The Red Badge of Courage

Synopsis: Plot centers around how a young recruit (Audie Murphy) faces the horrors of war. Character vascilates between wanting to fight and doubting his own courage. In midst of first bloody encounter, Youth runs away. After seeing dead and wounded, sense of shame leads him back to his unit, where he distinguishes himself in the next battle. Having overcome his fear of "the great Death" he knows e can face whatever comes. Somewhat sentimental "coming of age" tale was pet project of John Huston, who fought MGM over casting of Murphy and Bill Mauldin in lead roles.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): John Huston
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
69 min

The Red Badge Of Courage was written

by Stephen Crane in 1894.

From the moment it was published...

it was accepted by critics

and public alike...

as a classic story of war.

And of the boys and men who fought war.

Stephen Crane wrote this book

when he was a boy of 22.

Its publication made him a man.

His story is of a boy who, frightened...

went into a battle and came out of it...

a man with courage.

More than that, it is a story

of many frightened boys...

who went into a great Civil War...

and came out as a nation...

of united, strong and free men.

The narration you will hear spoken

consists of quotes...

from the text of the book itself.

Spring, 1862.

The bloody war between the states.

Tales of great movement shook the land.

Marches, sieges, conflicts.

But for the untried army

on the Rappahannock...

war was simply a matter of waiting...


and endless drilling.

Regiment, march!

Right, march!

Left, march!



I reckon I'll dig some worms

and go fishing.

Yeah? The fish ain't biting.

But there's nothing else to do.

Now that my tent's got a plank floor...

it's comfortable as home.

I only need a rocking chair.

I just like to sit and rock.

How's things?

Just like they was yesterday,

and the day before, and will be tomorrow.

I wouldn't be too sure about tomorrow,

if I was you.

- What do you mean?

- Nothing.


Sure you mean something.

Come on. Tell me like a good feller.

- Can you keep it to yourself?

- Of course I can.

I know a fellow that's got a brother...

who's an orderly

up at division headquarters.

This fellow's brother

saw some orders last night.

The orders said this here army

is going up the river, cut across...

and coming around in behind the Rebs.

- Thunderation!

- Yeah, you just wait.

Tomorrow you're going to see

the biggest battle you ever saw.

You just wait.



The army's going to march.

We're going up the river. Cut across,

and come around in behind the Rebs.

It's a lie. A thundering lie! I don't believe

this old army is ever going to move.

You believe it or not, I don't give a hang.

I believe you. I'll tell you why.

I finished laying a plank floor for my tent.

I held off all winter,

because I thought we'd move.

Come spring,

I decided we're here for good.

So I started the plank floor.

That's probably what got things going.

- What's that, Wilson?

- No more drilling.

It's going to be out-and-out fighting.

What are you talking about?

A feller I know saw the orders.

We'll go up the river, cut across,

and come around in behind them.

But why are we going up the river

instead of down...

where the land's flat and clear?

We could stand up to each other

and have a proper fight.

This way, it's all hills.

We'll be climbing more than fighting.

You don't understand, Bill Porter...

There was a youthful private...

who was deeply troubled

by the talk of his comrades.

They were so sure of their courage.

Have you heard the news, Henry?

You mean about the battle?

Yeah. We're going up the river, cut across,

and come around in behind them.

Likely as not, this story will turn out

just like all them others did.

You just wait till tomorrow.

You'll see real out-and-out fighting.

What do you think, Jim?

I can't believe

they'll keep drilling us forever...

- and it's getting nigh onto that.

- Jim?

How do you think the regiment will do?

They'll fight all right, once they get into it.

We'll be on them like wildcats.

They won't know what hit them.

Think any of the boys will run?

There may be a few,

but there's their kind in every regiment...

especially when they first go under fire.

But the boys come of good stock mostly.

I figure they'll do better than some.

Worse than others.

We'll chew them up

and spit them out in little pieces.

Did you ever think you might run,

too, Jim?

I thought it might

get too hot for Jim Conklin...

in some of them scrimmages.

If a whole lot of the boys started to run,

I suppose I'd start and run.

If I once started to run,

I'd run like the mischief, and no mistake.

But if everybody

was standing and fighting...

I'd stand and fight.

By Jiminy, I would. I'll bet on it.

- What's wrong, Henry? Scared?

- Scared? Me?

Of course not. What a dumbfool question!

I am, a mite.

So they were at last going to fight.

Tomorrow, perhaps,

there would be a battle...

and he would be in it.

Was it possible that he would be

a part of a great battle in a great war?

In the darkness he saw visions

of a thousand-tongued fear...

who would babble at his back,

and cause him to flee.

Who goes there?

It's me, Yank. Just me.

Move back into the shadows, Yank.

Unless you want

one of them little red badges.

I couldn't miss you,

standing there in the moonlight.

Are you a Reb?

That's right.

I don't see much point

in us sentries shooting each other...

especially when

we ain't fighting no battle.

So, if you'll just get out of the moonlight...

I'll be much obliged to you.

Thanks, Reb.

That's mighty polite of you, Yank,

to thank me.

I take it most kindly.

You're a right dumb good feller.

So, take care of yourself.

Don't go getting one of them

little red badges pinned on you.

Left, march!

Move. Halt!

Forward arms!

Shoulder shift!

"No more drilling," he says.

"That's all behind us now.

"From now on it's going to be

out-and-out fighting," he says.


Who says?

- Why, Tom Wilson.

- What Tom Wilson?

Arms out! Forward!

The one who knows

everything in the world.

- That Tom Wilson.

- You can all go...

We can all go up the river, cut across,

and come around in behind them.

Wait till we fall out.

I'll learn you something.

Private Wilson, step forward.

Was that you talking in ranks? Speak up!

- Darn it all, Lieutenant.

- Answer yes or no.

Yes, sir.

Private Wilson, six hours extra duty.

Fall back.

Arms out! Forward!

Two! Dismissed!

I want a word with you, Porter.

All we ever do is drill.

I'm getting mighty sick of it.

Thunder, I joined up to fight!

I want to smell gun smoke for once.

What are these guns for, anyway,

to shoot or to drill with?

Might as well be broomsticks.

We'll get our orders one of these days.

I reckon that day will come soon enough.

Not for me, it won't.

I wish I was as full of fight

as some of you fellas.

Guess I just ain't high-spirited enough

to be a good soldier.

Hey, fellas!

Tom Wilson and Bill Porter

are going to have a fistfight!

- Hit him on the nose, Porter.

- Give it to him, Wilson!

Looks like they're scared of each other.

How about a little action?

What is this, a fistfight or a round dance?

- Can I have the next waltz?

- Come on, let's see something!

Grab your knapsacks! We're marching!

We're going!

Here we go, boys!

He felt alone in space.

No one else seemed to be wrestling

with such a terrific personal problem.

He was a mental outcast.

What did I tell you?

Are we going up the river or ain't we?

Who was right?

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John Huston

John Marcellus Huston (; August 5, 1906 – August 28, 1987) was an Irish-American film director, screenwriter and actor. Huston was a citizen of the United States by birth but renounced U.S. citizenship to become an Irish citizen and resident. He returned to reside in the United States where he died. He wrote the screenplays for most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Misfits (1961), Fat City (1972) and The Man Who Would Be King (1975). During his 46-year career, Huston received 15 Oscar nominations, won twice, and directed both his father, Walter Huston, and daughter, Anjelica Huston, to Oscar wins in different films. Huston was known to direct with the vision of an artist, having studied and worked as a fine art painter in Paris in his early years. He continued to explore the visual aspects of his films throughout his career, sketching each scene on paper beforehand, then carefully framing his characters during the shooting. While most directors rely on post-production editing to shape their final work, Huston instead created his films while they were being shot, making them both more economical and cerebral, with little editing needed. Most of Huston's films were adaptations of important novels, often depicting a "heroic quest," as in Moby Dick, or The Red Badge of Courage. In many films, different groups of people, while struggling toward a common goal, would become doomed, forming "destructive alliances," giving the films a dramatic and visual tension. Many of his films involved themes such as religion, meaning, truth, freedom, psychology, colonialism and war. Huston has been referred to as "a titan", "a rebel", and a "renaissance man" in the Hollywood film industry. Author Ian Freer describes him as "cinema's Ernest Hemingway"—a filmmaker who was "never afraid to tackle tough issues head on." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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