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.
Classics , Drama , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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

All Critics (8)

Lively Western full of events and imagery.

Full Review… | March 31, 2013
Classic Film and Television

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]

Full Review… | July 19, 2011
Groucho Reviews

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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2007
Combustible Celluloid

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

Full Review… | May 6, 2007

Fine Wayne and Ford western with equally strong Holden.

April 30, 2007

Quote not available.

May 8, 2005
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

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

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