7.3/10
4,668
102 user 26 critic

They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 1 January 1942 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

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(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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California Joe
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Samuel Bacon, Esq.
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Major Romulus Taipe
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William Sharp
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Fitzhugh Lee
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Callie
G.P. Huntley ...
Lt. 'Queen's Own' Butler (as George P. Huntley Jr.)
...
Captain Webb
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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:

Scene After Scene Of The Most Exciting Adventure Ever Screened! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 January 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To the Last Man  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Untrained rider George Murphy was killed when he fell from his horse while drunk. See more »

Goofs

Custer is shown kissing Elizabeth while wearing a Civil War Campaign Medal, first issued on 26 May 1909, with a distinctive two color ribbon (blue and gray, not that it's obvious in a black and white film) first issued 12 August 1913. See more »

Quotes

[California Joe is struck by an arrow at the battle of Little Bighorn and dying]
California Joe: Ya dirty yella-bellied!... awhh, it looks like I'll never git ta...
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Connections

Referenced in Frasier: Come Lie with Me (1996) 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
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User Reviews

Hollywood history a real 'hoot' of a film
23 June 2003 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

This film covers George Armstrong's life ('Auty' to his family and friends) from his induction to West Point to ..... well ...... when he gets the chop.

It is a well researched film where the film makers chose to ignore almost all of the facts .... while referring to them at a 'safe distance' (but nonetheless it manages to include a lot that is 'reasonably' factual), and is played with much humour by the late great Australian actor, Errol Flynn.... until the last scenes, of course.

Its many faults accepted, the scope of the film far exceeds any other depiction of Custer yet made, including some of his Civil War exploits and in part explains why his defeat had the impact on US society at the time, as it did, and has been and still is, the subject of fascination by so many for so long. (But the film sells him short here, glossing over his many remarkable civil war exploits, including the fact that it was Custer's Michigan Cavalry Division which defeated the legendary Confederate General J. E. B. ('Jeb') Stewart, in an engagement in which Stewart was killed. It also does not acknowledge that Custer was a '2**', or Major Gen (at age 23!), depicting him as Brig Gen - or '1*'. And he was not accidentally promoted to General as portrayed - but the hillarious scene in the mess tent when news of his promotion arrives, is by all accounts, true - as apparently is the equally funny first encounter in a saloon with his father-in-law to be.)

As to the film ...... its a 'hoot' .... and correctly captures Custer's 'dashing' personality. While the final battle scene is incorrect (better portrayed in TV's 'Son of the Morning Star') the action is excellent. The poignant scenes with Olivia de Havilland at the end as he departs for his final, fateful journey illustrate the magnificent chemistry between these two actors in the last film in which they played together. (The scene with the pocket watch is correct also .... I have seen the watch at the battlefield museum..) The Garry Owen is a star of the film and is still the marching song of the present day 7th.


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