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War Drums (1957)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 21 March 1957 (USA)
The friendship between a white man and an Apache chief is tested when they fall in love with the same woman during a time of frontier conflict.


Reginald Le Borg (as Reginald LeBorg)


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Cast overview:
Lex Barker ... Mangas Coloradas
Joan Taylor ... Riva
Ben Johnson ... Luke Fargo
Larry Chance ... Ponce
Richard H. Cutting ... Judge Benton (as Richard Cutting)
John Pickard ... Sheriff Bullard
James Parnell James Parnell ... Arizona
John Colicos ... Chino
Tom Monroe Tom Monroe ... Dutch Herman
Jil Jarmyn ... Nona
Jeanne Carmen ... Yellow Moon
Mauritz Hugo ... Clay Staub
Ward Ellis Ward Ellis ... Delgadito
Jack Hupp Jack Hupp ... Lt. Roberts


Mexican girl Riva comes between two friends, Apache chief Mangas and trader Fargo, both of whom love the girl. She weds Mangas to the disappointment of Fargo and the dismay of Mangas's tribe. Fargo brokers peace between the Apache and the white settlers, but unscrupulous gold-hunters trigger war. It is up to Fargo to prevent a bloodbath. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Deadlist Thunder That Ever Rolled Across The West!


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Release Date:

21 March 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chief Red Sleeves See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Color by Deluxe)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to July 1956 Hollywood Reporter news items, the set was beset by several accidents, including a fire that destroyed a wardrobe trailer and a lightning storm that destroyed a generator, which delayed production for a few days. See more »


In the beginning of the movie, Luke (Ben Johnson's character) makes a reference to "President Lincoln". Later in the movie a newspaper is shown dated Oct. 21, 1860 which was before Lincoln was first elected president on November 6th of that year. See more »


Dutch Herman: Get two horses and spreadeagle him.
Dutch Herman: I'll show this Indian not to come around here lying to white men.
See more »


Referenced in A Question of Honour (1966) See more »


Oh, Sussana
Composed by Stephen Foster (1848)
Instrumental version played around campfire
See more »

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User Reviews

The stupidest Western this side of The Legend of the Lone Ranger
15 February 2009 | by JimB-4See all my reviews

I'll watch Ben Johnson in just about anything, and I just did. Though I've been a fan of Lex Barker's since his Tarzan days, in this he makes Ben Johnson look like Sir John Gielgud. This is possibly the worst Western I've ever seen, and I've spent my life studying them. This movie takes place in some weird Bizarro-Apache world, where the pseudo-word "Ayee!" is apparently the only word in the Apache language, because it's used for every possible meaning; where the tribe has a central camp, but the people blithely live in isolated single wikiup lodges apparently miles from each other, where the majority of the tribal folk have blue eyes, where Apache wedding gowns are apparently made by Laura Ashley, where a Mexican captive woman suddenly falls in love with her hated captor in the space of a two-minute fight scene, and where in about the same length of time she is transformed into a fierce warlike female co-chief in a beaded tank-top. There's not a moment of believable human behavior in the film. A handful of gold miners deep in Apache territory shoot a little Indian boy and let an Indian girl take him back to the tribe while they unconcernedly go back to panning for gold, despite the fact that even an idiot would know the entire tribe is going to show up in a few minutes looking for scalps...which is just what happens. A good drinking game would be to take a slug every time someone says, "Ayee!" or whenever someone does something stupidly and obviously against his own interests. It's also pretty convenient how often the heroes get devastating wounds yet ride off fairly comfortably after a little rest. Fortunately the photography is so drab and dim that it's hard always to be sure what's happening on screen--except in the day-for-night shots, which are sometimes brighter than the day-for-day shots! The only positive element of the entire film is some good stunt work and watching Ben Johnson gallop on horseback. That's always good to see. I hope he got a big paycheck for this one, though. At least it didn't have a title song.

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