6.9/10
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The Lighthorsemen (1987)

PG | | Drama, War | 8 April 1988 (USA)
In 1917 when the British forces are bogged down in front of the Turkish and German lines in Palestine they rely on the Australian light horse regiment to break the deadlock.

Director:

Simon Wincer

Writer:

Ian Jones
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Phelps ... Dave Mitchell
Nick Waters Nick Waters ... Lighthorse Sergeant
John Larking John Larking ... Station Master
John Heywood John Heywood ... Dave's Dad
Di O'Connor Di O'Connor ... Dave's Mum
Shane Briant ... Reichert
Ralph Cotterill Ralph Cotterill ... Gen. Friedrich von Kressenstein
Bill Kerr ... Gen. Sir Harry Chauvel
Grant Piro Grant Piro ... Charlie
Tony Bonner ... Col. Murray Bourchier
Serge Lazareff Serge Lazareff ... Rankin
Gary Sweet ... Frank
John Walton John Walton ... Tas
Tim McKenzie Tim McKenzie ... Chiller
Jon Blake ... Scotty
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Storyline

Palestine, 1917. The British advance has been stopped by the Turkish line running from Gaza to Beersheba. The latest attack on Gaza has failed. The attacking forces included a regiment of Australian mounted infantry, the Light Horse... Lighthorseman Frank is wounded in a skirmish with Bedouin. He is replaced by a young soldier, Dave, who proves to be a crack shot, but reluctant to fire at the enemy. Dave proves himself during a German biplane attack. Recuperating in hospital, he meets a sympathetic nurse, Anne... The regiment is called upon for a bold flanking attack on Beersheba. But how do you convince the Turks the main attack will come at Gaza? And how do you attack across a desert without water? Written by David Stanko

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The fall of an empire... The birth of a legend... A true epic of triumph, courage and adventure! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jinetes de leyenda See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD 10,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,645, 10 April 1988, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's screenwriter Ian Jones has written two books on the Light Horse. They are "The Legend of the Light Horse" (2007) and "The Australian Light Horse" (1987) with the latter being first published in the same year that this film 'The Lighthorsemen' (1987) first premiered. See more »

Quotes

Dave: Hey, Scotty, you're not Scotch, are you?
Scotty: No.
Dave: Then, why do they call you Scotty?
[Scotty thinks]
Scotty: Cause I'm Irish.
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK versions are cut by 6 secs to remove cruel horsefalls. See more »


Soundtracks

AUSTRALIA WILL BE THERE
Music and lyrics by W.W. 'Skipper' Francis
By Arrangement with Allans Music (Australia) Pty. Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Cheering Anzac Fare
25 April 2000 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

I saw only the last half of this one, appropriately enough on Anzac Day, tuning in just as the delicious Nurse Siggy Thornton is writing a love letter that intelligence Major Anthony Andrews is going to mislead Johnny Turk with. So I missed the alleged tedium of the first hour. The film is no doubt best viewed on a big screen, but what I did see in the last hour was the Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba, brilliantly staged and filmed, with hundreds of horses and extras and tonnes of dramatic tension.

The actual battle was an Aussie military success, due in large part to their opponents, especially the Germans, underestimating them. It was a change from Gallipoli, where some of the horsemen had fought a couple of years earlier. It was terribly thoughtful of the Australian commanders to order the attack an hour before sunset when the light is best, and Dean Semler the cinemaphotographer takes full advantage of it. The close camera shots in the battle really give you the feeling you're right in it - there is nothing particularly original about "Saving Private Ryan" made 10 years later.

Yes, it's a cliché-ridden and chauvinistic script. The real villains are the Germans, all from Central Casting's Nazi division, despite this being a movie about the FIRST World War, but the British officers are also portrayed as pretty perfidious - the guys who made snobbery an art form to cover their incompetence. The Turks, though, are shown as brave and worthy opponents, if a little under the Germans' thumb. No doubt John Ford would have done it differently (I'm not sure he would have handled the horses any better) but this is the Australian point of view. A Turkish version would be interesting.

Anyway, worth it for the final battle.


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