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In Pursuit of Honor
In Pursuit of Honor
Actors: Don Johnson, Craig Sheffer, Gabrielle Anwar, Bob Gunton, James Sikking
Director: Ken Olin
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Drama
PG-13     2001     1hr 51min

Based on a true story, five cavalry officers are in a race against time, risking their honor and their lives to save four hundred horses destined for destruction by the US Army.


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Movie Details

Actors: Don Johnson, Craig Sheffer, Gabrielle Anwar, Bob Gunton, James Sikking
Director: Ken Olin
Creators: Stephen F. Windon, Anne Hopkins, Darryl Sheen, Jeffrey M. Hayes, Larry Peerce, Marian Rees, Dennis Lynton Clark
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Drama
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/08/2001
Original Release Date: 03/18/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 03/18/1995
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 51min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 7/6/2019...
have always loved this movie
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

There is a proper way to retire horses in the U.S. calvary
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 01/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In 1930 General Douglas MacArthur was appointed chief of staff of the U.S. Army and attempted to modernize the Army. In June 1932 he used not only tanks and troops of cavalry with drawn sabers, but also infantry with fixed bayonets to attack the Bonus Army in Washington, D.C., claiming the outrageous idea of American troops attacking former members of the Army who had served in the First World War was justified because the nation was on the verge of a communist revolution.

While that infamous moment in American military history is the prologue for "In Pursuit of Honor," Dennis Lynton Clark's script tells what happened in 1935 when MacArthur changed the cavalry from men on horseback to men in tanks and ordered the destruction of hundreds of horses. The decision does not sit well with old Sergeant John Libbey (Don Johnson) and his other NCO's, but it is young Lt. Marshall Buxton (Craig Sheffer) who decides after watching the infantry gun down a hundred horses that they are not going to let the same thing be done to any more of the creatures. For these men it is a question of honor and they think when their service is no longer required horses should be treated the same way as former soldiers. Of course, the film's prologue amply proves that MacArthur (James Sikking) is willing to gun down old soldiers along with old horses.

Libbey is certainly an old soldier at home in the saddle and Buxton is young, a West Point graduate, but they have in common a tendency to be insubordinate when it comes to matters of honor. Libbey refused to ride down the women and children of the Bonus Army just because ordered to do so by Colonel John Hardesty (Bob Gunton), who is the officer MacArthur sends west to do the changeover. Buxton knows nothing about Hardesty's past, but he knows that what the Army is doing to this horses is wrong and in a split-second he makes a decision to save the rest of the horses.

Since the army base on the American-Mexican border is south of them, the soldiers take the horses north and Hardesty sets off in pursuit with his mechanized force. Unfortunately director Ken Olin made "In Pursuit of Honor" for television, which means the budget for depicting an epic chase between horses and machines was never there. There is an entire dimension to this story with regards to the disadvantages of trying to find roads to travel on in the U.S. in 1935 in pursuit of a bunch of horses.

The best parts of this television movie are out in the middle of no where with the five soldiers and their hundreds of horses. Johnson's performance is the cornerstone of the film, caught up in the attempt to save the horses without really pausing to consider the implications of what it means for any of them. However, the whole ideal of the big confrontation that is building throughout the film ends up becoming something of an anticlimax by the time it is finally played out, although why is not exactly clear. While the horses are heading north we have a subplot involving Colonel Owen Stuart (Rod Steiger), the retired former leader of the cavalry, who goes to the nation's capital to try and convince MacArthur of the mistake he is making, and his daughter, Jessica (Gabrielle Anwar), a young reporter.

The suggestion is that something bigger than the military is going to save the day, but that does not really prove to be the case. If anything, the lesson of this 1995 movie is that the honor of the U.S. Army is where it has always been, in the hearts of its non-commissioned officers. The officers can give all the commands they want, but the sense of what is right and wrong in the military comes in the looks of not only Sgt. Libbey's companions, Sgt. Thomas Mulcahey (John Dennis Johnston), Sgt. James Shattuck (Robert Coleby), and Sgt. Sean Quinlain (Neil Melville), put a pair of non-coms who are involved in the pursuit, Sgt. Ernest Gruber (Peter Curtin) and Sgt. Nathaniel Rutherford (Brian McDermott).

In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent MacArthur to organize the defense of the Philippines, a fact that is not related at the end of "In Pursuit of Honor." Actually, there is not any sort of scroll of information at the end to let us know what happened to the participants in this true story. But the idea that FDR would boot MacArthur to the other side of the globe for thinking shooting several hundred horses is a good idea is certainly a decision you would want to applaud (although Herbert Hoover having done it three years earlier would be even better)."
Hollywood, Not History
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 06/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is an very entertaining action yarn -- and that is just what it is, pure fiction. The previous reviewer who blasted the film as fiction is apparently correct. Although the US Cavalry Association and the MacArthur Foundation thoroughly researched this alleged incident, they were unable to find anything remotely like it that actually occurred in history. The Cavalry Association contacted the film's writer and was told that it was based on a story the writer had heard from "3 old sergeants" (quoted from an e-mail received by this reviewer from the Cavalry Association.) Both organizations wrote to HBO requesting that the film's billing, "Based on a true story" be removed from the film. But since Hollywood often doesn't much care for the truth with its products, they were ignored.So, moviegoer, enjoy a good action tale, but until or unless HBO decides to divulge the actual source(s)of this allged "true story", don't believe a line or scene of it as regards the slaughter and rescue of the horses it portrays.As for the film itself, it is very entertaining and all members of the cast do a nice job with it. I am giving it a 4 star rating for its entertainment value alone; a NO STAR rating for its apparently false claim of being "based on a true story." Good cast, nice locations, and a depiction of the "brown shoe" army that existed between the World Wars not often depicted on the screen make it enjoyable to watch."
An enjoyable movie with *some* basis on historical events
Odiseph | 02/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those viewers with prior service, especially during wartime, will enjoy "In Pursuit of Honor" all the more.Perhaps the biggest surprise was how admirably well Don Johnson carried off the roll of a battle hardened old boot. The director and writer "hollywoodized" some events and created a film which brought tears to this old sergeant's eyes. The depiction of General MacArthur is appropo; but the body of the movie is the plight of a small contingency of men against tall odds and direct orders.Would this country ever destroy cavalry horses? We left behind "legions" of finely trained military dogs (K-9's) in Vietnam where a staple is canine flesh. The two main excuses I was told in the field were: budget cuts and the fear of spreading heartworms. There were innumerable instances which defied commonsense and ethics during the Vietnam War, errr, Conflict.Reality check time. The era depicted in this film is a time of the United States history which has been clouded by agenda and spin. There were marches in the streets, payrolls were cut, veteran benefits were cut, pensions were cut, veterans were clubbed, millions were suffering for lack of food and housing (tons of federally stored milk, butter, and cheese were destroyed instead of being distributed to the needy), as told to me by my Grandfather who served as cavalry blacksmith during and after World War I. He later crosstrained into cooks. Either way, he said, there was no getting away from horses....:p"