They Came to Cordura ()

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An army major, himself guilty of cowardice, is asked to recommend soldiers for the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Mexican Border Incursion of 1916.


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Cast verified as complete

Major Thomas Thorn
Adelaide Geary
Sgt. John Chawk
Lt. William Fowler
Cpl. Milo Trubee
Pvt. Andrew Hetherington
Pvt. Renziehausen
Colonel Rogers
Carlos Romero ...
Capt. Paltz (as James Bannon)
Colonel DeRose
Maurice Jara ...
Mexican Federale
1st Correspondent
2nd Correspondent
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wendell Hoyt ...
Cavalry Trooper (uncredited)
Maggie ...
Parrot (uncredited)

Directed by

Robert Rossen

Written by

Ivan Moffat ... (screenplay) &
Robert Rossen ... (screenplay)
Glendon Swarthout ... (novel)

Produced by

William Goetz ... producer

Music by

Elie Siegmeister

Cinematography by

Burnett Guffey ... director of photography

Film Editing by

William A. Lyon

Editorial Department

Henri Jaffa ... color consultant

Production Design by

Cary Odell ... (uncredited)

Art Direction by

Cary Odell

Set Decoration by

Frank Tuttle ... (as Frank A. Tuttle)

Costume Design by

Jean Louis ... (uncredited)

Makeup Department

Clay Campbell ... makeup artist
Helen Hunt ... hair stylist
Armiene ... hairdresser (uncredited)
Ben Lane ... makeup artist (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer ... makeup artist (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Carter De Haven Jr. ... assistant director: second unit (as Carter DeHaven Jr.)
Milton Feldman ... assistant director
James Curtis Havens ... second unit director (as James Havens)
R. Robert Rosenbaum ... assistant director (uncredited)
David Salven ... assistant director (uncredited)
Roger Slager ... assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

Ray Bassell ... lead man (uncredited)
Irving Goldfarb ... props (uncredited)
Edward Goldstein ... props (uncredited)
Harry Hopkins ... props (uncredited)
David Horowitz ... props (uncredited)

Sound Department

John P. Livadary ... recording supervisor (as John Livadary)
George Cooper ... sound mixer (uncredited)
Sol Jaffe ... mikeman (uncredited)
Harold Lee ... recordist (uncredited)
Ernest Reichert ... sound editor (uncredited)
George Ronconi ... cableman (uncredited)


May Boss ... stunt double: Rita Hayworth (uncredited)
John Cason ... stunt double: Van Heflin (uncredited)
Jack Conner ... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Tony Epper ... stunts (uncredited)
Clem Fuller ... stunts (uncredited)
Doug Gunther ... stunts (uncredited)
Walt La Rue ... stunts (uncredited)
Fred Lerner ... stunts (uncredited)
Dean Smith ... stunts (uncredited)
Slim Talbot ... stunt double: Gary Cooper (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Frank G. Carson ... second unit photography
Morris Bauchman ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Albert Bettcher ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jack Botthof ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Coburn ... still photographer (uncredited)
Willard Klug ... grip (uncredited)
Eugene Lenoir ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Andrew J. McIntyre ... camera operator (uncredited)
Walter Meins ... grip (uncredited)
Don Murphy ... grip (uncredited)
Val O'Malley ... camera operator (uncredited)
Emil Oster ... camera operator (uncredited)
Clyde Prior ... grip (uncredited)
James Saper ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Charles Stapleton ... best boy (uncredited)
Homer Van Pelt ... still photographer (uncredited)
Seldon White ... gaffer (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Tom Dawson ... costume supervisor: men (uncredited)

Music Department

Arthur Morton ... orchestrator
Morris Stoloff ... conductor / musical director (uncredited)

Script and Continuity Department

Doris Grau ... script supervisor (uncredited)

Additional Crew

Paul R. Davison ... technical consultant (as Col. Paul Davison U.S.A.{Rtd.})
Ivan Connors ... ramrod (uncredited)
Rolly Harper ... caterer (uncredited)
'Chema' Hernandez ... head wrangler (uncredited)
A.W. Kennard ... parrot trainer (uncredited)
Mary Lou Tobler ... stand-in: Rita Hayworth (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

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Plot Summary

After a cavalry charge during the 1916 U.S. "war against Pancho Villa," unheroic awards officer Tom Thorn (who is obsessed with the nature of courage) recommends 4 men for the Medal of Honor. He is ordered back to Cordura with them...and prisoner Adelaide Geary, gringo who sheltered the enemy. On the arduous journey, Thorn's heroes show a different face, and Thorn may have one last chance to prove he's no coward. Written by Rod Crawford

Plot Keywords
Taglines Slashing Story of a Desert Warrior Who Fought His Way From HELL TO GLORY ! See more »
Parents Guide Add content advisory for parents »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Ceux de Cordura (France)
  • Héroes de barro (Spain)
  • Llegaron a Cordura (Spain)
  • Au venit la Cordura (Romania)
  • コルドラへの道 (Japan, Japanese title)
  • See more »
  • 123 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $4,000,000 (estimated)

Did You Know?

Trivia Besides looking far too old for his character, Gary Cooper was quite ill during shooting, and participated in this film against the advice of his doctors. Towards the end he was dragged 100 yards along the ground by a railroad handcar, something film critic Stanley Kauffmann complained about in an issue of New Republic. See more »
Goofs Major Thorn improperly salutes Colonel DeRose in the opening scene when he is dismissed. He should have saluted and held his salute until it was acknowledged. Instead, he lowers his arm even before Colonel Rose acknowledges it. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Rita Hayworth (2011). See more »
Crazy Credits Opening credits prologue: On the night of March 8th, 1916, a large mounted force of Mexican rebels under Pancho Villa crossed the American Border and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing and wounding both American civilians and soldiers. As a result of this action,the United States Army sent an expedition into Mexico with orders to capture Villa and disperse his forces. It was during this campaign that one man, an United States Army officer,was forced to come face to face with two of the great fundamental questions that affect mankind: What Is Courage? What Is Cowardice? This is the story of his search for an answer. See more »
Quotes Major Thomas Thorn: Did you ever see the Medal of Honor?
Private Renziehausen: No, Sir.
Major Thomas Thorn: It's the most beautiful decoration of all, as it should be. I'd trade an ear for one any time, two in fact.
Private Renziehausen: Excuse me, Sir, but I'd rather have the ear.
See more »

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