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      The Charge of the Light Brigade

      PG-13 1968 2h 8m History Drama List
      60% Tomatometer 5 Reviews 59% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings During the Crimean War between Britain and Russia in the 1850s, a British cavalry division, led by the overbearing Lord Cardigan (Trevor Howard), engages in an infamously reckless strategic debacle against a Russian artillery battery. An inept chain of command and the arrogance of the aristocratic officers nearly destroys the brigade. Interpersonal wars within the unit, including unfaithful wives and a rivalry between Lord Cardigan and Captain Nolan (David Hemmings), heighten the conflict. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

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      Eddie Harrison film-authority.com a politically astute look at failure and blame deserves better than a rather musty reputation suggests Rated: 4/5 Feb 18, 2022 Full Review Penelope Houston The Spectator It is pretty, but how much of it is relevant? Jul 12, 2018 Full Review Ken Hanke Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) The Charge of the Light Brigade now seems brilliant and to the point. Rated: 4.5/5 Aug 4, 2010 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 2/5 Jun 11, 2005 Full Review Filmcritic.com Rated: 2.5/5 Jun 19, 2001 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Andy F A stunning film with great character detail and a blistering performance from Trevor Howard. The animations are an absolute delight. A standout historical drama from a war that is often forgotten about. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 12/04/23 Full Review Audience Member Britain had not fought in a European theatre since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and the army had become sclerotic and bound by bureaucracy. Tactical and logistical methodology had not advanced in forty years, and the whole ethos of the army was bound in outmoded social values. The anti-hero is a relatively competent officer, Captain Louis Nolan (David Hemmings). A veteran of the British Indian Army, Nolan is unusual in the hierarchy of his day both for having combat experience and for having acquired his commission through merited promotion as opposed to purchase. As such he regards many of his colleagues, who are mostly aristocratic dilettantes casual about squandering their subordinates' lives, with contempt. Nolan's superior is the gruff Lord Cardigan (Trevor Howard), who treats the regiment under his command as his personal property and who dislikes Nolan as an "Indian" officer with a native Indian servant. Cardigan's men are typical of the common soldiers of their day; though reasonably well-equipped – compared with the Russians – they are also poorly trained and supplied. They endure squalid living conditions and are punished mercilessly for the slightest missteps in their duties. Nolan soon gets into a highly publicised feud with Cardigan, who is angry at him for ordering Moselle wine at a banquet where all guests were to drink champagne. British forces are led by Lord Raglan (John Gielgud), a Waterloo veteran and an amiable, vague-minded man who proves a poor commander. Despite having been a disciple of the recently deceased Duke of Wellington for decades, he has not his military flair. As campaign preparations begin he is preoccupied with a bad mistake he made while allotting commands, requiring Lord Cardigan to lead the Light Cavalry Brigade under his equally unpleasant arch-rival and brother-in-law Lord Lucan (Harry Andrews), who has been appointed to command the Cavalry Division. Captain Nolan, enlisted as Raglan's aide, is glad to get away from Britain; it gives him an escape from the morally uneasy affair he has been having with Clarissa Morris (Vanessa Redgrave), the wife of his best friend William (Mark Burns). Also travelling with the British command is the 8th Hussars' paymaster's wife named Fanny Duberly (Jill Bennett), who wants to observe battle first-hand (and be near Lord Cardigan, with whom she is infatuated). Britain and its ally France travel to the Crimea, where they march inland to attack the strategically important city of Sevastopol. Along the way the British forces are ravaged by cholera, an occurrence met with palpable indifference by their commanders. Captain Nolan, although no friend of his subordinates, is frightened to see the army's organisation fall apart as men are consumed by the disease. When the outbreak passes, British and French forces win at Alma, but Lord Raglan refuses to allow the cavalry to press the advantage, so concerned is he with keeping the cavalry as an undamaged reserve. As a result, the Russians reinforce the road to Sebastopol, necessitating a series of further battles before the British even reach the city... The film was not screened to critics in advance of its release with Richardson writing to The Times newspaper criticizing English critics as "spoilt and demanding children" and that they were "the most personal, the most superficial and with the least good will in the world". Despite this, the film received generally positive reviews but proved a box office bomb. The film was produced during a time of public frustration over the Vietnam War, and it has been argued that in retrospect it can be seen as a warning against military interventions in other lands. This film shows a chronicle of events that led to the British involvement in the Crimean War against Russia and which led to the siege of Sevastopol and the fierce Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854 which climaxed with the heroic, but near-disastrous cavalry charge made by the British Light Brigade against a Russian artillery battery in a small valley which resulted in the near-destruction of the brigade due to error of judgment and rash planning on part by the inept British commanders. David Hemmings as Captain Lewis Nolan and and Trevor Howard as Lord Cardigan are both in worked up mode adding weight to a film that unfortunately is more slapsticky than dramatic in my opinion. Which is also my huge disappointment with this film. I had hoped for something more along the line of "Zulu" from 1964. The storyline wobbles and there´s too much dry English aristocratic humuor. There´s a nice costume drama look and feel and plenty of intriguing environments and battle sequences, but as said, it´s more of a comedy than drama which is simply not of my liking. Trivia: By the time production finished, it was the most expensive British movie ever, and its tumultuous production generated negative press. This movie was produced during a time of public frustration over the Vietnam War. Some have argued that, in retrospect, it can be seen as a warning against military interventions in other lands. Filming was immensely problematic. Director Tony Richardson fired a stunt coordinator whose manic swordplay killed several horses. An earthquake destroyed the hotel used by the production. David Hemmings was extremely temperamental on-set. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Good battle scenes conflict with a slow-moving storyline. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member This isn't a bad film. It's a Far Cry from the 1936 version, both films being very different from each other. it reminded me of Zulu Dawn in many ways except The Charge of the Light Brigade is probably slightly better. Both films start off slow then speed up towards the end as the battles begin. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member The (in)famous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. Starting from several months earlier, we see the potential origins of and background to the debacle, as seen through the eyes of one of the chief orchestrators of it, Captain Lewis Nolan. Decent but disappointing. The amount of time devoted to the battle, and even the Crimean War itself, is quite limited, around 30-40% of the movie. Instead what we have is a lot of time spent on background and, although some of it is necessary, it is vastly overdone, taking about the first hour or so. These scenes have some interesting sub-plots and do show well the relationships that would doom the brigade, but have a lot of padding and is often quite dull. Plus we go into Nolan's private life and relationships, an area that was unnecessary, uninteresting, badly done and boring. Then there's the segue-providing animation that probably require you to be high to appreciate (well, the movie was made in 1968) - random and often nonsensical. Sort of reminded me of Terry Gilliam's cartoons in Monty Python episodes, except that there they were funny and made more sense. The dullness and inanity of the first 60-70% or so is made up for by the battle scenes of the remainder. Very accurate depiction of what occurred, especially the command issues and communication breakdown that lead to the disaster. The last bit also reminds you how much potential the movie had. By cutting out the fluff from the first half and adding in a more complete picture of the Battle of Balaclava, especially things like the Charge of the Heavy Brigade and the defensive stand by the 93rd Highland Regiment ("The Thin Red Line"), this could have been a great movie. At least this isn't as bad as the 1936 version of The Charge of the Light Brigade, starring Errol Flynn, though would take a lot to be that bad. The 1936 version totally rewrote the history of the charge, it was that contrived and inaccurate. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Audience Member While the film takes some liberties with the true event, the film works brilliantly as a broad satire of war, as illustrated by Richard Williams' strange and dreamlike animations. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Charge of the Light Brigade

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis During the Crimean War between Britain and Russia in the 1850s, a British cavalry division, led by the overbearing Lord Cardigan (Trevor Howard), engages in an infamously reckless strategic debacle against a Russian artillery battery. An inept chain of command and the arrogance of the aristocratic officers nearly destroys the brigade. Interpersonal wars within the unit, including unfaithful wives and a rivalry between Lord Cardigan and Captain Nolan (David Hemmings), heighten the conflict.
      Director
      Tony Richardson
      Producer
      Neil Hartley
      Production Co
      United Artists
      Rating
      PG-13
      Genre
      History, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Sep 16, 2008
      Runtime
      2h 8m
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