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They Died with Their Boots On (1-Jan-1942)

Director: Raoul Walsh

Writers: Wally Kline; Aeneas MacKenzie

Music by: Max Steiner

Keywords: Western, Biography

George Armstrong Custer is nearly expelled from West Point, fights in the Civil War, and meets his end at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. A rousing adventure tempered only slightly by a love story; it is the most significant and remembered portrayal of Custer in the history of cinema, albeit one in which nearly every historical detail is fabricated or omitted. Final pairing of Flynn and De Havilland.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Olivia de Havilland
1-Jul-1916   Gone With the Wind
Errol Flynn
20-Jun-1909 14-Oct-1959 Robin Hood
Charley Grapewin
20-Dec-1869 2-Feb-1956 Tobacco Road
Sydney Greenstreet
27-Dec-1879 18-Jan-1954 Kaspar Gutman in The Maltese Falcon
Walter Hampden
30-Jun-1879 11-Jun-1955 Prominent American theater actor
Arthur Kennedy
17-Feb-1914 5-Jan-1990 The Man from Laramie
John Litel
30-Dec-1892 3-Feb-1972 Two Dollar Bettor
Gene Lockhart
18-Jul-1891 31-Mar-1957 Algiers
Hattie McDaniel
10-Jun-1893 26-Oct-1952 Mammy in Gone with the Wind
Anthony Quinn
21-Apr-1915 3-Jun-2001 Zorba the Greek
Stanley Ridges
17-Jul-1890 22-Apr-1951 Black Friday
Joe Sawyer
29-Aug-1906 21-Apr-1982 Character actor 1930s to 1950s
Regis Toomey
13-Aug-1898 12-Oct-1991 Burke's Law
Minor Watson
22-Dec-1889 28-Jul-1965 Guadalcanal Diary


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
George P. Huntley, Jr.   ...   Lt. "Queen's Own" Butler
Frank Wilcox   ...   Capt. Webb
Joe Sawyer   ...   Sgt. Doolittle
Minor Watson   ...   Sen. Smith


Review by John Levin (posted on 23-Sep-2007)

While not the most factual version of the Custer story, Errol Flynn was ideal for the role aside from his Aussie twang. This was the first of eight Flynn-Raoul Walsh collaborations and one of the best. There are two major set-pieces: one with Arthur Kennedy as a gunrunner for the Indians and the other when he says goodbye to his wife played by Olivia Dehavilland.In retrospect, their last scene together is especially poignant since it would be the last of their eight pairings on film. A rousing effort and unforgettable in its own way.

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