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They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 1 January 1942 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Wally Kline (original screenplay), Æneas MacKenzie (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Errol Flynn ... George Armstrong Custer
Olivia de Havilland ... Elizabeth Bacon
Arthur Kennedy ... Ned Sharp
Charley Grapewin ... California Joe
Gene Lockhart ... Samuel Bacon, Esq.
Anthony Quinn ... Crazy Horse
Stanley Ridges ... Major Romulus Taipe
John Litel ... General Phil Sheridan
Walter Hampden ... William Sharp
Sydney Greenstreet ... Lt. General Winfield Scott
Regis Toomey ... Fitzhugh Lee
Hattie McDaniel ... Callie
G.P. Huntley G.P. Huntley ... Lt. 'Queen's Own' Butler (as George P. Huntley Jr.)
Frank Wilcox ... Captain Webb
Joe Sawyer ... Sergeant Doolittle (as Joseph Sawyer)
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Storyline

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. While there he catches the eye of the commandant, Col. (later General) Phil Sheridan and also meets his future bride, Elizabeth Bacon. Graduating early due to the Civil War, it is only through a chance meeting with General Winfield Scott that he finally gets assigned to a cavalry regiment. He served with distinction during the war and when he is promoted to Brigadier General in error, he leads his troops in a decisive victory. He has little to do after the war turning down lucrative positions in private industry and it's his wife who arranges with Gen. Scott for him to be appointed a Lt. Colonel and given command of the 7th Cavalry. He is depicted as a friend of the Indians who will fight for... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A STORY OF UNDYING FAITH! (original ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To the Last Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elizabeth "Libby" Bacon Custer lived until 1933, only eight years before this movie came out. See more »

Goofs

The movie shows Custer and the 7th charging with their sabers, hard to do as they did not bring them along on this campaign. See more »

Quotes

George Armstrong Custer: Walking through life with you, ma'am, has been a very gracious thing.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: The Red/White Blues (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Garryowen
(uncredited)
Traditional military song
Played during the opening and closing credits and as background music aften
Sung in the Monroe bar by Frank Orth, Ray Teal, Frank Mills and G.P. Huntley
Reprised on piano by G.P. Huntley, with the soldiers singing in Ft. Lincoln
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Errol Flynn's best film
4 April 2003 | by NewEnglandPatSee all my reviews

Dashing Errol Flynn brings his usual flair for drama in this historically flawed but entertaining film of the life of George Armstrong Custer. The dashing, jovial Flynn essays Custer from his days at West Point as a reckless, headstrong cadet, through the Civil War years in an extraordinarily generous and partisan interpretation of history, and finally as the nonpareil Indian fighter whose blunder at the Little Big Horn is excused as a sacrifice by Custer of his command as a way of exposing the corruption of government officials and post traders as well as a protest of the unfair treatment of the Plains Indians. Olivia de Havilland, Flynn's co-star in several other films, scores as the devoted, adoring Libby Bacon, and Anthony Quinn looks the part as the fierce Sioux chief Crazy Horse. The film's battle scenes are excellent. The Civil War battles are brief and are shown as several vignettes in which Custer, seemingly supported by just a handful of troopers, hammers the Confederate army into submission. Custer's last fight against the Indians is a grand spectacle, a savage clash between red men and white, with no quarter given in a wild mix of military might between determined fighting men. Great direction, cinematography, casting and wonderful music by Max Steiner make this film a Hollywood classic.


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