade

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Total Count: 7


Audience Score

User Ratings: 764
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Movie Info

Of the many film versions of Alfred Lord Tennyson's narrative poem, 1936's Charge of the Light Brigade has the least relationship to the facts concerning the famous 19th century British military blunder in the Crimea. Reflecting the popularity of 1935's Lives of A Bengal Lancer, the film uses the climactic charge as the culmination of events which begin in British India. Errol Flynn and Patric Knowles are cast as cavalry officers who are also brothers; both love Olivia De Havilland, but it is Knowles who wins out (this should tip us off that the rest of the film is pure fantasy). Indian potentate C. Henry Gordon, angered that the British government has cut off his subsidy, stages a revolt against the English settlements. Ordered on maneuvers, Flynn is unable to bring rescue troops to the besieged fort commanded by De Havilland's father. Gordon supervises the slaughter of every man, woman and child at the fort, then leaves India in the company of his Russian advisors. Flynn and his fellow Light Brigade lancers are then transferred to the Crimea--where, as luck would have it, Gordon is now ensconced with the Russians. Thirsting for revenge, Flynn falsifies an official order so that he and the Light Brigade can battle Gordon and his allies at Balaclava (thus are Britons Lord Cardigan and Lord Ragan, the actual instigators of the doomed charge, exonerated). As passages from the Tennyson poem are superimposed on the action, Flynn leads a suicidal charge against the Russians; he manages to kill the treacherous Gordon before being slain himself. Its dozens of historical inaccuracies aside, The Charge of the Light Brigade is rousing entertainment. Animal lovers be warned, however: several horses were killed during the climactic charge, a fact that compelled Hollywood (under the auspices of the ASPCA) to install safer and more stringent standards concerning the treatment of animals. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Errol Flynn
as Major Geoffrey Vickers
Olivia de Havilland
as Elsa Campbell
Henry Stephenson
as Sir Charles Macefield
Patric Knowles
as Capt. Perry Vickers
Donald Crisp
as Col. Campbell
Nigel Bruce
as Sir Benjamin Warrenton
David Niven
as Capt. James Randall
G.P. Huntley Jr.
as Maj. Jowett
Spring Byington
as Lady Octavia Warrenton
C. Henry Gordon
as Surat Khan
E.E. Clive
as Sir Humphrey Harcourt
Lumsden Hare
as Col. Woodward
Robert H. Barrat
as Count Igor Volonoff
Walter Holbrook
as Cornet Barclay
Charles Sedgwick
as Cornet Pearson
J. Carroll Naish
as Subahdar Major Puran Singh
Scotty Beckett
as Prema Singh
Princess Baigum
as Prema's Mother
Colin Kenny
as Maj. Anderson
Helen Sanborn
as Mrs. Jowett
George David
as Suristani
Herbert Evans
as Major Domo
Carlos San Martin
as Court Interpreter
Phyllis Coghlan
as Woman at Ball
Jon Kristen
as Panjari
Carlyle Moore Jr.
as Junior Officer
Charles Croker King
as Lord Cardigan
Brandon Hurst
as Lord Raglan
Georges Renavent
as Gen. Canrobert
Crauford Kent
as Capt. Brown
Boyd Irwin
as Gen. Dunbar
Gordon Hart
as Col. Coventry
Holmes Herbert
as Gen. O'Neill
Ram Singh
as Orderly
Jimmy Aubrey
as Orderly
Harry Semels
as Sepoy chief
Michael Visaroff
as Russian General
G.P. Huntley
as Maj. Jowett
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Critic Reviews for Charge of the Light Brigade

All Critics (7) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Charge of the Light Brigade

  • Mar 24, 2018
    there's little fact here in this, a golden age of Hollywood historical retelling of an actual military blunder made famous by a bit of flag waving poetry, but what matter? Flynn and de Havilland reteam with Michael curtiz, my fav golden age director, to mumble some more about "England! homeland! forever!" whilst brushing off the dust of dealing with some dirty and ungrateful third world types. it all leads invariably, to the charge at the end, which should serve as a lesson about trusting the military but instead plays like a parade into Valhalla.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 20, 2010
    First of all, movies like these are super boring, and this one is no exception. Of course there is a good cast, but I wasn't impressed by any of their performances enough to like the movie. The only good thing is that I learned about a war I'd never heard of before.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2010
    A good entry for Errol and Olivia even if they are not paired romantically. Dodge City is still their best but this has well done action scenes and a fine supporting cast with Spring Byington making something enjoyable out of a nothing part.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2009
    One of Errol's early films in a time when shooting wild cats or even pretending to was seen as fine and displayed with glee. I was surprised how much of the film is quite dark to be honest, the massacre at Chukoti (made up) is not bloody of course but its pretty graphic as is the final charge where horses are clearly throw all over the place (200 actual horses were killed during filming). The stunt men must have earned their pay, yikes!! Yes an earlier time for sure, animal rights stepped in to halt filming with the horrendous horse massacre on location but the fact they still got away with it and were able to even start shows a different attitude which does cast a nasty spell over this film. The final charge sequence is very good for a film of the this time but its clear where horses have died for the screen, impressive stunts and action but is it worth it?? As for the film its pretty dull throughout, much loving between Havilland and Knowles, much war talk with Flynn and plenty of the 'stiff upper lip old boy'. The usual contracted players as mentioned, they all go well together and shows why Warner stuck them together for many more pictures. Despite the fictional sub plots and characters this does play well if you can take all the talking, as with modern films you are waiting for the final big push and charge. This is where it gets more exciting and our swashbuckling hero Errol begins to shine...but not for long. Looks good, great garrison sets (actually built for real) amid the scorching heat, costumes are superb as expected and acting is solid from all the cast with solid direction from Warner stalwart Curtiz, its just a bit boring to be honest.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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