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The Red Badge of Courage (1951)

Approved | | Drama, War | 16 March 1951 (USA)
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.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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



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Complete credited cast:
Bill Mauldin ...
Tom Wilson - the Loud Soldier
The Lieutenant
The Tattered Man
John Dierkes ...
Jim Conklin - the Tall Soldier
Bill Porter
Tim Durant ...
The General
The Cheery Soldier
Thompson (as Robert Easton Burke)


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 (79) »


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


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 March 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage  »

Box Office


$1,640,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Louis B. Mayer was loathe to greenlight the film as he felt (largely correctly) that Civil War pictures never made money. He also disliked it because it had no marquee names or female roles. He only agreed to the making of the film because he was pursuing John Huston to direct Quo Vadis (1951), a film that Huston ultimately dropped out of. See more »


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 »


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


Referenced in Blackadder Exclusive: The Whole Rotten Saga (2008) See more »


The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Music by William Steffe
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
See more »

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User Reviews

A Tribute To Greatness
23 January 2000 | by (Laytonville,California,U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

This movie, directed by John Huston, is arguably the finest Civil War movie of all time. The performances by the young Audie Murphy,America's most decorated soldier and all the cast are as true to life as can be found anywhere. The narration and ultra-realism gives an almost docu-drama feel. This movie is so short,at 69 minutes, that it never had a chance at the box office, and instead was probably seen mostly by school kids and a few old movie buffs. The only other movie that is almost as short and so successfully tells a story is "The Petrified Forest". The Red Badge of Courage is on my best movies of all time list.

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