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They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 1 January 1942 (USA)
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A highly fictionalized account of the life of George Armstrong Custer from his arrival at West Point in 1857 to his death at the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Wally Kline (original screenplay), Æneas MacKenzie (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Errol Flynn ... George Armstrong Custer
Olivia de Havilland ... Elizabeth Bacon
Arthur Kennedy ... Ned Sharp
Charley Grapewin ... California Joe
Gene Lockhart ... Samuel Bacon, Esq.
Anthony Quinn ... Crazy Horse
Stanley Ridges ... Maj. Romulus Taipe
John Litel ... Gen. Phil Sheridan
Walter Hampden ... William Sharp
Sydney Greenstreet ... Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott
Regis Toomey ... Fitzhugh Lee
Hattie McDaniel ... Callie
G.P. Huntley G.P. Huntley ... Lt. 'Queen's Own' Butler (as George P. Huntley Jr.)
Frank Wilcox ... Capt. Webb
Joe Sawyer ... Sgt. Doolittle (as Joseph Sawyer)
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Storyline

A highly fictionalized account of the life of George Armstrong Custer from his arrival at West Point in 1857 to his death at the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. He has little discipline at the academy but is prepared to stand up to the senior cadet, Ned Sharp, who makes his life miserable. While there he catches the eye of the commandant, Col. (later General) Phil Sheridan and also meets his future bride, Elizabeth Bacon. Graduating early due to the Civil War, it is only through a chance meeting with General Winfield Scott that he finally gets assigned to a cavalry regiment. He served with distinction during the war and when he is promoted to Brigadier General in error, he leads his troops in a decisive victory. He has little to do after the war turning down lucrative positions in private industry and it's his wife who arranges with Gen. Scott for him to be appointed a Lt. Colonel and given command of the 7th Cavalry. He is depicted as a friend of the Indians who will fight for... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Scene After Scene Of The Most Exciting Adventure Ever Screened! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To the Last Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Curtiz was the studio's original choice to direct. See more »

Goofs

Numerous times during the film Libbie Custer refers to Gen. Phil Sheridan as "Uncle Phil," a dear friend of her father. In fact there is no evidence that she knew him in any way prior to meeting him through George, although it's possible that she might have come to think of him as family in later years. See more »

Quotes

[an owl wakes up Callie after Custer leaves]
Callie: [sees the owl] What you have to wake up for, you old devil!
[the owl hoots very loud then winks at her]
Callie: [gasps] Don't you wink at me!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Reel Injun (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Errol Flynn's best film
4 April 2003 | by NewEnglandPatSee all my reviews

Dashing Errol Flynn brings his usual flair for drama in this historically flawed but entertaining film of the life of George Armstrong Custer. The dashing, jovial Flynn essays Custer from his days at West Point as a reckless, headstrong cadet, through the Civil War years in an extraordinarily generous and partisan interpretation of history, and finally as the nonpareil Indian fighter whose blunder at the Little Big Horn is excused as a sacrifice by Custer of his command as a way of exposing the corruption of government officials and post traders as well as a protest of the unfair treatment of the Plains Indians. Olivia de Havilland, Flynn's co-star in several other films, scores as the devoted, adoring Libby Bacon, and Anthony Quinn looks the part as the fierce Sioux chief Crazy Horse. The film's battle scenes are excellent. The Civil War battles are brief and are shown as several vignettes in which Custer, seemingly supported by just a handful of troopers, hammers the Confederate army into submission. Custer's last fight against the Indians is a grand spectacle, a savage clash between red men and white, with no quarter given in a wild mix of military might between determined fighting men. Great direction, cinematography, casting and wonderful music by Max Steiner make this film a Hollywood classic.


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