I would say this is one of the lesser known war movies but that says nothing about its quality.
I already mentioned this movie for its portrayal of a soldier who is unable to shoot.
Lighthorsemen is wonderful for many reasons. It tells the true story of the Australian Cavalry´s participation in WWI in Palestine. British and Australian troops had to confront the German and Turkish forces. The Light Horse had already fought in many battles, among them at Gallipoli. The movie´s realism is convincing. The character portraits are nicely drawn. One soldier is more likable than the other and we slowly get to know each one in the regiment, and follow them from the early beginning to the battle scenes. This is one of those movies in which you really care about the protagonists. There is even a love story between Dave, the soldier who can´t shoot, and a nurse but it is discreetly kept in the background.
The essential story line of Lighthorsemen follows the 4th Light Horse Brigade in Palestine in 1917 until the battle of Beersheba where they achieve what 60000 infantry men could not do. They break through the entrenched infantry and free the city. This is not an easy endeavor. The heat is scorching, water is scarce and it is a massive strain on the horses.
The battle scenes, especially the final charge, are really exciting. We see the whole regiment fly along under the line of fire. A fabulous scene.
I am not sure it is a 5 star movie, but it certainly is a solid 4.5.
And, maybe surprising for a war movie involving combat, it has a certain lighthearted quality and cheerfulness stemming from the fact that those nice lads manage to achieve the impossible.
Was I a bit cryptic? Hope so. Just want to lure you into watching this fine film.
[…] reasons as well since it is part of the so-called Australian New Wave, of which Gallipoli and The Lighthorsemen are other great […]
[…] The Lightorsemen (1987): Australian cavalry. WWI. There aren’t many movies on cavalry combat that are truly outstanding. This is one of them (see my post on The Lighthorsemen). […]
Australians are rightfully proud of our Light Horsemen & their Beautiful Horses — the Waler [ for New South Wales ]. The great pity was they had to be destroyed as they could not be brought back to Australia — that exercise was said to be logistically impossible — to that I say “Poppycock”. Those magnificent Horses were as much Heroes of the Charge at Beersheba as were their Riders:-
That’s so sad. I didn’t know that. They most certainly were heroes as well.
[…] The Lighthorsemen (1987) This is one of the very rare cavalry combat movies. It has a nice “band of brothers” feel. Highly watchable. The Lighthorsemen were fighting in Africa and their achievement is legendary. Something the Australians are still proud of. Review […]