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The Charge of the Light Brigade [VHS]

113 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Patric Knowles, Henry Stephenson, Nigel Bruce
  • Directors: Michael Curtiz
  • Writers: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Michael Jacoby, Rowland Leigh
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Harry M. Warner, Jack L. Warner, Samuel Bischoff
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: December 7, 1994
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302120616
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,996 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Why is The Charge of the Light Brigade so rarely even mentioned among Errol Flynn's swashbucklers? It's a terrific movie, something like the peak of spectacular Hollywood action filmmaking and the bravura style of Michael Curtiz. The setting--till the Crimean War climax--is the Indian frontier (impersonated, as so often, by rocky Lone Pine, California), where the 27th Bengal Lancers run afoul of an Oxford-educated slime named Surat Khan (C. Henry Gordon). Flynn and Olivia de Havilland bring real tenderness to two-thirds of a romantic triangle (the other corner is the hero's brother, Patric Knowles). There's the fearsome siege of Chukoti, an unspeakable atrocity, and finally the foolhardy, inspired Charge at Balaklava. The camerawork and editing of that grand sequence never cease to astonish. History (and political correctness) is better served by the 1968 Tony Richardson movie, but for unabashed epic sweep and matchless thrills, this is the one you want. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. Clay Jr. on February 27, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
From the standpoint of history, artistic license abounds in this classic adventure movie. In fairness, the filmmaker posts a disclaimer of the historical veracity of the film right at the beginning. Errol Flynn is at his flamboyant best as dashing English officer, Geofrrey Vickers. He vies with his brother (Patrick Knowles) for the love of Olivia DeHavilland. Romantic sublplots aside, Flynn and an army of supporting actors hold the thin red line of 19th century British imperialism. C. Henry Gordon is evilly conniving as Surat Khan, leader of the fictional Suristan faction. When England cuts off his money, Surat Khan wages war against the British interlopers. After Surat Khan massacres non-combatants at the garrison of Chokoti (sp.?), India is too hot to hold him. In typical Hollywood fashion, the action shifts to the Crimea at Sebastopol where the British face the Russians at Balaklava Heights. As an inside joke, the Russian commander bears an uncanny resemblance to Joseph Stalin. Who should be collaborating with the Russians but Surat Khan? Vickers, still burning with anger over the massacre of innocents, discovers this and he forges orders for the Light Brigade to attack. Under the direction of Michael Curtiz, the slam-bang action sequences of this movie provide memorable thrills. The fighting at Chokoti is both exciting and unsettling as women and children fall before rebel bullets. The staging of the charge is impressive, if controversial. Many of the horses were destroyed because of injuries from the deliberate tripping. As the lancers charge into the face of roaring canon, to the right of them, to the left of them, in front of them, quotes from Tennyson's poem appear on screen.Read more ›
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Here we have one of the ten best Hollywood adventure, historical (with the normal Hollywood bending of the facts) romances of all time. A movie that all later adventure movies, like the Indiana Jones series, owe a dept to and yet you can not find it or 'Gunga Din' or 'The Sea Hawk'etc. on DVD. Every junky movie that lasted only a week in theaters in the past ten years you can find on DVD but hardly any of the CLASSICS from the 30's or 40's. When will Hollywood wake up?
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By John A. Kuczma on December 20, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
The Hollywood version of the Charge of the Light Brigade is one of the most rousing action pictures ever produced. As Errol Flynn vehicles go, it stands perfectly alongside They Died With Their Boots On as superior filmmaking based only loosely on history.
With that said, forget the history lesson and enjoy the movie. Flynn is predictably heroic as Captain, then Major, Jeffrey Vickers of the 27th Lancers. He begins the film in the far reaches of India, first sharing hunting excursions with and later hunting the duplicitous Surat Khan (very villainous and very ficticious).
His romantic interest is the ever beautiful Olivia DeHaviland who, strangely enough, actually falls for Flynn's younger brother, Percy. Ever gallant, Major Vickers ensures that his brother is out of harm's way and safe to return to the woman both love but he cannot have.
Of course, the climax of the film is the charge itself, brilliantly staged with mounting speed, tension and ferocity as the words of Lord Tennyson's immortal poem are superimposed over it. This is one of the most famous and breathtaking action sequences in the history of cinematography, and is well worth waiting through the movie for, although by far not the only piece of derring-do in the film.
If The Charge of the Light Brigade had not remained well known for its charm as a movie, it would have been remembered for a far different reason. The incredible realism of the climactic cavalry charge was achieved at a heavy cost. So many horses were seriously injured or killed in the making of this picture that humane organizations worldwide demanded that such excesses never again be undertaken. The next time you see the disclaimer "No animals were harmed in the making of the film," you now know why.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lance C. Liebl on June 5, 2005
This version of "The Charge Of the Light Brigade" has to be viewed with an open mind. Don't compare it to the movies nowadays with all the computer generated battle scenes. Imagine watching hundreds of actual horses & riders charging in line. The complexity of such a shot is enormous. Unfortunately, hundreds of horses were hurt and placed out of their misery. But that was the common way of doing things then. As for the acting, Errol Flynn is a dashing figure and even his death in the movie has dignity. Personally, I hate his brother (for stealing his girl while he was away), and his former fiance for hurting this hero. She is as much at fault for his death as the enemy. His broken heart definitely leads him in part to his destructive, suicidal end. As a child I loved this film and thru out my 40+ years, I have tried to view it whenever it shows. I obtained a video copy which is very worn now. All I need to say is BRING IT TO DVD. I thought it would be in Errol Flynn's box set recently released but was disappointed not to see it there. One of his best films and the studio still resists putting it on DVD. My children (ages 12 to 21)enjoy the old movies, because I showed them what it means to make a movie without all the technology of today. Those were the days of "lasting" stars, not the "fast shooting and disappearing" stars of today.
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