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The Red Badge of Courage (1951)

Approved | | Drama, War | 11 October 1951 (USA)
Truncated adaptation of Stephen Crane's novel about a Civil War Union soldier who stuggles to find the courage to fight in the heat of battle.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Stephen Crane (novel), John Huston (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Audie Murphy ... Henry Fleming - the Youth
Bill Mauldin ... Tom Wilson - the Loud Soldier
Douglas Dick ... The Lieutenant
Royal Dano ... The Tattered Man
John Dierkes ... Jim Conklin - the Tall Soldier
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Bill Porter
Tim Durant ... The General
Andy Devine ... The Cheery Soldier
Robert Easton ... Thompson (as Robert Easton Burke)
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Storyline

Plot centers around how a young recruit (Audie Murphy) faces the horrors of war. Character vascilates between wanting to fight and doubting his own courage. In midst of first bloody encounter, Youth runs away. After seeing dead and wounded, sense of shame leads him back to his unit, where he distinguishes himself in the next battle. Having overcome his fear of "the great Death" he knows e can face whatever comes. Somewhat sentimental "coming of age" tale was pet project of John Huston, who fought MGM over casting of Murphy and Bill Mauldin in lead roles. Written by Rita Richardson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

firearm | saber | crying | rifle | courage | See All (73) »

Taglines:

M-G-M, the Company that Released "Gone With the Wind", Presents a New Drama of the War Between the States! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,640,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$789,000, 31 December 1951

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,080,000, 31 December 1951
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The title does not refer to a medal but to a wound incurred in battle. See more »

Goofs

In close-ups of Henry Fleming, particularly in the initial engagement with the enemy, the lock plate on his musket is apparently stamped near the rear with a British Crown. While British arms were used by the Confederates lacking sufficient arms production capabilities, Fleming's group would have been issued US-produced rife muskets. In a close-up of another soldier, the US eagle stamped on the lock plate is clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

Tom Wilson - the Loud Soldier: If the boys was a-standin' an' a-fightin', I'd stand an' fight too - I'd bet my boots on it, by Jiminy I would.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in South Park: The Red Badge of Gayness (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
95 Minute Version!!!!!!!!!
14 June 2007 | by njmolloSee all my reviews

"Red Badge Of Courage" was a film destined to fail from its inception. Louis B. Mayer never wanted the picture to be made and did what he could to discourage the process. He felt it could never be a commercial success without female characters or established stars. Mayer expressed his views directly to John Huston, he said, "It has no story and won't make a cent!"

When the film was finally completed, the test screenings were a failure. Houston remarked: "With the Red Badge of Courage, I quite understood at the time why they took the steps they did. I was present at a preview when damn near a third of the audience got up and walked out of the theatre."

Various edits were tried without the participation of Huston, who was working on the "African Queen" with Bogart and Hepburn, and seemed to not give a damn. All that resulted was a picture that got shorter and shorter. The final release version is 69 minutes. The original cut was of 95 minutes, not two hours as has been suggested.

"...they cut out one scene that was probably the best in the picture, in a way of anticlimax. The monumental death of the tall soldier. The boy and the tattered soldier walk away down the hill, and the tattered fellow says, "I've never seen a feller die like that." He begins to ramble and begins to walk around in circles then dies himself. This was the most extraordinary moment in the picture as far as I was concerned. It wouldn't have made any difference so far as the audience was concerned. They still walked out in the middle of the picture."

The footage that was extracted was from the master negative. It was discarded to the floor of the editing suite and thrown away as useless. There are no records of any of the cut scenes or extra footage surviving.

Louis B. Mayer dispatched a second unit to Huston's ranch. The second unit was to film the battle scenes in Technicolor using the Cinematographic process: MGM Camera 65. Louis B. Mayer, at his most vindictive, shot footage that would eventually be used in future productions with the full knowledge of Huston.

As the problems mounted, Huston's enthusiasm for the project waned and he started to gravitate towards his next project. Huston never re-visited "Red Badge Of Courage". It is assumed he was never happy with the film in its original form or its release version and was happy for the film to fade into annals of film history.


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