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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:

HEROES UNMATCHED FOR COURAGE..HISTORY UNEQUALED FOR GLORY! (original ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Custer did commission a new uniform when he was promoted to brigadier general but sources claim it had less to do with glory and arrogance and more about standing out in front of his troops. Custer wanted his men to be able to see him leading the charge from anywhere on the battlefield. The gold braid and buttons glinted in the sunlight which allowed his men to easily spot their commanding officer. See more »

Goofs

In the scene when Mr. Bacon speaks with the preacher as he collects rents, mountains are clearly visible over the rooftops. There are no mountains anywhere near Monroe, Michigan. See more »

Quotes

[after they first meet, Custer walks Miss Bacon to Gen. Sheridan's house]
George Armstrong Custer: Do you think if I were to come strolling past your house around nine o'clock at night you might be just sitting around on the veranda?
Elizabeth Bacon: Life is full of surprises.
George Armstrong Custer: And if I did find you sitting on the porch perhaps you and I could go for a walk together.
Elizabeth Bacon: [laughs] We seem to have been walking together ever since we met.
George Armstrong Custer: Well, I can't imagine, ma'am - if I may say so - any pleasanter journey, ma'am, than walking through life with ...
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Alternate Versions

When shown om Swedish TV (TV1) in the mid 90s there was an additional scene between the scene where Custer, California Joe and Lt Butler leaves Custer's tent on the night before the final battle and when Custer subsequently frees Sharpe at the wagon where he is held "kidnapped". It contained two shots, first an Indian banging a drum, then a shot of Crazy Horse, on a hill overlooking the Indian camp, addressing the spirits. The scene is missing in present DVD copies, and was not seen on previous Swedish TV showings. See more »

Connections

Remade as Custer of the West (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Taps
(uncredited)
Written by Daniel Butterfield
Played when the casualty list is posted
See more »

User Reviews

Entertaining Non-History
18 July 2002 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

As long as you don't expect to see much actual history, this is an entertaining movie with plenty of action and an Errol Flynn performance that gives his fans everything they could ask for. It covers the life of a character named George Armstrong Custer, whose experiences every so often have some vague similarities with a historical figure of the same name. That is to say, there wasn't much of an effort to make it historically accurate, but they did make it quite enjoyable to watch. And as far as the rampant fabrications go, a light-hearted movie like this is far less likely to create a wrong impression than are today's pseudo-historical movies that take themselves too seriously in pushing some pet theory of the film-makers.

Flynn certainly is well cast as Custer, a role that gives him a chance to do whatever comes naturally to him without placing any constraints on his energy and charisma. The supporting cast is good, too, with Sydney Greenstreet being quite entertaining as the old war-horse Winfield Scott, plus Flynn favorite Olivia de Havilland and others. Things move along at a good pace, and though it may be a little too long, there is usually more than enough going on to hold your attention. It works well as long as you don't take any of it seriously.


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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
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