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The Red Badge of Courage (1951)

 -  Drama | War  -  16 March 1951 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,730 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 12 critic

Truncated adaptation of Stephen Crane's novel about a Civil War Union soldier who stuggles to find the courage to fight in the heat of battle.

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Red Badge of Courage (1951)

The Red Badge of Courage (1951) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Henry Fleming - the Youth
Bill Mauldin ...
Tom Wilson - the Loud Soldier
...
The Lieutenant
...
The Tattered Man
John Dierkes ...
Pat Conkln - the Tall Soldier
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
Bill Porter
Tim Durant ...
The General
...
The Cheery Soldier
...
Thompson (as Robert Easton Burke)
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Storyline

Plot centers around how a young recruit (Audie Murphy) faces the horrors of war. Character vascilates between wanting to fight and doubting his own courage. In midst of first bloody encounter, Youth runs away. After seeing dead and wounded, sense of shame leads him back to his unit, where he distinguishes himself in the next battle. Having overcome his fear of "the great Death" he knows e can face whatever comes. Somewhat sentimental "coming of age" tale was pet project of John Huston, who fought MGM over casting of Murphy and Bill Mauldin in lead roles. Written by Rita Richardson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

courage | battle | death | soldier | fear | See All (78) »

Taglines:

M-G-M, the Company that Released "Gone With the Wind", Presents a New Drama of the War Between the States! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 March 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alma de valiente  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,640,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This production amounted to a power struggle between Louis B. Mayer and producer Dore Schary. Mayer rejected the production (partly on account of it lacking women and thus a romance angle) and Schary insisted. Mayer appealed to Loew's Inc. chairman Nicholas Schenck and was rebuffed. This and other ego-bruising incidents that occurred during the same period resulted in Mayer's ouster from the company he helped found in 1924. As Mayer predicted the $1.6 million film flopped badly but by the Summer of 1951 he was out. See more »

Goofs

The enlisted soldiers in the film are shown wearing the rectangular Model 1851 belt plate instead of the brass oval "US" belt plate worn by enlisted soldiers. See more »

Quotes

Bill Porter: Wives, dogs, and chestnut trees - the more you beat 'em the better they be.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Antz (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Written by Julia Ward Howe
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User Reviews

 
Summoned Up His Memories
10 February 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Although John Huston's The Red Badge of Courage has stood the test of time critically, back then it lost lots of money in its first release. The film was a bone of contention between Louis B. Mayer and Dore Schary who were locked in a power struggle for control at Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer. Schary wanted to make the film, Mayer said it would flop and he was proved right. He also got ousted anyway.

The Red Badge of Courage refers to the blood that gets spilled should you sustain a battle wound. If you remember in Oliver Stone's Platoon, the men don't treat new arrival Charlie Sheen until he's gotten one of those. Here the Red Badge is something to be avoided if possible.

By a piece of serendipity when Audie Murphy returned from World War II and was deciding on a career, he chose the movies. He certainly was loaded down with offers, but I guess he sensed in himself an inner gift for being an actor. Not Marlon Brando or Laurence Olivier, but someone in the hands of the right director could get a good performance out of him. In John Huston he found that director, twice in fact as he later worked with him in The Unforgiven.

There was no need for research because our most decorated soldier in history lived the research in North Africa and Europe. There's a dimension to Audie's performance and that of GI cartoonist Willard Mullin that no training at the Actor's Studio could have given them. Murphy just summoned his memories of what it was like to be a kid from Texas whisked off to Europe the way young Henry Fleming is facing the Confederates in their backyard.

Murphy gets good support from an able cast of people like Arthur Hunnicutt, Royal Dano, John Dierkes, and Andy Devine as various other soldiers in the Union Army, all citizens serving their country. No career people in this crowd. Also James Whitmore, reading the narrative of Stephen Crane's novel serves almost like another cast member and moves the film's story line along.

Though it lost money for MGM, The Red Badge of Courage is still a fine film with some great insights into the meaning of battlefield bravery.


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