The Horse Soldiers (1959)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


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Movie Info

John Ford's Civil War-era docudrama stars John Wayne as John Marlowe, a Union colonel spearheading a group of saboteurs on a mission to destroy a Confederate railroad.

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William Holden
as Major Henry Kendall
John Wayne
as Col. John Marlowe
Constance Towers
as Miss Hannah Hunter of Greenbriar
Anna Lee
as Mrs. Buford
Stan Jones
as Gen. U.S. Grant
Carleton Young
as Col. Jonathan Miles
Basil Ruysdael
as Boys School Commandant
Ken Curtis
as Wilkie
O.Z. Whitehead
as Hoppy Hopkins
Judson Pratt
as Sgt. Maj. Kirby
Denver Pyle
as Jagger Jo
Walter Reed
as Union officer
Jack Pennick
as Sgt. Maj. Mitchell
Fred Graham
as Union Scout
Chuck Hayward
as Capt. Woodward
Charles Steel
as Newton Station Bartender
Stuart Holmes
as Train Passenger
Sam Harris
as Confederate Major
Richard Cutting
as Gen. Sherman
Charles Seel
as Newton Station commander
William Forrest
as Gen. Steve Hurburt
Fred Kennedy
as Cavalryman
William Henry
as Confederate Lieutenant
Richard H. Cutting
as Gen. Sherman
William Leslie
as Major Richard Gray
Donald Foster
as Dr. Marvin
Cliff Lyons
as Sergeant
Jan Stine
as Dying Man
Dan Borzage
as Old Soldier in Line (uncredited)
Willis Bouchey
as Col. Phil Secord
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Critic Reviews for The Horse Soldiers

All Critics (9)

Ford makes no explicitly anti-war points, yet his battle scenes-particularly the futile, heroic charges-don't come across as exciting, simply as absurd, wasteful, pathetic, and in all senses, bloody.

Jul 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Lively Western full of events and imagery.

Apr 1, 2013 | Full Review…

Though flawed, John Ford's The Horse Soldiers has a fair amount going for it: the well-oiled partnership of Ford and star John Wayne (and an assist from William Holden); Ford's vivid visual style; and large-scale action. [Blu-ray]

Jul 19, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

It's a lesser Ford, rife with his backwards attempts at humor, but even a lesser Ford is still a film by one of the cinema's greatest poets. It's still very much worth a viewing.

May 21, 2007 | Full Review…

Though not one of John Ford-John Wayne's best collaborations, this Civil War Western has some merits, primarily visual, but also thematic in positing the military (Wayne) verus the medical profession (William Holden) in terms of civic and personal duty

May 6, 2007 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Fine Wayne and Ford western with equally strong Holden.

Apr 30, 2007 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for The Horse Soldiers

Not one of the essential Ford/Wayne westerns but nevertheless a strong film. Wayne and Holden are great and Ford's vivid visual style is striking.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


Another fantastic Wayne/Ford classic. The Searchers seems to have a lot in common with this film as far as themes and actors, so it tends to remind me of it a lot at times.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer


This John Ford's frontier actioner packed with laughter, romance and thrills. Based on a true incident during the Civil War, this is a minor, but enjoyable. John Wayne and William Holden play well-matched adversaries.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

The John Ford/John Wayne partnership is probably the most reliable in the history of the western, although it can seem a little difficult to tell some of them apart. Stoic union colonel Wayne is joined by humanitarian doctor William Holden and a captive southern belle for a typically solid and entertaining civil war adventure. Quality stuff, but it won't win over non-western fans.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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