7.2/10
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72 user 31 critic

The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Approved | | Adventure, Romance, War | July 1959 (USA)
In 1863, a Union outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in Mississippi to destroy enemy railroads but a captive southern belle and the unit's doctor cause frictions within ranks.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

John Lee Mahin (written for the screen by), Martin Rackin (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Col. John Marlowe
William Holden ... Maj. Henry Kendall
Constance Towers ... Hannah Hunter
Judson Pratt ... Sgt. Maj. Kirby
Hoot Gibson ... Sgt. Brown
Ken Curtis ... Cpl. Wilkie
Willis Bouchey ... Col. Phil Secord
Bing Russell ... Dunker
O.Z. Whitehead ... Hoppy Hopkins
Hank Worden ... Deacon Clump
Chuck Hayward ... Union Captain
Denver Pyle ... Jackie Jo
Strother Martin ... Virgil
Basil Ruysdael ... Commandant
Carleton Young ... Col. Jonathan Miles
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Storyline

A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the commander. The secret plan for the mission is overheard by a southern belle who must be taken along to assure her silence. The Union officers each have different reasons for wanting to be on the mission. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...Rides Where Only The Great Ones Go! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Befehl See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Wayne was having personal problems at home. His wife, Pilar Wayne, had become addicted to barbiturates but Wayne refused to admit her to a private sanitarium. He felt they could conquer her addiction together and brought her along on location in Louisiana. During the filming, however, she began hallucinating and slashed her wrists with a razor, at which point Wayne realized the seriousness of the situation and had her admitted to a hospital back in Encino, CA. The incident was kept out of the newspapers and the public never suspected that the most popular box-office star in America, which Wayne was at the time, was experiencing a personal crisis at home. See more »

Goofs

The rifles used in the movie were the Springfield Trapdoor Carbine - a post war (1870s) weapon. 2 units in Grierson's carried Cosmopolitan breechloading carbines; and one unit carried Colt Repeating Rifles (revolving breach). Both of these weapons are quite interesting. See more »

Quotes

Major Kendall: [pushing Hannah and Lukey into the room] Why don't you ask them what they think your chances are of blowing up Newton Station and heading to Baton Rouge?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: John Wayne (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

I Left My Love
by Stan Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

Where was Maureen O'Hara when casting this one???
2 November 2002 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

I have high praise for THE HORSE SOLDIERS, an absorbing, excellent Civil War movie about the Union cavalry during combat and based on some actual battles according to historians. The only flaw seems to be the casting of Constance Towers as the flirtatious, spirited Southern lady who becomes the unwilling captive of Col. John Marlowe (John Wayne) when he discovers that she is a Confederate spy. She goes along for the ride and provides the film's love interest. While she's certainly a capable enough actress, it's the sort of role that cries for a hot-tempered Maureen O'Hara who must have been busy in another role to pass up this choice romantic lead.

It's the sort of Ford film that must have been hard on the actors, riding through swamps on horseback and engaging in fierce battles when pursued by Rebel forces. William Holden has some wonderful moments as a doctor who is constantly bickering with John Wayne. Their exchanges provide plenty of tension and humor--and both actors are at their best under Ford's direction.

A good Civil War western combining magnificent photography, good performances and some rousing battle scenes. The horrors of war are not ignored and there are some sentimental moments that never strike a false note.


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