The Charge of the Light Brigade

United Artists Released 1968




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Movie Summary

Tony Richardson

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) describes the famous military blunder of 1854 that resulted in a massacre of British forces during the Crimean War. The film features a large ensemble cast of actors and shows the events of the operation through the eyes of both the incompetent aristocrats in command of the troops and the lower-level officers and soldiers on the front lines. Trevor Howard plays Lord Cardigan, who led the Light Brigade in a charge through a valley surrounded on three sides by enemy artillery outposts, a blunder that led to a massive loss of life for the British troops. The film attempts to expose the incompetence of the men responsible without belittling the impressive courage and loyalty of the charge's participants. The film co-stars Vanessa Redgrave, John Gielgud, Harry Andrews, Jill Bennett, and David Hemmings and features an original score by John Addison. It was written by Charles Wood and directed by Tony Richardson.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When this film first opened in London in April of 1968, its director, Tony Richardson, caused a storm of controversy by refusing to show it at a press show in advance of the premiere. He gained a great deal of publicity by referring to the London film critics as "eunuchs"; many felt obliged to praise the film in order to show they were not affected by this insult. However, it eventually emerged that, in fact, Richardson had not finished editing the film by the time of the premiere, and hence it was not in a fit state to be shown to critics a few days earlier. A brief animation sequence was added to the film after the London opening.

  • QUOTES (5)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Captain Lewis Nolan was a real person who was indeed killed at the charge of the Light Brigade; however, he was not involved in the notorious "black bottle" incident of several months earlier, as this film depicts. It was a Captain Reynolds who was accused by Lord Cardigan of ordering a "black bottle" at dinner (which Cardigan insisted was beer, though it was actually Moselle), when officers traditionally drank only champagne. The wine had actually been ordered by the journalist William Russell, who was a guest at the dinner.


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Military & War