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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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Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Rosalind Russell
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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:

The heroic saga of Custer's Last Stand! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The character of Lt. "Queen's Own" Butler, an Englishman, is a composite of two real-life officers of the 7th Cavalry who were immigrants from other parts of the British Empire and came to the US to fight in the Civil War: Capt. Myles W, Keogh, an Irish immigrant who is, by tradition, credited with introducing the song "Garryowen" to the regiment; and Lt. William W. Cooke, a Canadian who was the Regimental Adjutant (as Butler was in the film) and was known as "Queen's Own" Cooke. See more »

Goofs

In several scenes (as Custer rides into the Black Hills, and later during his charge at the Little Big Horn) the sky as originally shot was apparently later replaced as a visual effect. The clouds are out of sync with the motion of the camera against background hills and the other elements of the shots. See more »

Quotes

Crazy Horse: [raising his hand to start a peace conference] Crazy Horse, war chief Sioux, speak with Long Hair, war chief Great White Father.
George Armstrong Custer: [raises his hand also] I listen to my brother.
See more »

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 »


Soundtracks

My Country Tis of Thee
(uncredited)
Music written by Henry Carey (1744)
Played as part of the score
See more »

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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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