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Little Big Horn (1951)

 -  Western  -  15 June 1951 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 208 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 1 critic

A small band of cavalry attempt to warn Custer of an impending massacre. Friction develops when commander of the patrol suspects his subordinate of having an affair with his wife.

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Title: Little Big Horn (1951)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Capt. Phillip Donlin
...
Lt. John Haywood
...
Celie Donlin
Reed Hadley ...
...
Cpl. Doan Moylan
Wally Cassell ...
Pvt. Danny Zecca
...
Pvt. Al DeWalt
King Donovan ...
Pvt. James Corbo
Richard Emory ...
Pvt. Mitch Shovels
John Pickard ...
Sgt. Vet McCloud
Robert Sherwood ...
Pvt. David Mason
Sheb Wooley ...
Quince
Larry Stewart ...
Bugler Stevie Williams
Rodd Redwing ...
Cpl. Arika (as Rod Redwing)
Dick Paxton ...
Pvt. Ralph Hall (as Richard Paxton)
Edit

Storyline

A small band of cavalry attempt to warn Custer of an impending massacre. Friction develops when commander of the patrol suspects his subordinate of having an affair with his wife.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fifty painted Sioux to every one of their GALLANT few! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tödliche Pfeile  »

Box Office

Budget:

$183,849 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the scene where Lt. Haywood is fighting with the Indian, it is easy to see they're using rubber knives. See more »

Quotes

Moylan: Why does anyone have to ride point?
Haywood: The Army works on the principle that it's better to sacrifice a few to many. It's hard to be one of those "few."
See more »

Connections

Remade as Desert Hell (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Gem of a Saturday Matinée Horse Opera!
8 December 2006 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Writing and acting! Acting and writing! Like another great little "Custer" film "Bugles in the Afternoon!" starring Ray Milland (and LBH's Sheb Wooley playing Custer!), the acting and dialog in this Cavalry classic is top notch. Everything just clicks making this film look as good as any classic Western with a much bigger budget.

The soundtrack is interesting. The "On the Little Big Horn! 1876!" sung by a chorus rings out loud and clear in the opening credits and sets the mood for the story. Must have been a thrill to the Saturday matinée kid cowboy crowd. It certainly adds to "larger than life" mood of this film.

The writers, by setting up this film with the well known history of the Custer defeat (or is it the Native American victory) at the Little Big Horn as a backdrop, helps make your imagination do what the well spent but inexpensive budget doesn't! (It is almost like a radio play in that way.) With the descriptions of sighting of thousands of Souix by the patrols in this film, you feel the intensity and importance of the mission. Also the suspense created by knowing there are a lot of Indians out there and the "Heart of Darkness" atmosphere as the troop advances further and further into Indian territory gives the ambushes that happen the right kind of life and death dynamic.

The story line is not that improbable. Gen. Crook, who had met in the Battle of the Rosebud just some of the Souix that would engage Custer a week or so later, did think of continuing with what was left of his command or some troopers to Custer and Terry to inform them of what happened. It didn't happen however. Still, the mission of trying to deliver a message at all costs to Custer gives this film the needed dynamic it requires.

Major or soon to be major actors give performances here that both their earlier and later "high budget" careers only enhance. The leads Lloyd Bridges (High Noon!, Sea Hunt, Hot Shots) and John Ireland (Red River, Spartacus, A Walk in the Sun) and supporting actors like the memorable King Donavan (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), the good spirited Wally Cassell (Sands of Iwo Jima), Jim Davis (Dallas!), newcomer Hugh O'Brien (TV's Wyatt Earp), Mr. beautiful baritone Reed Hadley, known for his narrations of Hollywood films (Guadalcanal Diary) and those Atomic Bomb documentaries by the US government plus all the rest of this ensemble do an outstanding job.

Bridges and Ireland are perfect as the hard nosed commander and the sympathetic Lt. always in conflict with each other. The film moves along without any real slow spots. It has good cinematography.

It has good production values and the good writing that make it seem like a bigger film than it really is. It has that "film noir" mood that never would have worked as well in color either. It is really a western that stimulates your imagination!

Many Kudos for this classic!


9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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