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They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,745 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 26 critic

Highly fictionalized account (see the IMDB 'goofs' for examples) 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 ... See full summary »

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Title: They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

They Died with Their Boots On (1941) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Ned Sharp
...
California Joe
...
Samuel Bacon, Esq.
...
Stanley Ridges ...
Maj. Romulus Taipe
...
Walter Hampden ...
William Sharp
...
...
Fitzhugh Lee
...
Callie
G.P. Huntley ...
Lt. 'Queen's Own' Butler (as George P. Huntley Jr.)
...
Capt. Webb
Joe Sawyer ...
Sgt. Doolittle (as Joseph Sawyer)
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Storyline

Highly fictionalized account (see the IMDB 'goofs' for examples) 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... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

HEROES UNMATCHED FOR COURAGE..HISTORY UNEQUALED FOR GLORY! (original ad - all caps) 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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the eighth and final film pairing of Errol Flynn with Olivia de Havilland. The last scene they filmed together was Custer's parting with his wife before his final campaign. See more »

Goofs

Numerous times during the film, Libbie Custer refers to General Phil Sheridan as "Uncle Phil". In fact, no family relationship existed between the two and there is no evidence that she knew him in any way independently of her husband's association with him. Custer was, however, one of Sheridan's favorite officers, and it's possible that she might have considered a familial relationship of sorts existed between them. See more »

Quotes

Lt. General Winfield Scott: If he turns us, Washington and Baltimore will fall.
[Reads dispatch and recoils in horror]
Lt. General Winfield Scott: Stuart! Stuart's Corps at Hanover? It's a mistake. Get verification at once!
Cpl. Smith: It has been verified, sir.
Lt. General Winfield Scott: He's on our rear. We're trapped. All that stands between us and total disaster is the Michigan brigade, a handful of volunteers.
Maj. Romulus Taipe: But the Michigan Brigade's been ordered to Round Top! It's on it's way now!
Lt. General Winfield Scott: Then stop it Taipe, stop it! Tell them to hold it's ground to the last man.
See more »


Soundtracks

Taps
(uncredited)
Written by Daniel Butterfield
Played when the casualty list is posted
See more »

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User Reviews

Balderdash on the Little Bighorn, though first rate balderdash.
30 September 2002 | by (Tappan, New York) – See all my reviews

This is Custer's last stand, through the Warner Brothers' mill. As a 'biopic', "They Died With Their Boots On" is pure poppycock. One cannot help but admit, however, that Errol Flynn was the ideal choice to play the part of the dashing leader of the doomed 7th Cavalry. Of course, the part wasn't exactly a stretch for him. After all, Flynn had already led "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and portrayed George Armstrong Custer's real-life enemy, Confederate Cavalry General Jeb Stuart, in "Sante Fe Trail" (in which future-President Ronald Reagan depicted Custer).

Appearing opposite Flynn is his ubiquitous co-star, Olivia De Havilland, as Custer's faithful wife Liddy. It has often been said that behind every great man lies a great woman. In Custer's case, that was true to a large extent. The real Liddy Custer spent the rest of her life promoting her late husband's larger-than-life heroic reputation. In that sense, the genesis of this fanciful film might be laid at her door.

Rounding out the fine cast is a young Anthony Quinn as a surprisingly sympathetic (for a 1940s movie) version of Chief Crazy Horse. In fact, Crazy Horse actually comes off as the most sympathetic character in the entire film. Quinn delivered a rather more restrained performance here than was usual in many of his later films. Of course this wasn't the first time he had appeared as a Native American in a movie, but this role was a definite step up because this time Quinn got to play a Native American as a character, and actually deliver some lines.

Of course, action is what any Errol Flynn movie is all about and, in that respect, "They Died With Their Boots On" delivers in spades. Warner Brothers must have collected every horse, rider and pair of boots in Hollywood for the spectacular climax. Surely Custer himself would have approved of Flynn's final scene. One can almost imagine Custer's ghost saying; "Even if that wasn't the way I really died, it certainly is the way I should have".


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