THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON
DIRECTED BY RAOUL WALSH
PRODUCED BY ROBERT FELLOWS/ HAL B. WALLIS
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Information from IMDb
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.
Written by garykmcd
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 ... Lt. 'Queen's Own' Butler (as George P. Huntley Jr.)
Frank Wilcox ... Capt. Webb
Joe Sawyer ... Sgt. Doolittle (as Joseph Sawyer)
Minor Watson ... Sen. Smith
Eleanor Parker ... Bit Part (scenes deleted)
Eddie Acuff ... Cpl. Smith (uncredited)
Tod Andrews ... Cadet Brown (uncredited)
Irving Bacon ... Uniform Salesman (uncredited)
Walter Baldwin ... Settler (uncredited)
Roy Barcroft ... Officer (uncredited)
Hank Bell ... 1st Michigan Officer (uncredited)
Brooks Benedict ... Well-Wisher (uncredited)
Hobart Bosworth ... Mr. Cartwright - Clergyman (uncredited)
Truman Bradley ... 7th Michigan officer (uncredited)
Virginia Brissac ... Woman (uncredited)
Walter Brooke ... Cadet Rosser (uncredited)
Jack Budlong ... Cavalryman (uncredited)
Lane Chandler ... Sentry (uncredited)
Spencer Charters ... Station Master (uncredited)
G. Pat Collins ... Corporal (uncredited)
Clancy Cooper ... Train Conductor (uncredited)
Joseph Crehan ... President Ulysses S. Grant (uncredited)
Wade Crosby ... Bartender in Ft. Lincoln (uncredited)
Steve Darrell ... Officer (uncredited)
Joe Devlin ... Joe - Bartender in Monroe (uncredited)
George Eldredge ... Capt. Riley (uncredited)
Martin Faust ... Officer (uncredited)
Frank Ferguson ... President Grant's Secretary (uncredited)
Francis Ford ... Veteran (uncredited)
William Forrest ... Adjutant (uncredited)
Dick French ... Officer (uncredited)
Alberta Gary ... Jane - Kitchen Maid (uncredited)
Sol Gorss ... Adjutant (uncredited)
Jesse Graves ... Black Servant (uncredited)
John Hamilton ... Colonel (uncredited)
Carl Harbaugh ... Sergeant (uncredited)
Weldon Heyburn ... Staff Officer (uncredited)
Herbert Heywood ... Newsman (uncredited)
Russell Hicks ... Colonel of 1st Michigan (uncredited)
Max Hoffman Jr. ... Sergeant Reading Telegraph Copy (uncredited)
Edna Holland ... Nurse (uncredited)
William Hopper ... Lt. Frazier (uncredited)
Selmer Jackson ... Capt. McCook (uncredited)
Annabelle Jones ... Bacon's Maid #2 (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... Congressman (uncredited)
Fred Kelsey ... Bartender at Ft. Lincoln (uncredited)
Joe King ... Chairman of Hearing (uncredited)
Paul Kruger ... Officer (uncredited)
Harry Lewis ... Youth (uncredited)
Vera Lewis ... Head Nurse (uncredited)
Arthur Loft ... Tillaman (uncredited)
Ian MacDonald ... Soldier (uncredited)
Frank Mayo ... Orderly (uncredited)
Sam McDaniel ... Waiter Serving Custer (uncredited)
Patrick McVey ... Cpl. Jones (uncredited)
Frank Mills ... Barfly (uncredited)
Jack Mower ... Telegraph Operator (uncredited)
George Murphy ... Cavalryman (uncredited)
Anna Q. Nilsson ... Mrs. Taipe (uncredited)
Frank Orth ... Barfly (uncredited)
Eddie Parker ... Sentry (uncredited)
Bob Perry ... Officer (uncredited)
Aileen Pringle ... Mrs. Sharp (uncredited)
George Reed ... Charles - Waiter Serving Gen. Scott (uncredited)
Renie Riano ... Nurse (uncredited)
Addison Richards ... Adjutant (uncredited)
John Ridgely ... 2nd Lt. Davis (uncredited)
Virginia Sale ... Nurse (uncredited)
Robert Schoenhut Sr. ... Sioux Warrior (uncredited)
James Seay ... Lt. Walsh (uncredited)
Garland Smith ... Officer (uncredited)
Hugh Sothern ... Maj. Smith (uncredited)
Harry Strang ... Orderly (uncredited)
Ray Teal ... Barfly (uncredited)
Jim Thorpe ... (uncredited)
Minerva Urecal ... Nurse (uncredited)
Dick Wessel ... SSgt. Brown (uncredited)
Gig Young ... Lt. Roberts (uncredited)
Victor Zimmerman ... Colonel of 5th Michigan (uncredited)
Wally Kline (screenplay) and
Æneas MacKenzie (screenplay)
Lenore J. Coffee additional dialogue (uncredited)
Jack Budlong died after falling from his horse onto his sword.
Untrained rider George Murphy was killed when he fell from his horse while drunk.
Because of a shortage of native Americans in Hollywood, Warner Bros. imported 16 Sioux from the Dakotas.
To fill the background with "Indians", hundreds of Filipino extras were filmed while the 16 Sioux were used for the close-ups.
This was the eighth and final film pairing of Errol Flynn with Olivia de Havilland. The last scene they filmed together was Custer's parting with his wife before his final campaign.
Because of new union laws, producers were forced to use regular screen extras without stunt experience. In the opening days of shooting 80 were injured and 3 were killed. The filming of the "Last Stand" sequence from this movie involved some 200 horsemen charging around in pretend battle and was so dangerous that one day during filming Anthony Quinn, who played Crazy Horse, arranged as a gag for a hearse to show up at the filming location.
The highest regular Army rank attained by Winfield Scott was actually Major General. Lieutenant General was a brevet (temporary) rank. The First regular Lieutenant General would be Ulysses S. Grant, promoted to the rank in March of 1864. General Scott was also one of three veterans of the War of 1812 still listed in the rolls of the regular Army at the start of the Civil War.
According to 'The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats' a total of three men were killed during the cavalry charge scene. Bill Mead's horse tripped while riding alongside Errol Flynn. As he was going down, the stuntman had the presence of mind to throw his sword forward to avoid it, but bad luck caused the hilt to get stuck in the ground and Mead fell on it, impaling himself.
Several tire tracks can be seen towards the end of the movie when the 7th Cavalry is chasing Crazy Horse and the Indian war party.
After Queens own Butler has refused to take the letter back to Ft Lincoln, the camera shows a side shot of California's head and he has what appears to be a hearing aid in his ear.
When the Michigan Cavalry charges at Gettsyburg they appear to be carrying a 35-star flag (straight rows of 5x7). Use of the 35-star flag went into official effect on 4 July 1863 (following the admission of West Virginia into the Union), which happens to be the day after Custer's Michigan Brigade fought Stuart at Gettysburg.
Upon Custer's first arrival at Fort Abraham in Lincoln, ND, a soldier announcing his arrival is standing in front a 1930s era plaque memorializing the fort's founding.
Custer, who died June 25, 1876, is shown in a two shot kissing his wife Elizabeth while wearing a Civil War Campaign Medal. The first Civil War Campaign Medal was issued on May 26, 1909. The medal's two color ribbon (blue and gray) shown in this black and white film was not in use until August 12, 1913.
1940s-era overhead electrical lines are seen several times during the Civil War battle at Hanover.
In an early scene, set in 1857, Custer refuses to reveal the name of the cadet who has played a prank on him, saying instead "his name is mud." That phrase did not originate until 1865, after Dr. Samuel Mudd was implicated in Lincoln's assassination (for treating John Wilkes Booth's broken leg).
Boom mic visible
During the office scene where they are discussing which cadets can be graduated early, you can see the shadow of the boom mic on the wall in the left rear of the room.
During The Battle of Little Big Horn, California Joe is shot in the back by two arrows but as he utters his last words to Custer there is only one arrow in his back.
Crew or equipment visible
Before Butler is run through with a lance, the shadow of the prosthetic is visible on the ground.
Errors in geography
In the scene where Mr. Bacon speaks with the preacher as he collects rents, mountains are clearly visible over the rooftops. There are no mountains anywhere near Monroe, Michigan.
In the film, Custer is awarded a medal. In reality, he never received any decoration, though he did receive honorary (brevet) promotions for gallantry. The only medal awarded by the government, or the Army, was the newly developed "Medal of Honor", which George Custer never won - though his brother Thomas was one of three soldiers in the Civil War (along with only sixteen others since then) to receive it twice.
The movie shows Custer and the 7th charging with their sabers, hard to do as they did not bring them along on this campaign.
As Custer meets Libby while walking his "Punishment Tour" at West Point, he's carrying a Springfield muzzle-loader but, the musket has no ram-rod which was essential to its loading. That might be the least of the mistakes in this scene since history records that Elizabeth "Libbie" Bacon never met Custer while he was at West Point; she met him in 1862, almost a year after he left the Military Academy.
Phil Sheridan was never Commandant of West Point during Custer's time there as portrayed in the film. In fact, he was only nine years older than Custer and, having graduated from West Point in 1853, was only a First Lieutenant at the outbreak of the Civil War, not a Colonel.
By the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, Winfield Scott had been retired from the army for over a year.
In the film, George Armstrong Custer argues that there is no gold in the Black Hills, but in reality, he led the 1874 expedition that discovered gold near French Creek.
Numerous times during the film, Libbie Custer refers to General Phil Sheridan as "Uncle Phil". In fact, no family relationship existed between the two and there is no evidence that she knew him in any way independently of her husband's association with him. Custer was, however, one of Sheridan's favorite officers, and it's possible that she might have considered a familial relationship of sorts existed between them.
Libbie Bacon's father was, as portrayed in the film, against the idea of his daughter marrying Custer, but not because Custer insulted him in a bar. Judge Bacon thought Custer, who was from a humble background, was of insufficient social standing to deserve his daughter's hand. The judge relented only after Custer was promoted in 1864 to the brevet rank of Brigadier General.
When Custer finds Sharp selling guns to the Indians he says, "You know these Winchesters will out distance our Springfields". Actually, the Springfield .45-70 has a much farther range than the .44-40. (The Winchester though did have a much faster firing rate.)
Among the many historical inaccuracies is the fact that Crazy Horse and Custer never met each other face to face. Given Crazy Horse's relative anonymity, it is also unlikely that he would have been recognized had he in fact been captured prior to the Little Big Horn.
While the film has Custer offered $10,000 to become President of Sharp's railroad company, the position for which he was actually offered $10,000 in gold (and requested a leave of absence from the Army) was to serve as an Adjutant General in Benito Juarez's army in Mexico.
On June 28, 1863, three days prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, General Pleasonton promoted Custer from captain to brigadier general of volunteers.
Grant graduated from West Point in 1843, ranking 21st in a class of 39. Not at the bottom of his class as stated in the movie.
During the final battle, a trooper struggling with an Indian is shot in the back with an arrow by another Indian. The outline of the square block under his clothes into which the arrow was fired can be clearly seen.
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.
Lasky Ranch, Agoura, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Alhambra, California, USA
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Stages 6, 9, 26, 28, 28A
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Watch this Clip/ Gary Owen