The Charge of the Light Brigade

  • Film
  • Action and adventure
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If the 1935 Hollywood version enshrined Tennysonian heroics, this revisionist spectacular sees the strategic bungling that doomed the Light Brigade as an emblem of Victorian England's moral inadequacy. The jingoistic media (represented by the period caricatures in Richard Williams' splendid animated interludes), an establishment hidebound by ideological intransigence, the lower classes grist to the mill of colonial domination, Richardson lays it all bare. Vietnam's never far from the equation either. Still, coherent drama never emerges from the combination of righteous anger, detailed historical trappings, a stellar cast and Charles Woods' wondrously flowery dialogue. Chief sins are an extraneous romantic subplot and flaccid pacing early on, but the climactic carnage is chilling indeed, and Gielgud and Howard are cherishably distracted and ornery respectively as the military top brass. Bitty, yet fascinating, it's never quite the film it ought to have been.

Release details

Duration: 141 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tony Richardson
Screenwriter: Charles Wood
Cast: Trevor Howard
Vanessa Redgrave
John Gielgud
Harry Andrews
Jill Bennett
David Hemmings
Peter Bowles
Mark Burns
Howard Marion Crawford
Mark Dignam
Alan Dobie
Willoughby Goddard
TP McKenna
Corin Redgrave
Norman Rossington
Helen Cherry
Rachel Kempson
Donald Wolfit
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