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The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 20 October 1936 (USA)
2:00 | Trailer
A major countermands orders and attacks to avenge a previous massacre of men, women, and children.


Michael Curtiz


Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem), Michael Jacoby (original story) (as Michel Jacoby) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Errol Flynn ... Maj. Geoffrey Vickers
Olivia de Havilland ... Elsa Campbell (as Olivia De Havilland)
Patric Knowles ... Capt. Perry Vickers
Henry Stephenson ... Sir Charles Macefield
Nigel Bruce ... Sir Benjamin Warrenton
Donald Crisp ... Col. Campbell
David Niven ... Capt. Randall
C. Henry Gordon ... Surat Khan
G.P. Huntley G.P. Huntley ... Maj. Jowett (as G. P. Huntley Jr.)
Robert Barrat ... Count Igor Volonoff
Spring Byington ... Lady Octavia Warrenton
E.E. Clive ... Sir Humphrey Harcourt
J. Carrol Naish ... Subadar-Major Puran Singh (as J. Carroll Naish)
Walter Holbrook Walter Holbrook ... Cornet Barclay
Princess Baba ... Prema's Mother (as Princess Baigum)
Learn more

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In 1854, during the Crimean War, poor planning leads to a British Light Brigade openly charging a Russian artillery position with tragic consequences.

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Major Vickers is an officer at the 27th Lancers in India 1856. When the regiment is on maneuver, the barracks are attacked by Surat Khan and his soldiers who massacre British women and children. This leaves an inextinguishable memory and Vickers promises to revenge the dead. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Into the valley of death rode the six hundred." See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


In the famous charge scene, Errol Flynn, playing Capt. Vickers, is thrown to the ground when his horse is shot out from underneath him, jumps back up and leaps on a passing riderless horse. Although Flynn supposedly did the horse fall himself--he was a good horseman and liked to do his own stunts when possible--the man leaping up from the ground and mounting the passing horse is not Flynn but his longtime stunt double Buster Wiles. See more »


After the massacre, Flynn sympathetically listens to Major Singh crying over the body of his murdered son Prema who is clearly wiggling his toes in the foreground of the scene. See more »


[first lines]
Sir Humphrey Harcourt: How do you fellows manage to look so comfortably, Vickers?
Maj. Geoffrey Vickers: We may look it Sir, but we're not. They say the first 40 years are about the hottest up here on the frontier, after that you get used to it.
Sir Humphrey Harcourt: Really?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: A convoy of British Lancers escorting Sir Humphrey Harcourt on an important diplomatic mission into Suristan. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Referenced in The Tribe: Episode #4.5 (2002) See more »


God Save the Tsar
(1833) (uncredited)
(Russian national anthem, 1833-1917)
Music by Alexis Lvov
In the score during the charge at Balaklava
See more »

User Reviews

And what a charge it was!
24 June 2006 | by Boba_Fett1138See all my reviews

The movie starts of as your average period drama with a love triangle and formulaic, typical '30's dramatic moments. However about halve way through the movie its story takes a turn and turns into a delicious action filled epic, with the charge of the light brigade at the ending as the icing on the cake.

I watched this film without really knowing what to expect of it. I knew Errol Flynn was in it, so I expected an adventurous movie with lots of memorable action sequence. The movie started of just like Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor", with a love triangle story between the Errol Flynn character, his brother played by Patric Knowles and Olivia de Havilland. Flynn and de Havilland surely are one of the best screen couples of all time, so those moments are still better and more enjoyable than your average '30's love filled drama. But just like "Pearl Harbor" the best moments of the movie are in the second part, in the action sequences. The movie takes epic proportions in its action sequences, which are big and spectacularly brought to the screen. It makes the first part of the movie feel kind of obsolete and yes, it is definitely true that you can basically skip the whole first part of the movie, with the exceptions of a few sequences maybe, which are important for the development of the story and certain characters.

The story itself is quite fascinating, with the exception of the whole love triangle thing of course. It's based on true events, although the movie takes lots of liberties with the story but this really does the movie no harm. It doesn't make the actions of the light brigade seem any less noble or heroic, so the movie does the true story justice in my opinion. The several plot lines of the story are well developed in the story. I especially like the sequences with the political game between Surat Khan and the Russians with the British. There are some subtle sequences with some very well written and clever dialog. The drama in the movie is also surprisingly heavy. When you watch an Errol Flynn action flick you expect to see some lighthearted fun action sequences but in this movie the action is heavy, powerful and dramatic.

The cast is great! Errol Flynn is in his element as the popular and noble gentleman Maj. Geoffrey Vickers. Olivia de Havilland is also fine as always and it also was great to see David Niven in one of his first roles before he received real fame as an actor. It's amazing to see that he basically already looked the same in this movie as he did in movies that were made 40 years later. His role is quite small and not really significant but his presence is notable. Also really great was C. Henry Gordon as the cold-hearted villain Surat Khan, which starts of like a much warmer character. As the movie progresses he becomes more and more ruthless and he turns into almost a James Bond like villain, which works actually very well for such an adventurous action filled epic like this movie.

Based purely on all those things I just mentioned I would had rated this movie an 7 out of 10. But then came the ending...

Quite honestly, I was blown away by the ending. I simply did not expected to see such a large scale, complex action sequence in a 1936 movie. The charge in which literally hundreds of cavalry men, attack a Russian stronghold which is supported with numerous cannons is impressive to say the very least. Seeing all those hundreds of cavalry men, with Errol Flynn of course in front, riding up through the valley of death to an almost certain doom is extremely powerful. These are not CGI horses like for most part was the cast in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this is the real thing! Horses and men flying around by the firing cannons and Errol's friends dying around him, as they come more and more closer to the Russians and Surat Khan. It such a arousing and spectacular filmed sequence that it still holds up by todays standards. Unfortunately also hundreds of horses and one stunt person got killed during the filming of the end charge. But to be honest, 1 person seems so few when you look at that sequences. I mean, men are flying and dropping from their horses like puppets, while horses ride around them within close range!

A classic epic. See this movie, if already alone for the unforgettable, arousing end charge of the light brigade.



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Release Date:

20 October 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Charge of the Light Brigade See more »

Filming Locations:

Agoura Hills, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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