7.2/10
7,440
67 user 29 critic

The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Approved | | Adventure, Romance, War | July 1959 (USA)
A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
Rio Grande (1950)
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson
Action | Western | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin
Fort Apache (1948)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After the Civil War, ex-Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and ex-Confederate Colonel James Langdon are leading two disparate groups of people through strife-torn Mexico. John Henry and ... See full summary »

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Antonio Aguilar
3 Godfathers (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When 3 outlaws on the run find a dying woman and her newborn baby in the desert they vow to save the child.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr.
Chisum (1970)
Biography | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Cattle baron John Chisum joins forces with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett to fight the Lincoln County land war.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Christopher George
Comedy | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

During the Alaska gold rush, prospector George sends partner Sam to Seattle to bring his fiancée but when it turns out that she married another man, Sam returns with a pretty substitute, the hostess of the Henhouse dance hall.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Stewart Granger, Ernie Kovacs
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A tough Marshal has a difficult task when his two sons join a gang and rob a bank.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, George Kennedy, Gary Grimes
The War Wagon (1967)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of a man who was shot, robbed and imprisoned who returns to steal a large gold shipment from the man who wronged him. The gold is transported in an armored stage coach, the War Wagon.

Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Howard Keel
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Comedy subtly dealing with moral issues such as racial bigotry, corporate greed, American belief of societal superiority and hypocrisy.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Elizabeth Allen
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Dunker
...
...
Deacon Clump
Chuck Hayward ...
Union Captain
...
Jackie Jo
...
Virgil
...
Commandant
...
Col. Jonathan Miles
Edit

Storyline

A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the commander. The secret plan for the mission is overheard by a southern belle who must be taken along to assure her silence. The Union officers each have different reasons for wanting to be on the mission. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

John Ford's Thundering Spectacle See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

July 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Befehl  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of the lead actor's vastly different political views--John Wayne was very conservative and William Holden was very liberal--some of the animosity shown on the screen was real, a result of personal conflicts. Following the wrap each actor vowed to never again work with the other. See more »

Goofs

When they take the "one armed" Confederate Colonel away in Newton Station, his "missing" hand shows behind his back as he steps off the porch of the hotel. See more »

Quotes

Major Kendall: Now come off it Colonel, even you were born.
See more »

Connections

References To Catch a Thief (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

The Bonnie Blue Flag
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish tune
Lyrics by Harry McCarthy
[Sung by the Confederate column marching on the opposite side of the river]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Section Hand and The Croker
16 July 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

John Wayne's been given a critical job to do by none other than General Ulysses S. Grant. He's been ordered to take 3 brigades deep into Confederate territory and destroy a critical rail supply station at a place called Newton's Station and then get his troops out the best way he can. He's ordered to take along, an army surgeon played by William Holden. Wayne's got what appears to be an unreasoning dislike of Holden and their rivalry professional and personal is what drives the plot of the Horse Soldiers.

John Ford always disparaged the films he made after Wings of Eagles, but in my opinion, The Horse Soldiers is one of his finest films. Also in my humble opinion he managed to get one of John Wayne's finest film performances. Wayne's a volunteer officer, in civilian life he rose from section hand on a railroad to an construction engineer. Holden calls him "section hand" as a term of derision after Wayne consistently refers to him as "croker."

Wayne and Holden were very close personal friends and friendly rivals at the box office. That's part of the reason that The Horse Soldiers is so good, the chemistry between them. In fact when Wayne died in 1979, Holden was said to have gone on one legendary drinking binge. Who would have suspected we'd have lost him as well two years later.

Holden as the doctor has a less flamboyant part than Wayne, but he makes the most of what he was given. I suspect knowing the relationship between Wayne and John Ford, he knew going in his part would be less, but he did it anyway.

Anyone who thinks John Wayne incapable of acting should see the scene in the saloon at Newton's Station after the Union forces repel a Confederate attack and are about their business destroying the railroad property. In a great drunk scene he reveals to Constance Towers the reason for his hatred of the medical profession. I won't reveal it, but it's something we can all understand. Wayne did this scene so well that Ford used an abbreviated version of it in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Ford makes marvelous use of music in there, weaving traditional Civil War era songs with the song written by Stan Jones for the film, I Left My Love. That is one catchy and infectious ballad, one of the best things written for a John Ford movie. Incidentally Stan Jones makes a brief appearance in the film as Ulysses S. Grant and does well by him.

There are two in the supporting cast that deserve mention. During the Civil War Lincoln had to deal with volunteer political generals, most of whom were a flop. Willis Bouchey playing John Wayne's co-commander in the expedition captures the phenomenon to perfection. He's argumentative, arrogant, and a general pain in the butt to Wayne. It's probably Bouchey's finest screen performance.

And Carleton Young also gives what I think is his finest screen performance as the one armed Confederate colonel who tries in vain to stop Wayne from completing his plans. It's a role that requires dignity and strength and Carleton Young is marvelous. In fact the contrast between Bouchey and Young as soldiers is pretty obvious.

The relationship between the Section Hand and The Croker evolves during the running time of The Horse Soldiers. It's a relationship well worth seeing develop.


39 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?