John Wayne teams with William Holden and eminent western director John Ford for this frontier actioner "packed with laughter, romance and thrills" (The Hollywood Reporter)! Written by John LeeMahin and Martin Rackin, this ... more »faithful representation of one of the most daring cavalry exploits inhistory is both a moving tribute to the men who fought and died in that bloody war and a powerful, action-packed drama.Based on an actual Civil War incident, The Horse Soldiers tells the rousing tale of a troop of Union soldiers who force their way deep into Southern territory to destroy a rebel stronghold at Newton Station. In command is hardbitten Colonel Marlowe (Wayne), a man who is strikingly contrasted by the company's gentle surgeon (Holden) and the beautiful but crafty Southern belle (Constance Towers) who's forced to accompany the Union raiders on perhaps the most harrowing mission in the war.« less
Angela F. from CHARLOTTESVLE, VA Reviewed on 1/29/2010...
Anyone interested in an entertaining look at one of the many atrocities of the Civil War will find this film to their liking. John Ford was a director, it seems, who sought to understand history. William Holden is very good in this one, as usual.
David P S. from MOLENA, GA Reviewed on 10/2/2009...
good story line
The DUKE rides again!
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 05/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful picture of the war between the states, "Horse Soldiers" follows the story of Wayne leading his troopers in an attack deep into enemy territory. Loosely based on a factual event, the Union must cut off the supply lines to Vicksburg. DUKE leads the raid.This is a fantastic transfer, as others have mentioned. I spotted literally one damaged frame, with a "V" shaped crease in it. The colors blaze off the screeen, and although there are no booklets, inserts, or extras (other than the original trailer), the disc is a real keeper.Although many see this picture as "Ford-lite," there are several classic Ford touches throughout the film. The opening shot of the calvary marching in a sundown silhouette is stirring. The charge of the child soldiers is a great moment (you see Wayne tip his hat to them as he rides off). For me, I like the subtle, "hidden" Ford touches in all of his films, which reveal telling information about characters without the overbearing, in-your-face, and just plain heavy-handed direction in today's movies.In "Horse Soldiers", the dyed-in-the-wool Southern patriot Hannah Hunter has spent several days as prisoner of the Union soldiers. At one point, in order to make her feel better, a soldier gives her a candle for light. Another offers her a fragment of a looking glass. The soldier holds up the broken mirror, and when she looks at her reflection she can see the soldier's Yankee cap over the top of it, as if she wore it herself. That's Ford telling us she's been converted, without slapping us in the face or dumbing it down for us.You'll see familiar Ford faces pop up here and there, too. Jack Pennick is in just about all of John Ford's westerns. Hank Worden and Ken Curtis will be instantly familiar to fans of "The Searchers". Ken Curtis was also in "Rio Grande" and "The Quiet Man", and is probably best known as Festus on "Gunsmoke". O.Z. Whitehead was in "The Grapes of Wrath" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance". Walter Reed was in "Sergeant Rutledge" and "Cheyenne Autumn".Bing Russell, who plays Dunker, is the man gunned down in the saloon in another DUKE movie, "Rio Bravo".Of couse, other familiar faces include Storther Martin and Denver Pyle as a pair of Confederate deserters.This is a really solid cavalry film, with The DUKE in the thick of the action. William Holden is a good match as a foil for DUKE.For those who say DUKE couldn't act, DUKE has a great scene in the Newton Station bar when he reveals why he doesn't like doctors."Horse Soldiers" is an overlooked gem from Ford, only because his more famous films shine that much more."
My Favorite John Wayne Movie
Steve Rawlings | Denver, CO USA | 01/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am an unabashed fan of John Wayne movies from "Stagecoach" to "The Shootist." Among them all, "The Horse Soldiers" is my personal favorite. John Ford captures, in vivid, robust color, the pageantry of the Union and Confederate cavalries. With flags flying, horses pounding, and bugles blaring, Ford and Wayne create sheer movie entertainment. The musical score by David Buttolph perfectly captures the varying moods of the film and complements the stirring visual images. From "I Left My Love" to the "Bonnie Blue Flag," the music accents the film's emotions. William Holden and Constance Towers are well-cast as Wayne's nemesis. The supporting cast is bolstered with many Wayne regulars, including Ken Curtus (Festus from "Gunsmoke"). Many criticize the factual inaccuracies in John Wayne films. So what! He didn't intend to make documentaries, he intended to make rousing, entertaining movies. I will always believe this was his best..."
Ford's Interpretation of Grierson's Raid
Dennis J. Buckley | Harrisburg, PA USA | 06/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Ford was granted license long ago to interpret historical events. After all, he granted it to himself and made no secret of it. Other reviewers are correct that this is Ford's, and John Wayne's, only full length Civil War film, the team's "Shiloh" contribution to _How the West Was Won_ notwithstanding.I have one "if only," but it is a bigee: if only they had left out the insipid, incredible romantic subplot (which adds nothing to plot or picture), this would have been one of the great Civil War movies. I suppose that Ford thought if he didn't add this the ladies would stay away, to which I say, "So what?"With that out of my system, there is still a lot to enjoy in this pic. The usual, Fordian conflicts among strong male characters (notably between Wayne and Holden) are there as are the comic moments ("Now lookee, here. The sun comes up in the east, don't it?" "Well it does in Missouri!" "Well if that's the east, we're ridin' south! Straight into Reb country!"). The plot is standard "dangerous mission" genre. There is lots of action, lots of shooting, and that last obstacle to get by.Wayne's character is interesting. Far from a professional military man, he is a railroad engineer sent, reluctantly, to destroy railroads-- and he has his own reason to hate doctors. Holden is a military doctor with no fear of higher command (Wayne). These two strong personalities play well off one another.Ford has also been unjustly criticized for setting up weak opponents. _The Horse Soldiers_ undercuts that. Nathan Bedford Forrest, an ever lurking presence, dogs the cavalry column which is attacked at least three times. One of these attacks draws from the Battle of New Market (yes, I know that is in Virginia, not Mississippi, where the film is set), and the charge of the VMI cadets in that battle.Visually, the film is magnificent. Even his detractors concede that Ford knew how to do camera work, and he is at his best, here. Great opening song and rousing score.I do come back to my original gripe, though. The Duke did not need a female lead in every film, and it was a mistake to include one, here. Try to ignore that, and enjoy the rest of the film."
The Civil War according to the Duke
Mr. Ted | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | 04/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember the advertisement to The Horse Soldiers today as if the movie was just being released. Way back in 1960, the newspaper ads and trailer all bragged of the big showdown between the Duke, and costar, William Holden.Unfortunately, even at 10 years old, the big showdown was more of a letdown, but that is the only negative aspect of this fine, actioner picture, which was directed by the great, John Ford. This was the only Ford picture set during the Civil War, and he did a masterful job. The story line was simple,Union Colonel Wayne leads soldiers deep into Rebel territory, and Holden as the liberal Army Doctor, whose beliefs often conflict with the Duke's. As in many Wayne-Ford pictures, there are many magic little moments in this picture which all combine to a thrilling and heart-stopping conclusion. I firmly recommend the Horse Soldiers,especially on DVD. If you have never seen it in wide-screen format, you are in for a real treat. If you are a John Wayne fan from way back, but have already seen The Horse Soldiers, mount up and join the cavalry ride one more time. And who knows, you may even sing along with them this time."
Wonderful transfer to DVD!!
Carolyn Falconer | Upstate, NY | 05/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been watching this film on video & laserdisc for the last dozen, or so, years. Never have I seen such a fine print! The beautiful technicolors come shining through. The reds, blues, & yellows are all brilliant & vibrant. As for the story, it is a wonderful telling of a union army raid deep into the south, that's based on a true Civil War incident. There is real chemistry between Wayne & Holden. And John Ford's masterful directing skills are evident throughout. Great job MGM on this DVD!"