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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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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 ... Major Romulus Taipe
John Litel ... General Phil Sheridan
Walter Hampden ... William Sharp
Sydney Greenstreet ... Lt. General 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 ... Captain Webb
Joe Sawyer ... Sergeant 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:

ERROL FLYNN - OLIVIA DEHAVILLAND Wonderfully co-starred again in their biggest hit together 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

This was the eighth and final film pairing of Errol Flynn with Olivia de Havilland. See more »

Goofs

When Judge Bacon speaks with the preacher as he collects rents, mountains are clearly visible over the rooftops. There are no mountains anywhere near Monroe, Michigan. See more »

Quotes

[Custer addresses the officers after his arrival at Fort Lincoln]
George Armstrong Custer: We're responsible for the protection of 100,000 square miles of territory. And against us are ranged thousands of the finest light cavalry on earth. I found that out this morning. It's a big job, gentlemen... and it's gonna need a fine regiment. Our job is to make this the finest regiment that the United States ever saw. I needn't tell most of you that a regiment is something more than just six hundred disciplined fighting men. ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

When the film was released in West Germany in 1952, the local distributor chose to cut ca. 58 minutes, as the theme of the film was deemed 'too american'. The first time the film could be seen in its complete form was in the 90s when a newly redubbed version was shown on TV. See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land
(1860) (uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played by the band at West Point when southern soldiers leave at the start of the Civil War
See more »

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User Reviews

Hollywood history a real 'hoot' of a film
23 June 2003 | by realbobwarnSee all my reviews

This film covers George Armstrong's life ('Auty' to his family and friends) from his induction to West Point to ..... well ...... when he gets the chop.

It is a well researched film where the film makers chose to ignore almost all of the facts .... while referring to them at a 'safe distance' (but nonetheless it manages to include a lot that is 'reasonably' factual), and is played with much humour by the late great Australian actor, Errol Flynn.... until the last scenes, of course.

Its many faults accepted, the scope of the film far exceeds any other depiction of Custer yet made, including some of his Civil War exploits and in part explains why his defeat had the impact on US society at the time, as it did, and has been and still is, the subject of fascination by so many for so long. (But the film sells him short here, glossing over his many remarkable civil war exploits, including the fact that it was Custer's Michigan Cavalry Division which defeated the legendary Confederate General J. E. B. ('Jeb') Stewart, in an engagement in which Stewart was killed. It also does not acknowledge that Custer was a '2**', or Major Gen (at age 23!), depicting him as Brig Gen - or '1*'. And he was not accidentally promoted to General as portrayed - but the hillarious scene in the mess tent when news of his promotion arrives, is by all accounts, true - as apparently is the equally funny first encounter in a saloon with his father-in-law to be.)

As to the film ...... its a 'hoot' .... and correctly captures Custer's 'dashing' personality. While the final battle scene is incorrect (better portrayed in TV's 'Son of the Morning Star') the action is excellent. The poignant scenes with Olivia de Havilland at the end as he departs for his final, fateful journey illustrate the magnificent chemistry between these two actors in the last film in which they played together. (The scene with the pocket watch is correct also .... I have seen the watch at the battlefield museum..) The Garry Owen is a star of the film and is still the marching song of the present day 7th.


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