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The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)

In 1854, during the Crimean War, poor planning leads to a British Light Brigade openly charging a Russian artillery position with tragic consequences.

Director:

Tony Richardson

Writers:

Charles Wood (screenplay), Cecil Woodham-Smith (additional source material "The Reason Why") (as Cecil Woodham Smith)
Reviews
Nominated for 6 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Howard ... Lord Cardigan
Vanessa Redgrave ... Clarissa Morris
John Gielgud ... Lord Raglan
Harry Andrews ... Lord Lucan
Jill Bennett ... Mrs. Duberly
David Hemmings ... Captain Lewis Nolan
Ben Aris Ben Aris ... Lt. Maxse
Micky Baker Micky Baker ... Trooper Metcalfe
Peter Bowles ... Paymaster Capt. Duberly
Leo Britt Leo Britt ... General Scarlett
Mark Burns Mark Burns ... Captain Morris
John J. Carney ... Trooper Mitchell (as John Carney)
Helen Cherry ... Lady Scarlett
Chris Chittell ... Trooper (as Christopher Chittel)
Ambrose Coghill Ambrose Coghill ... Lt. Col. Douglas
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Storyline

A chronicle of events that led to the British involvement in the Crimean War against Russia and which led to the siege of Sevastopol and the fierce Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854 which climaxed with the heroic, but near-disastrous cavalry charge made by the British Light Brigade against a Russian artillery battery in a small valley which resulted in the near-destruction of the brigade due to error of judgment and rash planning on part by the inept British commanders. Written by Matthew Patay

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Theirs not to reason why..."

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Russian

Release Date:

10 August 1968 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Carga da Brigada Ligeira See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Woodfall Film Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Tony Richardson originally wanted Sir Sean Connery for the role of Captain Louis Edward Nolan. See more »

Goofs

During the first battle, the British infantry's bayonets can be seen wriggling as the soldiers advance - showing that they are rubber rather than steel. See more »

Quotes

Lord Cardigan: [during the Battle of the Alma] Lucan, you're a stewstick.
Lord Lucan aka George Charles Bingham: Fetch off!
Lord Cardigan: Poltroon.
Lord Lucan aka George Charles Bingham: Bum-roll!
Lord Cardigan: Why don't you draw your horse from round your ears? Bring your head out of his arse.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits roll over a drawing of a dead horse, with the buzzing of flies in the soundtrack. See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the cinema version was complete the 1993 UK video release was cut by 7 secs to edit footage of horse-falls. The 2008 Optimum DVD has the cuts length extended to 14 secs and features the 6 minutes shorter print as mentioned below. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Portobello road (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Prince Albert's March
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Glover
Arranged by Trevor L. Sharpe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An undiscovered masterpiece.
2 May 1999 | by Hermit C-2See all my reviews

This overlooked masterwork of director Tony Richardson seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth until resurfacing on video a few years back. Seeing it again after a quarter century only made it seem even better.

It's a strong anti-war film but not strident or unfair. David Hemmings as Captain Nolan has his own definite ideas about fighting wars and improving the army. He is revolted by the brutality and stupidity of the officers towards the men, but he has a tragic fatal flaw. He believes that war, the main reason for a soldier's existence, is a proud undertaking that is best fought aggressively. This leads to disaster for him and his regiment.

Shining brightest among a stellar cast is Trevor Howard as Lord Cardigan, who despite his high social position and the finery he surrounds himself with is a brute and a boor. Howard's portrayal is classic. Harry Andrews is also excellent as Lord Lucan, Cardigan's brother-in-law and fierce rival. Of course John Gielgud also excels as Lord Raglan, the tired old soldier who leads the brigade. One weak spot in the movie is that the role played by Vanessa Redgrave seems rather tacked-on without great purpose. The only significant female role is handled well by Jill Bennett.

The charge occurs during the last part of the film and you'll want to watch it again to determine what really went wrong and who was at fault; though let me warn you, those answers aren't at all clear. What is abundantly clear is that this is a superb motion picture that deserves to be more widely seen.


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