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Red Badge of Courage

16 Ratings: 2.9
1951 film directed by John Huston
1 review about Red Badge of Courage

This is an outstanding film of a great book

  • Nov 9, 2010

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. 

This is an outstanding film of a great book This is an outstanding film of a great book This is an outstanding film of a great book

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