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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is a Matthew Brady photo come to life
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...
Published on October 30, 2004 by J. Martello

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but somewhat cheesy
Good to see some of the well known actors. Hard to follow the story line. Jumps around too much. Thanks
Published 9 months ago by Jeff Legg


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is a Matthew Brady photo come to life, October 30, 2004
By 
J. Martello (Little Silver, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (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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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine film about war and courage and human nature, August 28, 2001
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. The story is as simple as
that.
There is also a narrator in the story, reading excerpts from the
pen of Steven Crane. The language is beautiful and adds depth to the
simple conversations of the soldiers. 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. There was a literary rhythm to it all
and it added intensity.
The role called for excellent acting and Audie
Murphy was perfect. I understand that in real life he won national
fame as the most decorated GI in WW2, winning 45 medals. He led a
turbulent life, plagued by what is now known as post traumatic stress
syndrome. A compulsive gambler, he won and lost fortunes, was addicted
to prescription sleeping pills and was once acquitted of attempted
murder charges stemming from a fistfight. But all that came later. In
1951, he was perfect for the role of The Youth. Recommended
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audie Murphy's best film, December 6, 2005
This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (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. THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE is famous as a butchered film, one the studios took from the director and cut by some twenty minutes. In fact, the running time for this one is a little over an hour, more suitable for a Boston Blackie episode than a major feature release. Huston, the story goes, was outraged but diverted by preliminary work on his next project, The African Queen. This is probably all so, but whoever did the re-cut knew what they were doing. The finished product is a trim, muscular story that benefits from its brevity.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Film, November 19, 1999
By A Customer
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie that could have been even better, February 15, 2003
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (DVD)
John Houston's story of a young Union soldier who overcomes his fear of battle is wonderful. Audie Murphy's portrayal is stirring and quite lifelike, the movie doesn't portray any super human motives, but a simple soldier who is quite naturally scared going into battle and overcomes his fear. However, Houston doesn't allow Murphy's character to get into excessive machoism either, as he finds out that many of his comrades did the same thing he did, turn and run. Had the movie execs not chopped this movie up, it could have been even better. As it is, it's a bit too short and lacking in details such as the battles portrayed in the movie patterned after a real battle. The unit portrayed isn't even mentioned until the end of the movie. It would have been fun to follow Murphy's character's unit through the war.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If this Great film is what we get with people messing with it, what a masterpiece it would be if restored, March 26, 2007
This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (DVD)
One of John Huston's better films(and that is saying a lot) the studio re cut this into what he called "A ...damn mess." Well even in this mess a great masterpiece has been formed. Audie Murphy(World War II's most decorated hero and only in his teen's I believe) plays the youth of the story and brings more talent than anyone ever gave him credit for to the role. You see the fear of battle in him and you can feel it through the screen also. His reaction to cannon and rifle fire remind me of my uncle who served in Nam and how he reacted to the sounds of battle after that.In this day and age of DVD's someone should try to find the lost footage to this and re cut it like Mr. Huston wanted it done so we can all see that Mr. Murphy was more than just a hero, he was a very talented actor who wasn't given the due he should have gotten while he was with us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Decent War Movie, July 6, 2011
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This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (DVD)
I showed The Red Badge of Courage to my eighth grade class after we studied the American Civil War. It was refreshing to watch a war movie without obscene language and sexual content. Bravery was foremost in the movie and it allowed viewers to get a glimpse of the realities of war. Stephen Crane did an exceptional job paralleling Henry's struggle with his weakness to fight and eventually his courage to overcome.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mangled but not totally destroyed, May 21, 2006
By 
Bomojaz (South Central PA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (DVD)
Butchered by studio heads after director John Huston had wrapped production and left to make THE AFRICAN QUEEN, this is one of Huston's finest pictures and a terrific adaptation of Stephen Crane's great Civil War novel. Audie Murphy plays Henry Fleming, the Union soldier who talks the talk about seeing action for the first time, but can't walk the walk when it finally comes, and flees in the middle of battle.

Huston had filmed two battle scenes, though they were combined into one by the film editors; it's still the highlight of the picture and among the best battle scenes ever filmed, thanks mainly to the excellent photography by Harold Rosson. The original version that Huston shot is apparently lost forever, but this shortened one is still an excellent piece of movie making. 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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We's all from Tennessee...., February 9, 2006
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This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (DVD)
This movie is a real gem and John Huston does a remarkable job in creating a fairly realistic looking Civil War environment. You won't find any overweight re-enactors aiming their rifles at the sky and not showing any signs of fear. No this movie provides actors and men like Audie Murphy and Bill Mauldin, who knew well what real war was all about. The battle scenes are quite good for the period in which they were filmed and certainly have a more realistic feel than some of the battle scenes depicted in more recent Civil War "epics".

This movie doesn't focus its attention on who was right or wrong on either side. It simply tells the story of one Union private's struggle to master his fears and serve his regiment with courage and honor.

And as readers may guess from my review title, my favorite moment in this film is when Private Fleming and his comrades ask where their newly captured Confederate prisoners hail from. This meeting of boys from Ohio with boys from Tennessee is a very moving moment and speaks volumes about the American Civil War. Set aside the politics, the need to sanctify the cause of either side and you are left with the boys, North and South, hailing from states that were in those years every bit their country, for which they were more than willing to lay down their young lives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie of an outstanding book, November 9, 2010
This review is from: The Red Badge of Courage (DVD)
This short 69 minute black and white 1951 film stars Audie Murphy in the John Huston film about a youth evolving into a man during a Spring 1862 battles of the Civil War. The title Red Badge of Courage refers to the badge given soldiers who are wounded, what is called today, a purple heart. Henry Fleming is the youth who is deadly afraid, especially frightened of becoming a coward and running away during the battle. Ironically, he is played by Audie Murphy the most decorated hero of World War Two. The narration in the film is quotes from Crane's masterpiece, a book written when Crane was only twenty-two years old. His language is superb. Murphy plays his part superbly. Viewers can see the fear in his face and gestures. The direction of the film is excellent, as is the scenery, and the acting by the supporting cast.

During the first attack by the confederate soldiers, the youth was firm. But then, during the second attack, when many of his fellow union soldiers turned and ran, he ran too. He ran around the periphery of the battle field and was hit on the head by another union soldier who was running away. He went back to his unit somewhat dazed, not knowing where else to go, and claimed that he had been fighting on the right flank, and that he was shot in the head. No one had seen him running, so no one knew that he had acted cowardly.

The unit is ordered to attack, and the youth, without thinking, rushes to the front to fire at the enemy soldiers. Then when the flag bearer falls dead, the youth lays down his rifle, takes up the flag, rushes to the front, and leads the unit with shouts of encouragement. His unit wins the battle, people talk of the youth's heroism, he turns from a youth into a man; but, as it is in life, a general who was not anywhere near the youth during the battle, got all the credit.
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The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage by John Huston (DVD - 2003)
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