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The Red Badge of Courage


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Product Details

  • Actors: Audie Murphy, Bill Mauldin, Douglas Dick, Royal Dano, John Dierkes
  • Directors: John Huston
  • Writers: Albert Band, John Huston, Stephen Crane
  • Producers: Dore Schary, Gottfried Reinhardt
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 69 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007G1ZO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,966 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Red Badge of Courage" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Psychological study of an untried young Union soldier who panics in his first encounter with the enemy but regains his courage and emerges a hero. Based on Stephen Crane's novel. Screenplay by John Huston.

Amazon.com

John Huston's The Red Badge of Courage, like Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons, is a heartbreakingly beautiful film mutilated by its studio after a disastrous preview process. You can--and should--read the fascinating production history in Lillian Ross's Picture. Picture is a classic--and so's the movie, even in a 69-minute reduction featuring a climactic Civil War battle that has Stephen Crane's young hero wearing his red badge of courage, then not wearing it, then wearing it again (MGM editor-in-chief Margaret Booth recut two different battles into one). Most-decorated-soldier-of-WWII Audie Murphy was chosen to star ("a gentle little killer," Huston mused); the shadow of WWII is also felt in the casting of war-front chronicler Bill Mauldin as Murphy's pal, and in Huston's own experience making his great battlefield documentary San Pietro. The panoramas evoke Mathew Brady, and Huston's closeup framing brings a psychoanalytic intensity to the terrified young soldier's inner turmoil. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

The black and white photography is grainy and much of it is shot in shadow, adding to the intimacy and the authenticity of the film.
Linda Linguvic
Only after watching this movie did I realize that Audie Murphy is the most decorated soldier in WWII and hence an excellent choice for portraying a war hero.
Classic Movie watcher
Because the movie was so short, the studio sent it out as a "B" picture; considered as such it's probably the best "B" picture ever made.
Bomojaz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Kat on October 30, 2004
Format: DVD
This movie is a Matthew Brady photo come to life. While it is true that the leads, Audie Murphy and Bill Mauldin, were not professional actors, they were cast for their wonderful faces and the fact that they had actually been through a recent war. Considering what Murphy had been through, his innocence and boyishness is a joy to behold. And they are surrounded by pros such as Andy Devine, Bill Easton and Royal Dano - as well as the usual Huston cronies. It has many moving vignettes - the captured Rebs being questioned by their Yankee peers, Andy Devine, as the jolly soldier, leading Murphy back to his unit, the General falling to prayer before battle, Murphy confessing his cowardice to Mauldin, the General promising to have supper with the men, etc...

The narration was added later because the studio had no confidence in Murphy being able to convey the story. This was years before Hollywood understood how effective non-professionals could be if directed properly. The studio also hated the General's high-pitched voice and so dubbed in a different actor and, of course, the complete butchering of whole scenes which reduced the movie to about 55 minutes.

With all its faults, this is one of Huston's true beauties.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 28, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
John Huston directed this film adaptation of the famous Steven Crane
novel. As soon as it was finished, he left to work on The African
Queen, leaving the editing in the hands of the studio. But it was
1951, the height of the McCarthy era. There was a movement in this
country against anti-war films. And so the film was cut to a mere 69
minutes, which put it into the category of a "B" movie to be
shown only as a second feature. That was a full fifty years ago, and
in spite of the supposed butchering job on the cutting room floor, the
film definitely has stood the test of time. Of course I will never
know what the original was supposed to be. And I haven't even read the
novel. But I sure am glad I saw this video.
I understand that Steven
Crane wrote the book in 1894, which was a full thirty years after the
Civil War. He was 22 years old at the time and had never actually been
in a battle himself. He was trying to say something about war and
courage and human nature rather than about the specific war. And so
his work is unique among the vast body of writings about that awful
period of history that tore at the heart and soul of our
country.
Audie Murphy stars as The Youth and, with the exception of
Andy Devine who has a small role lasting no more than a minute, the
rest of the cast are unknowns. They all portray Union soldiers and we
first see them bored and anxious to fight a battle. They brag about
their courage and how they all intend to stand firm in the heat of
battle. The Youth has his doubts and the tension mounts as the
inevitable battle tests them all. Frightened, The Youth flees. Later
though, he returns and proves his manhood.
Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on December 6, 2005
Format: DVD
The Youth (Audie Murphy) finds his first taste of battle to be more than he'd bargained for.

Although it's over fifty-years-old, John Huston's adaptation of Stephen Crane's THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE holds up remarkably well. Crane's novel of youth, written when Crane was in his early twenties, is an exploration of the nature of courage as measured in the crucible of battle. Civil War battle, to be exact. The Youth - that's how he's listed in the credits - along with the Loud Soldier (Bill Mauldin,) the Tall Soldier (John Dierkes,) and the rest of his regiment are marching to the battlefield shortly after the movie opens.

The `red badge' in the title is a battle scar, proof to the world - and yourself - that you have sufficient courage to belong. Whether that type of physical courage is today so highly and universally esteemed is debatable. Certainly Mauldin and especially Murphy, two still-youth heroes of the Second World War, won't resonate with later audiences. Mauldin enlisted in the army in 1940, and while in the service created the cartoon characters Willie and Joe, two average GIs fighting in Europe. Willie and Joe appeared in Stars and Stripes and won for Mauldin the Pulitzer Prize in 1945. Murphy was the most decorated combat American combat soldier of the war. Mauldin and Murphy's real-life courage was unquestioned, and Huston's use of the two in lead roles in canny. It adds a unique layer of immediacy and realism to the story.

There's a loose-limbed, deep focus, tight close-up look to the film that puts us under the skin of our universal Everyman soldiers. Murphy always seemed somewhat stiff as an actor, but here Huston keeps the dialogue short and concentrates on the darting eyes and pursed lips of the unproven youth. It works surprisingly well.
Read more ›
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Red Badge is an example of a great film that the Hollywood studio system almost destroyed, and did chop to pieces. Huston's masterpiece was originally longer. Studio bosses opposed his casting and script; they rearranged scenes and, yet, could not ruin the overall quality that Audie Murphy and John Huston created. Two books tell the story of Audie's best movies: PICTURE by Lillian Ross, and A THINKER'S DAMN by William Russo. Each recounts in extraordinary detail how great movies are made--and then unmade. Read them to understand Audie's movies better.
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Does it have bad language?
I haven't watched it in a while but this was a studio production so no crude language. As I recall the narration & dialogue sticks with the novel.
Aug 23, 2007 by John Thompson |  See all 3 posts
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