The Red Badge of Courage (1951)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War  |  16 March 1951 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,991 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 13 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.



(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
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
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 (78) »


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?


Director John Huston lost control of this picture when, over his objections, his bosses at MGM recut it, editing out over 20 minutes. Whole scenes, including one featuring Royal Dano, were discarded. Huston did not waste any time fighting over it, as he was focused on the pre-production of his next picture, The African Queen (1951). Lillian Ross wrote about the trials of producing "The Red Badge of Courage" in her book "Picture". See more »


The drilling and action center around one platoon. While the platoon did exist in Civil War regiments (as half of a company), in practice it was rarely used. Units quickly lost enough personnel due to illness (if not combat) that companies were the smallest practical unit. See more »


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


Referenced in House M.D.: The Itch (2008) See more »


John Brown's Body
[Attributed to William Steffe but often acknowledged as traditional]
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User Reviews

29 May 2004 | by (Las Vegas, NV) – See all my reviews

This version of Stephen Crane's epic is the only one that should be shown. The character, Henry Fleming, was truly Audie Murphy's alter ego. The individual portrayals of the Union soldier's was John Huston at his best. The battlefield scene that truly captured the essence of this movie was when Henry held the tattered Confederate flag over the body of the dead reb soldier. What could have been more poignant then that scene as one soldier salutes his enemy, who, in reality was his countryman. Also, another icon appeared, Bill Mauldin, the noted cartoonist of "Willie and Joe" from yet another war. I feel this movie, as abbreviated as it was, since L.B.Mayer had over one hour of the original version cut, is still a masterpiece.

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