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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The DUKE rides again!
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,...
Published on May 13, 2001 by Mark Savary

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie..HORRIBLE blu-ray transfer
Who is responsible for this mess?? I have standard dvd's looking better than this..Amazon should have some sort of disclaimer about the poor quality of transfer............This movie deserves better!
Published on June 14, 2011 by Phillip


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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The DUKE rides again!, May 13, 2001
This review is from: The Horse Soldiers (DVD)
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.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Civil War according to the Duke, April 19, 2001
By 
Mr. Ted (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Horse Soldiers (DVD)
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.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite John Wayne Movie, January 30, 2000
By 
Steve R. (Denver, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Horse Soldiers [VHS] (VHS Tape)
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...
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ford's Interpretation of Grierson's Raid, June 8, 2000
By 
Dennis J. Buckley (Harrisburg, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Horse Soldiers [VHS] (VHS Tape)
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Civil War Film from John Ford, December 6, 2001
This review is from: The Horse Soldiers (DVD)
THE HORSE SOLDIERS is an unusual cavalry movie from director John Ford. Usually Ford gives us an image of the United States Cavalry in all its might and splendor defending the frontier against Indians against the backdrop of Monument Valley. In THE HORSE SOLDIERS the cavalry, again commanded by John Wayne is relegated to a mission during the Civil War deep behind Confederate lines. They are on a mission of mayhem and destruction, which is repugnant to Wayne. This is really contrary to earlier Ford films where the cavalry is a defender of society. William Holden, the doctor assigned to Wayne's staff is there to remind Wayne of just how futile War is and that his own talents as a doctor are being squandered in the conflict. This is actually a great film from Ford and it is a treat because Civil War films have always been too few and far apart. This is a film about duty, loyalties and misconceptions. The images in this film are indelible. The scene where the Confederate military school sends out its young boys to face Wayne's cavalry is unforgettable. The film also asks the viewer through its images some hard questions about the nobility of the Southern society vs. that of the rag tag looking Union cavalry. This is a much deeper film than it appears or has been given credit. As for the DVD, the print is sharp and very attractive looking.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful transfer to DVD!!, May 11, 2001
This review is from: The Horse Soldiers (DVD)
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!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Ford At His Best, September 6, 2002
By 
This review is from: The Horse Soldiers (DVD)
Director, John Ford, seemingly never made a bad movie and the list of his really good ones is long. "The Horse Soldiers" is one of his best. Ford portrayed the cavalry exceptionally well, capturing in near perfect detail the equipment, the formalities and drill, and all of the realities of this long defunct service. His "Cavalry Trilogy", set in the West during the Indian Wars will never, I suspect, be equalled. "The Horse Soldiers", based on a true Civil War event, is very close to the Trilogy in richness of story and characterization. It follows a raid by a large force of Union cavalry deep into the heart of the Confederacy. Wayne plays the role of Col. Marlowe, whose stern dedication to duty and the realities of operating behind enemy lines brings him into conflict with the regiment's idealistic surgeon, played by Willaim Holden. The only negative aspect of this film is the love interest, which was required in films of that time. Constance Towers is a "fifties girl" placed in the middle of a Civil War movie, and it is more than a minor distraction. Modern films like "We Were Soldiers" and "Black Hawk Down" don't have this element because girlfriends don't suddenly appear in the middle of a battle. Be that as it may, this is still a highly entertaining movie. If you like John Ford's work or would like to know why his films are still highly regarded, see this film. Similarly, if you are looking for a good story well told, you will not be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good cavalry war picture in full fordian style, February 4, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Horse Soldiers [VHS] (VHS Tape)
There's always something you know very well that you like to see again in every picture filmed by John Ford.Here we are again with the glory of fighting South shining in every frame .The young proud southerner lady.The wound ridden confederate officer at the railway station.The boys of the military school A bit of love out of mutual respect from the lady and the hardened yankee officer.The blacks faithful to their owners. And look at the horse soldiers, the scouts.Silhouettes on the fading light of the day. You know very well every glorious frame,you have already seen it a dozen times in a dozen or so Ford's pictures.But you never feel tired of them.You stay there and look.The film flows into your eyes,camera always pans slowly, to let you have the time to follow people,horses,background,clouds,and all that belongs to the art of this unique film director that was John Ford.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Wayne and Ford, June 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Horse Soldiers [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I have to dispute Leonard Maltin's claim that this movie would only be rated a "medium" by Ford buffs. As a fan of Wayne/Ford's Western trilogy ("Fort Apache," "Yellow Ribbon," and "Rio Grande"), my opinion is that "The Horse Soldiers" rates up there with them.
The movie may not be truthful to the actual events which inspired it, but is thoroughly entertaining. What separates this movie from some of Wayne's others is that Wayne's character is complemented by a strong adversary/ally, played by Holden. Not many actors can match the screen presence of Wayne, but Holden certainly does so.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not A Stellar Blu-ray...but an improvement on the old DVD, May 12, 2011
By 
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If you're expecting a superb "The Searchers" type restoration or truly classic western you may be disappointed. "The Searchers" was from VistaVision (larger negative) elements and in Technicolor and had a complete restoration. "Horse Soldiers" is from normal (non anamorphic) 35mm and in inferior Eastman Color by Deluxe. The original 35mm. theatrical prints of "Horse Soldiers" never looked all that good and this Blu-ray is about as good as it will ever look considering the available material. It's had no major restoration work and probably never will. It's definitely an improvement on the old non-anamorphic DVD though and considering the low price (the same as the old SD DVD as I write this) it's probably worth upgrading to if you're a John Wayne and/or John Ford fan. Not Ford's best but still a pretty entertaining civil war era western with a lively musical score by David Buttolph, mostly based on traditional civil war tunes. Wayne and Holden work well together and the supporting cast (including many Ford regulars) is fine. Weak link in the cast in my opinion is Constance Towers although it's probably more the fault of that silly dialog she's forced to deliver early in the film than Ms. Towers herself. The only extra (as on the DVD) is the original theatrical trailer and that's pretty entertaining too.
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Horse Soldiers
Horse Soldiers by John Ford
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