The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  11 October 1968 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,129 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 14 critic

A chronicle of events that led to the British involvement in the Crimean War against Russia and which led to the siege of Sevastopol and the fierce Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854 ... See full summary »



0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 6 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A major countermands orders and attacks to revenge a previous massacre of men, women and children.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Patric Knowles
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The moving story of a plain young girl who becomes pregnant by a black sailor, befriends a homosexual, and gradually becomes a woman.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, Robert Stephens
The Loved One (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Satire on the funeral business, in which a young British poet goes to work at a Hollywood cemetery.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Anjanette Comer
Lost Command (1966)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

French Army Colonel Raspeguy leads his paratroopers in battle against the Communist Viet Minh in Indochina and against Algerian guerrilla during the Algerian War.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Alain Delon, George Segal
Anzio (1968)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

One of WWIIs bloodiest battles as the Allies smash through the German lines which have enclosed the Anzio beachhead. Four months and 30,000 casualties before the Allies finally march to Rome.

Directors: Edward Dmytryk, Duilio Coletti
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk, Robert Ryan
Zulu Dawn (1979)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A dramatization of the Battle of Isandlwana, where the British Army met its match against the Zulu nation.

Director: Douglas Hickox
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Simon Ward, Denholm Elliott
Comedy | Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A movie about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War" and focusing mainly on the members of the Smith family who go off to war. Much of ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: Wendy Allnutt, Colin Farrell, Malcolm McFee
Dead Cert (1974)
Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

As a surprise, two horse owners decide to ride their animals themselves in a steeplechase. But Bill Davidson's horse "Admiral" behaves weirdly, and falls hard after an obstacle. Bill dies ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Scott Antony, Judi Dench, Michael Williams
Billy Budd (1962)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Billy is an innocent, naive seaman in the British Navy in 1797. When the ship's sadistic master-at-arms is murdered, Billy is accused and tried.

Director: Peter Ustinov
Stars: Robert Ryan, Peter Ustinov, Melvyn Douglas
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the ... See full summary »

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Alec Guinness, John Mills, Susannah York
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Norwegian resistance tries to stop German troops to produce an atomic bomb component during WW2. Based on a true story.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Ulla Jacobsson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Alan, after quarreling with his girlfriend Sheila, becomes intrigued by Anna, a mysterious widow who's searching for a sailor she had known many years before. Alan and Anna begin the search... See full summary »

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Ian Bannen, Vanessa Redgrave


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Clarissa Morris
Jill Bennett ...
Mrs. Fanny Duberly
Ben Aris ...
Capt. Fitz Maxse
Micky Baker ...
Trooper Metcalfe
Paymaster Capt. Henry Duberly
Leo Britt ...
Gen. Scarlett
Mark Burns ...
Capt. William Morris
John J. Carney ...
Trooper Mitchell (as John Carney)
Helen Cherry ...
Lady Scarlett
Chris Chittell ...
Trooper (as Christopher Chittel)
Ambrose Coghill ...
Lt. Col. Douglas


A chronicle of events that led to the British involvement in the Crimean War against Russia and which led to the siege of Sevastopol and the fierce Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854 which climaxed with the heroic, but near-disastrous cavalry charge made by the British Light Brigade against a Russian artillery battery in a small valley which resulted in the near-destruction of the brigade due to error of judgment and rash planning on part by the inept British commanders. Written by Matthew Patay

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Theirs not to reason why..."


Drama | History | War


PG-13 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Carga da Brigada Ligeira  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theatrical)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was the first film of both the director Tony Richardson's daughters Natasha Richardson and Joely Richardson. See more »


When Nolan falls from his horse in the final charge he falls on his right side with right arm above his head. However when we see him at the end, as his friend Capt. Morris is walking past, he is now on his left side with his left hand above his head. See more »


Capt. Louis Edward Nolan: There is no place happier than a cavalry mess, if one is a stupid, inconsiderate and lazy man one can fit as a round peg into a snug round hole. At times I'm so pent-up with their languor I could scrap hold of any two of them and bang their noddles together till their doodles drop off.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits roll over a drawing of a dead horse, with the buzzing of flies in the soundtrack. See more »


Featured in Free Cinema (1986) See more »


My Heart's In The Highlands
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Arranged by John Addison
Sung by a tenor Scottish soldier in a Crimean camp
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Stark anti-war film which does not quite bring its ideas to fruition
7 March 2005 | by (Sydney Australia) – See all my reviews

Tony Richards was an ideas man, in some loose sense a lot like his contemporary 60s director Richard Lester. The two of them were mavericks, often eschewing traditional and reliable modes of film making in preference to trying out unchartered techniques - born out of nothing else but their own imaginations. Lester did this to achieve an original knockabout and racy product, and Richardson did it to achieve a more stark and poignant effect for the supposed thinking-man's 'swinging' audience of the time. However, not all these ideas worked well in practice. The Charge of the Light Brigade is an example of one of these misfires.

The film is a classic piece of late sixties film making; both in the bizarre arty techniques used, and in the bold anti-war message. The idea of the film is to shamelessly point out the blind arrogance that lies behind the decisions made by those at the top to go to war. Arrogance, the film conveys very clearly, which is based purely upon blissful ignorance. The audience is invited to feast upon the bumbling Lord Raglan (John Gielgud), who nonchalantly sits at his desk in the war office and calls the shots based only on his devotion to England's great past, rather than on any rational thought. We meet, and are disgusted with, Lord Cardigan (Trevor Howard) whose arrogance is the driving force behind all he does. He believes that he is always right no matter what, simply because as the captain he is in charge. He's more concerned with what his men drink out of in the mess, and punishing them for their wrongdoings, rather than on running a well oiled military machine. To him, he is the most important part of that machine.

In contrast to these men is Nolan (David Hemmings), an idealistic military man with 'principles'. He believes in good sound leadership and decision making, and as such is constantly at odds with the stuffy and arrogant attitudes of his superiors - they are always right and he should speak when he's spoken to, even if he has a valid idea. Note Lord Raglan's line: "It is a sad day for Britain when her officers know too much what they are doing." Nolan is the man trying to fight vainly against the ignorance-entrenched system.

All this happens to the backdrop of Britain choosing to join in on a foreign war - to save Turkey from Russia. It is a war Engalnd should not have been involved in, but the arrogant big wigs made the decision to go. In true 60s anti-war style, the arrogance of those in charge of the war machine brings about its own destruction. Nolan was right, Raglan and Cardigan were wrong and didn't care to accept that, the light brigade was lost, and a blaming game ensues. While riding over the corpse of Nolan, Cardigan threw the blame on Lord Lucan, Lucan in turn threw the hot potato to Raglan, and Raglan laid the blame on the poor innocent man who wrote the order that Raglan himself dictated to him. As such, the pointlessness of war, and the destructive capability of blind ignorance based on an arrogance derived solely from power was brought forth clearly.

However, the directing techniques to bring this powerfully stark message to life were not up to the task. Too many dreamy sequences were used which just distract the audience; the script was at times just downright boring; and too often, in the director's eagerness to achieve an arty effect, the powerful meaning of an entire scene was lost. It is one of those films that you really have to pay attention to and concentrate on the whole way through; and this isn't just because The Charge of the Light Brigade is a thinking-man's film, it is because the meaning of many of the scenes is hidden, shrouded behind quite a bit of self-indulgent (or imaginative) imagery. Too often Tony Richardson's 'ideas' simply confuse the audience.

However, as I have said, the film does have a point to make, and this point is evident to all at the end of the film, no matter how many scenes were a little too cryptic. Therefore the film was successful. In addition, there were many great scenes, such as the one where Lord Raglan rides straight through a peaceful anti-war demonstration on his horse, destroying banners and calling the demonstrators traitors. The scene where the British soldiers were seen dying of heatstroke on the plains before even reaching Sebastopol was done well, especially when the scene cut straight to London, where it was reported in the newspapers, untruthfully, that Sebastopol had already fallen. This scene went straight for the jugular in its anti-propaganda and anti-government stance. And of course there is the brilliant period animation showing England as the saviour of the world, and the encourager of world industry and prosperity. These animations contrasted beautifully with the scenes of petty bickering and war-mongering in Lord Raglan's corridors of power.

A great cast and a stark and powerful idea make The Charge of the Light Brigade an interesting film, and at least a good production. The film still rings through in todays international and political climate, and especially shows how not so far we have come, and how many mistakes we have not learned from since the 1960s, and even since the 1850s. However, a sharper script and clearer direction would have helped immeasurably, and would have probably transformed this film into a classic powerhouse, rather than the languishing near miss it is. 6/10

36 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
in the end, at who's feet did the blame fall? froggyar324
Name the March anneandwalt-1
TCM disappoints. max von meyerling
The other Tennyson poem theowinthrop
Charge of the Light Brigade 1968 (alternate version) mickd-3
Discuss The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: