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 ...
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The new commander of a Navy Underwater Demolition Team--nicknamed "Frogmen"--must earn the respect of the men in his unit, who are still grieving over the death of their former commander and resentful of the new one.
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 »
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
The 17th Lancers are shown wearing the same cherry colored pantaloons or overalls as the 11th Hussars, but a major sub-theme of the film is that Lord Cardigan had dressed his regiment - the 11th Hussars - in cherry colored pantaloons - leading to their nickname 'cheribums'. All other regiments in the Light Brigade wore dark blue or gray overalls, including Captain Nolan who was a member of the 15th Hussars, though this regiment was not part of the five regiments who took part in the charge itself. See more »
[observing a flogging]
They won't fight unless they're flogged to it. Would you 'ave them fight for money - or ideas? That would be hun-Christian.
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Closing credits roll over a drawing of a dead horse, with the buzzing of flies in the soundtrack. See more »
We have to wait nearly two hours for the eponymous event which climaxes this film. Prior to this we see a series of apparently unconnected episodes which give the viewer an insight into the workings of Victorian society, including anti-intellectuallism and idleness among the 'upper' classes, and brutality and theft among the 'scum' recruited in the slums.
While almost plot less this section of the film does follow a core of characters whose lives are connected by army service. The main character is Captain Louis Nolan, an idealistic professional in an army of amateurs. "England is looking well" he says in the first scene of the film. The irony is that the country that looks so good is a cruel and mismanaged place. Unlike his fellow officers, who have bought their posts, he has worked his way up the ranks of the Indian Army by merit. He despises them and they feel he isn't a 'gentleman'.
Nolan has very definite views on how war should be fought. Faced with the reality of battle and the inadequacies of the commanders (the senile Raglan and the childish Lucan and Cardigan) his impatience and temper have tragic consequences as he impetuously points the Light Brigade ("There, my Lord, is your enemy, there are your guns!") towards the bloody fiasco of which he is the first victim. The man who seems to know best makes the biggest blunder of all. Eye-witnesses said the hideous scream Nolan gave when he was hit stayed with them all their lives and the film re-creates it in a truly chilling way.
Although the film does reflect 1960's attitudes to war and politics (and I actually prefer these to the attitudes of the 21st Century) its setting is so perfectly realized that it hasn't dated as a '60s film'. In fact it seems better with the passage of time. If you can free yourself from the idea of a narrative history and give yourself up to a series of impressions which add new layers of understanding 'Charge of the Light Brigade' makes a fine historical film.
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