They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

Approved   |    |  Biography, Drama, Romance


They Died with Their Boots On (1941) Poster

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.


7.2/10
5,444

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  • Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
  • Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
  • Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
  • Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
  • Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
  • Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

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30 September 2002 | robertguttman
Balderdash on the Little Bighorn, though first rate balderdash.
This is Custer's last stand, through the Warner Brothers' mill. As a 'biopic', "They Died With Their Boots On" is pure poppycock. One cannot help but admit, however, that Errol Flynn was the ideal choice to play the part of the dashing leader of the doomed 7th Cavalry. Of course, the part wasn't exactly a stretch for him. After all, Flynn had already led "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and portrayed George Armstrong Custer's real-life enemy, Confederate Cavalry General Jeb Stuart, in "Sante Fe Trail" (in which future-President Ronald Reagan depicted Custer).

Appearing opposite Flynn is his ubiquitous co-star, Olivia De Havilland, as Custer's faithful wife Liddy. It has often been said that behind every great man lies a great woman. In Custer's case, that was true to a large extent. The real Liddy Custer spent the rest of her life promoting her late husband's larger-than-life heroic reputation. In that sense, the genesis of this fanciful film might be laid at her door.

Rounding out the fine cast is a young Anthony Quinn as a surprisingly sympathetic (for a 1940s movie) version of Chief Crazy Horse. In fact, Crazy Horse actually comes off as the most sympathetic character in the entire film. Quinn delivered a rather more restrained performance here than was usual in many of his later films. Of course this wasn't the first time he had appeared as a Native American in a movie, but this role was a definite step up because this time Quinn got to play a Native American as a character, and actually deliver some lines.

Of course, action is what any Errol Flynn movie is all about and, in that respect, "They Died With Their Boots On" delivers in spades. Warner Brothers must have collected every horse, rider and pair of boots in Hollywood for the spectacular climax. Surely Custer himself would have approved of Flynn's final scene. One can almost imagine Custer's ghost saying; "Even if that wasn't the way I really died, it certainly is the way I should have".

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Genres

Biography | Drama | Romance | War | Western

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