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The Private War of Major Benson (1955)

A Major noted for advancing with his mouth before thinking is given a choice: to be drummed out of the Army, or take command of and shape up the ROTC program at Sheridan Academy before it ... See full summary »



(story), (story) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Kay Lambert
Cadet Thomas 'Tiger' Flaherty
Mother Redempta
Cadet Lt. Gerald Hibler
Cadet Col. Sylvester Dusik
Maj. Gen. Wilton J. Ramsey
Mary Field ...
Sister Mary Theresa
Cadet Cpl. Scawalski (as Donald Keeler)
Gary Pagett ...
Cadet Lt. Molony
Mickey Little ...
Cadet Lt. Hanratty
Harold Hibler
Young Lieutenant
Monsignor Collins


A Major noted for advancing with his mouth before thinking is given a choice: to be drummed out of the Army, or take command of and shape up the ROTC program at Sheridan Academy before it fails its next inspection. At Sheridan he encounters three hundred pre-teen cadets who range from rascally to adorable, and a female doctor who has just the right prescription for him. Written by Martin H. Booda <booda@datasync.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Happily yours from Universal-International See more »


Comedy | Family | Romance


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Release Date:

2 December 1955 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

La guerra privada del mayor Benson  »

Box Office


$600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?


Charlton Heston took no salary for this movie, instead he took a piece of the box-office. See more »


[first lines]
Young Lieutenant: Major, you're exposed!
Maj. Bernard 'Barney' Benson: Get the men back to their original positions. We'll try it again.
Young Lieutenant: Major, we've executed the maneuver 27 times since noon. The men are tired.
Maj. Bernard 'Barney' Benson: They missed their objective by 17 seconds. Now do it till they do it right.
Young Lieutenant: Yes, sir.
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Remade as Major Payne (1995) See more »


Toy Tiger
Music by Henry Mancini
See more »

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User Reviews

Charlton Heston vs. the kids
13 April 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

If there's one characteristic that Charlton Heston portrays well on the screen it's resolve. Whether he's Moses, Judah Ben-Hur or Major Barney Benson, he takes on an assignment and he sees it through.

Somebody at Universal got the bright idea to borrow Heston from Paramount for The Private War of Major Benson in which a professional soldier now assigned to beef up the Reserve Officer Training program at a Catholic military academy. Seems as though the Mother Superior Nana Bryant has some pull with the Pentagon as her brother Milburn Stone is a general and Heston's commanding officer.

And Heston's quite a problem for Stone. Seems as though an eager reporter got a real good sound bite from Heston while he was training troops. Stone figures this request from his sister, the Sister comes at an appropriate time to solve two problems.

Of course Heston and the kids don't really get along. The leadership skills you need to cross the Red Sea and race a chariot are a bit different than heading a boy's military school. Especially when these kids are not even into puberty as most of them aren't. Ironically he gets along best with Sal Mineo who's just entering puberty and offers him some facts of life points of view about the opposite sex. Heston has his eye on school doctor Julie Adams and is embarking on his own quest there.

It's a cute and funny movie and it ought to be since the it was written by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, the folks who brought you Leave It to Beaver. Think of Wally and the Beaver at military school with Charlton Heston as the commander. It's not half bad.

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