The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) Movie Script

11th Hussars present and ready
for your inspection, my lord.
I do not propose to recount my life
in any detail what is what.
No damn business of anyone what is what.
I am Lord Cardigan. That is what.
Them Cherrybums, you see them tight,
I keep them tight.
10,000 a year out of my own pocket
I spend to clothe them.
A master cutler sharps their swords,
and I keep them tight-stitched...
... cut to a shadow. Good.
If they can't fornicate, they can't fight...
... and if they don't fight hard,
I'll flog their backs raw...
... for all their fine looks.
Nolan. It's Nolan.
There. Lewis!
He's seen us.
I've not seen him for years,
and yet it will be like yesterday.
I hope I can love him as you do.
Dear friend!
- This is Clarissa?
- This is my dear Clarissa.
I've landed two days.
We were handed letters at Aden.
You do scribble a lot, William.
Still, dear friend, I'm here.
I am gazetted to the 11th Hussars,
you know that.
My brother is to join the 11th Hussars,
Capt. Nolan.
I'm playing the spy in Mufti.
I've not joined yet, so I took
the opportunity of a spy's eye at them.
Are they good, William?
They look good.
Cardigan has them looking good.
Yes, the mounts do look pretty dressed up.
Still... is good to see you both,
and here of all places.
It is good.
England is looking well.
- Fanny!
- Clarissa!
Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure
you will all be very glad to join with me... wishing the young couple long life...
and all that they wish themselves.
Hear, hear.
The bride and bridegroom.
Young men of London,
fall in and follow me, boys.
If you would not be starved
by cruel masters...
...if you would not be ruled by anyone
except the Queen, God bless her...
...but who do have the urge to seek wealth,
fine clothes, and glory... can do no better than to enlist...
...for the 11th Regiment of Hussars.
Culloden. Flanders. Salamanca. Waterloo.
An escort to Prince Albert
on the occasion of his wedding...
...after which he called us his own.
God bless him.
Our dress is bright and warm.
Our mounts is mastered and mannered,
gentle in ride and calm in battle.
Our officers just whisper.
They being of the opinion, like myself...
...that more can be done glorious
by leading from the front...
...than can ever be brought off by prods
up the arse from the rear.
Hold your head up, sir.
I believe you would look a rare treat
in stable dress.
- Are you respectable?
- I've often thought of enlisting.
I thought you had,
by the fine way you carry yourself.
I'm a bad character, just out of jail.
In that case,
you've already served Her Majesty.
Lord Cardigan's Cherrybums, follow me.
Keep yourselves clean, that's important.
You'll never want for money,
and the glitter of a Hussar... something I've seen the gay ladies
pearling their eyes after.
Be obedient, be clean.
What is a pitfall is drink.
That will not concern me,
for I do not drink.
What will concern you is, you'll never
speak to an officer in that manner again.
Scrub the scum clean.
Old Swaddy will settle you into your troop,
show you the way of it.
Bossing your kit and being clean.
Right, strip off.
- What is the condition of them?
- They're all wobbly-boned.
Recruits in England are mostly wobbly
and bad-formed.
There is no such thing as a wobbly officer.
What you sergeants
never seem to understand... the state of responsibility
that an officer is in.
They worry. They hardly never wobble.
There is no place happier
than a cavalry mess.
If one is a stupid,
inconsiderate and lazy man...
... one can fit as a round peg
into a snug round hole.
At times I am so pent up with their languor
I could grab of two of them...
... and bang their noddles together
till their doodles drop off.
I'm Codrington. I've come to join.
- Come to join, young fellow?
- Yes. Fond of riding are you?
- He's as green as grass.
- Or soon will be.
A fine growed-up fellow, though,
with very neat feet.
You're a madman, sir.
And you are on your arse, sir.
I'm thirsty.
It's the salt from the mutton.
- Have you got no money?
- I have none.
- In your clothes.
- It was...
- I did have money in my clothes.
- Did you?
I'm out for a wet, a drop of beer.
Pongelow is the drink, they call it.
"How d'you think I paid her?
I met her in the barracks yard...
"... and gently down I laid her."
Private Metcalfe, for the wives.
Get back in there.
Lady Scarlett is giving a ball.
- Capt. Nolan.
- Lewis, how do you do?
Clarissa, Mrs. Morris,
it is wonderful to have you back... both back, it is wonderful. Come on.
I danced as a boy on the eve of Waterloo.
- There was a war.
- That was a war.
I don't think I belong, Duberly.
I'm sure I do. Oh, I'm sure you do.
I'm more a scientific poet.
- Scarlett.
- My lord.
All this swish and tit
gets me sniffing nose up.
I shall have to fetch it off tonight, Squire.
Had me Cherrybums out today,
always makes me randified.
Duberly says he is despised by his officers
and feared by his men.
Duberly says the 11th
have become a laughing stock...
... for the shortness of their jackets
and the tightness of their britches.
He says it is wicked, he commands
over the heads of gifted officers...
... when he is such a blockhead.
They tell me that her pitcher has been
too often to the well.
Duberly says I must stop
looking at Lord Cardigan...
... as if I want to be ridden by him.
Duberly says he has left his wife...
... and is the most notorious
casual person with women...
... immoral and licentious.
I want to dance with Lord Cardigan
more than anything else in the world.
Is he not the very picture of
the finest Englishman?
Has he not an exquisite head?
I've just been introduced to
Squire De Burgh, charming fellow.
- I believe the next is a gallop.
- I believe it is. I don't have a programme.
I don't gallop very well with ladies indoors,
but may I have the honor?
- I shall be pleased.
- Excuse us.
You have a clever officer in Nolan,
Lord Cardigan.
He has written a book, which is not a diary
but of a scientific nature.
- To do with soldiering.
- What, some damn novelist?
I do envy soldiers' way.
What it must be to hunt one day
and fight the next. Is war terrible?
Lt is the stuff.
It is the stuff we're all hoping for.
Soldiers do, Fanny,
those that are waiting to use their talents.
What is most a talented officer
should have? Courage and dash?
Some of that. A soldier should have
some courage, of course.
Most of all, to know what is right.
Judgment, a feeling for decision.
A cavalry officer depends on
the strike in his eye.
When and where to use it.
Comradeship. How high is that regarded
in military things?
High. But true comrades are rare,
like the truly loving wife is rare.
- William has talked of you constantly.
- I shall tell him to stop.
He says you are the finest horseman
in England.
Does he say I'm the finest dancer? I'm not.
He goes further than that.
He says, probably in Europe, also.
He exaggerates.
William is indeed fortunate.
Are you happy to be a soldier's wife?
Should soldiers have wives, Capt. Nolan?
William should.
That's the Duke of Wellington's statue.
It was subscribed for by the whole nation,
and now they don't know where to put it.
There is great concern.
- He was a fine soldier.
- So are you, I am told.
I learned from a friend
that you have a system.
I'd like to write an article on you
for the Times.
Come on, now!
That is Cardigan's system.
A shilling a man it costs him.
Can you beat that?
He reckons to train up a troop horse
in less than 14 days, is his system.
- Capt. Nolan.
- And his system.
I am not one of your new lights
with tea and a Bible canteen.
It is not a revelation.
Both of you have plenty of it.
You, dear friend, I know,
and you, Russell, I am sure.
It is, in a word, kindliness.
- How are you today, my beauty?
- She's very well, sir. Thank you, sir.
Pridmore. Dismount.
Prepare to mount. Mount.
Move like a Highgate whore,
put some spring into your back.
You'll not learn nothing
from watching this...
...but I should stay watching.
I want you,
what your name is, on the right.
Your name, on the right!
Do you not know your right?
You, on the right!
Where I'm pointing now!
You! I want you to watch this blade...
...for should it waver,
slice it down fairly through my head... hard as you can. Face front!
You've got no hooks on!
Sergeant, on the left.
Hooks is spurs.
- Name?
- Metcalfe.
You will wear your hooks at all times.
Sgt. Smith, what he is doing,
don't look down... marking you right from left.
He can read,
so he knows his left from right.
What you've got there is a new foot... army foot you've never had before.
It's like a foreign language to them.
They don't know any direction,
back or front.
They'll never find their front
when there isn't a black face to it.
I always tell them,
they'll know their front...
...from the many black nigger faces
waving knives at them.
What we will do now is finding left.
Try it.
Try straw foot forward.
That officer...
Capt. Nolan, my lord.
Does that black savage belong to him?
Capt. Nolan has served in India
and has an Indian servant.
That's no excuse.
Who are you, sir?
I am Capt. William Morris
of the 17th Lancers.
- Are you another of these damned Indians?
- He is an old...
Don't tell me of India,
you and your black rogue.
No use rubbing under it.
Officers who have served in India...
...are considered less worth
than those who purchase their way...
...from one regiment to another.
It is, Nolan, at Kaffirs and savages
you have put your men...
...which is something more
than a round of drills.
You Indians are the only officers
who led your men in war.
Listen, a linnet.
It is good to have you with us.
When you were away, you were
in my thoughts every day. Wasn't he?
You were, indeed.
- You are both good friends now.
- William is very happy.
I am.
We all are.
He does love you dearly.
- Are we now to become horse marines?
- We are.
"For thy smile would make a summer
"Where darkness else would be
"For thy smile could make a summer
"Where darkness else would be"
One, two, three, four.
Who gave you permission to dismount?
One, two...
...three, four.
Sahib mighty good horsemen, both Sahibs.
You're all a-bleeding-sleep! Left leg over.
Do you have a hunter for rides
in the morning?
I am fond of riding.
Warsham! Bring our new friend, Newboy.
Now, this is a thoroughly useful animal.
You stupid, drunken cad.
You've nothing but a queer upbringing
amongst cattle and bad practice.
- Rupert.
- All right.
Damn you, if you want to get shot off.
Steady now.
Walk on, now.
Trot on.
Xenephon's words should be painted
on every stable end:
"Horses are not taught by harshness
but by gentleness."
For classical officers like Mogg here...
...the inscription should, of course,
be in Greek.
- Mogg!
- Sir.
I will not have an officer of mine
shown up by an Indian wretch.
He made a monkey of you, sir.
- That man.
- Sir.
That man has not watered his horse.
Tell him to water his mount...
...straight off before the bridle is off
so that he cools off. Tell him!
Tell him I shall take orders from a man,
not a monkey.
"For those that wander
"They know not where
"Full of trouble and full of care
"To stay at home
"To stay at home is best"
Oh! I daresay, yes,
for a soldier, some song.
You'll have to find an appointment out of
reach of Lord Cardigan and his regiment.
He is a dangerous man.
He will see you broken, it's his practice.
- It is a fine regiment.
- Yes, it is a fine regiment.
Fanny, hello.
I promised to help her school her bob.
You must be aware of my regard for you.
Yes, of course. It would be an offence
between us if I denied it.
Looking everywhere.
- Clarissa, l...
- You won't go.
No, please pay me no attention.
It would hurt William if you were to leave.
Come here.
I don't say it lightly or easily.
Not look.
Not hear. It is not easy, Clarissa.
It is the Lordship's command that only
champagne be served in the mess tonight.
Are you cosseted, young man?
I have your orders, my lord... be here and eat lettuce.
I am eating lettuce. I have eaten lettuce.
What it tells, my lord,
is that as youngest officer... will expect him to eat
as a rabbit does, only lettuce.
It is signed by you, my lord.
So green, boy, you have been drawn.
Not my order, you should eat lettuce...
...though perhaps it will put
some sap in your pizzle.
Does this tomfoolery make officers?
Perhaps, but it makes comrades.
Do you think we could have some Moselle,
- Of course. A bottle of Moselle, please.
- Thank you.
We always depend upon
being seen to do our duty.
I know if I'm up to something glorious
in the field, I insist upon being seen.
There ain't much point, otherwise.
- What color is the Russian enemy?
- Sneaky color.
Gray. Your Russian is gray,
which is why he can't be seen...
...which is why his promotion is slow.
There ain't one above a corporal
in the whole lot...
...which is why we will cut 'em up.
With a little breeding,
an Englishman can buy his advancement.
He and I are not able
to buy our advancement.
We've had to obtain it by our abilities.
No use decanting it.
You can leave it on the table.
Thank you.
Couleur de Noir.
You are drinking beer, sir, porter beer.
- No, my lord.
- Yes.
- No.
- See it.
No, my lord.
Don't you "no" me. That is a black bottle.
I assure you, my lord.
That is a black bottle,
and you are drinking porter from it.
Champagne only.
In point of fact, I asked Capt. Nolan...
- You knew that!
- I am not aware.
I am aware
you are drinking porter at my table.
Sit down, Capt. Nolan.
Sit down, Featherstonehaugh.
What his Lordship said was that
champagne only would be drunk... the mess tonight. What he said...
It is not porter, it is Moselle, my lord.
If I am in error...
Error? Don't quibble with me, sir. Beer.
I will not have beer drunk in my mess.
Come back, Nolan.
Nolan, you will not leave the mess. Dog!
Devil upstart.
Impertinent Indian dog devil.
As President of the Mess Committee,
what Cardigan would have me say is... are guilty of disorderly behavior.
What you should consider in the future... that the mess should be conducted
like a gentleman's table...
...not a common ale house
with black bottles.
That is an offensive thing to have to say... have said, one officer to another,
in front of brother officers.
Do you not know that, unlike a farmer,
a gentleman decants his Moselle?
He doesn't drink it like beer.
If you cannot behave like a gentleman,
you are to leave the regiment.
Will you shake hands with me, sir?
- There is no quarrel between us.
- You will.
I will not, my lord.
- You flagrantly insult this officer.
- No insult is intended to this officer.
Shake hands, damn you.
You shall be arrested.
Why shall I be arrested?
I shall have you arrested.
You are arrested.
Go to your quarters, sir, and be arrested.
Have you seen the Times
this morning, Raglan?
I have seen the Times, Airey.
"Black bottle."
I'm very worried about the British army
when it gets into the newspapers.
Whatever Lord Cardigan does
is public news within an hour.
- It is unfitting.
- "Black bottle."
- What?
- What is shouted at him when he goes out?
Lt do bring the army up for snooks,
you know.
Vulgar things.
Shouldn't say these vulgar things
at him, Airey.
But what can we do?
Where are they going to
put that statue, Airey?
Lt can't stay there,
to be enjoyed by me alone.
They won't leave it there.
They don't know where to put it.
It's very much in my light
for paperwork, Airey.
I wish they'd take it away.
You and I are always of the custom,
when in difficulty, to ask ourselves... the great Duke would have acted
and decided in similar circumstances.
We are. I am. I will.
He was surely right
that when there is danger... is the persons with a stake in
the country, land, position, wealth...
...that are best able to able to defend it.
I am an old man, Airey...
...and I've only got one arm
to fight the war with.
It won't be enough.
Duberly says it's going to be war.
He says the Russians will fight...
...and the Prime Minister is faced
towards peace, but carried towards war.
Duberly says I can go with the army.
I can go, Duberly says, as a wife,
which I am. Isn't it exciting?
- William wants to go.
- Soldiers will.
"Answer me to what I ask you."
"Pour in sow's blood,
that hath eaten her nine farrow."
"Come, high or low.
"Thyself and office deftly show!"
"He knows thy thought.
"Hear his speech, but say thou nought.
"Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!
"Beware Macduff."
Lewis is arrested over the black bottle.
It is sure. He is under arrest.
- Nolan?
- It may be the end of his career.
- Mr. De Burgh, how do you do?
- Without you, sir.
Being under arrest, is it certainly
the finish of his career as a soldier?
Lt is serious.
It is a serious thing for an officer.
There's Lord Cardigan.
Late for the play. Going to the war.
Black bottles!
Shall we go and boo him?
- Black bottles!
- Sit still before I hit you, girl.
I'll form a picket. Come on, Henry.
Present me as a picket come to get
the black bottle from the horse's mouth.
What black bottle?
My wife, Mrs. Duberly.
She's been enquiring after Capt. Nolan.
Under arrest, that man.
I have placed him under arrest.
Indeed, my lord. On what crime?
Failing to behave like a gentleman
and turning the mess...
...into a disorderly house
with black bottles.
We must go, Clarissa.
I'll find out about Nolan.
Duberly never tells me anything.
Company, attention!
- Sergeant Major.
- Sir.
Is he shaping?
I would put him forward
as a good clean man.
- Could he take the trumpet?
- That will be a good step for him.
Good. Something for you, Sergeant Major.
Carry on polishing, men.
- Sergeant Major.
- Sir.
I want a report of any conversation
Capt. Nolan has with other officers.
You are to take note of whatever he
might say and bring the information to me.
- I shall spy, my lord?
- You shall.
My lord...
To be asked to take up the spy...
I am much distressed
to be asked such a thing, my lord.
After 20 years of coming up
from private trooper...
...and keeping off the pongelow...
...not a drop since corporal.
I shall inform Capt. Nolan.
I can hardly do other.
Sergeant Major, it is better that you take
a ball and put it in your own brain.
You are finished now,
as if you had not ever been made.
What a waste.
Your duties!
Main guard present and correct, sir.
Stable guard present and correct, sir.
Number 1 squadron,
present and correct, sir.
Straw foot, right foot.
Staff parade.
Ready, present for inspection, sir.
Is he drunk?
- Sergeant Major.
- Yes.
This is all according to the articles of war.
I was drunk at my post.
It is not my place to criticize.
But it will have a grave effect on
the noncommissioned officers...
... for it will show there is a slender thread.
One slip, and a soldier is deprived...
... of what has taken years
of steady effort to obtain.
- Permission to carry on, sir.
- Farriers, do your duty.
- Stand still and be quiet!
Always one or two of your younger
tyro officers brings up or flops over.
Faints away like lily at bedtime.
The time should be past when such
treatment is inflicted on a British soldier.
They will not fight unless
they are flogged to it.
Would you ask that of them?
Would you ask they fight like fiends
of hell for money or ideas?
That would be unchristian.
...forty nine...
Punishment completed, sir.
What will you do now, Sgt. Major?
I doubt if he'll have a pension now...
...and that worries me.
I shall continue in the service,
though no pension.
Shall you enlist as a private
in some other regiment...
...and hope to make your rank again?
I shall, sir.
I am too humbled to stay in the 11th.
It is humbling. I have had some humbling.
You can't avoid it.
There is no making without breaking.
- My lord, I must protest.
- Nolan, we don't flog officers.
- Am I still under arrest, my lord?
- You would prefer that you are released?
I do not wish to be released from arrest.
I wish for a court-martial...
...that I may state some things of how
you asked my fellow officers to spy on me.
You lie, sir. It is you who spy.
Are spying up against me.
You shirk your duties, sir.
I can hardly shirk my duties
if I am not under command, but arrested.
You lying scoundrel. Indian rogue.
You will not have a court-martial.
You were born dishonored and a lie,
and you will die in lies.
Come back here!
I have not finished with you.
Try not to hit him, Nolan.
We must remember our rank.
You blackguard, what do you whisper?
I am ashamed that you are not polite
to our rank. We are your own officers.
Officer? Paymaster Duberly!
That ain't a rank, it's a trade.
One day, there will be an army where
troopers need not be forced to fight...
... by floggings and hard reins.
An army...
... a Christian army,
that fights because it is paid well to fight...
... and fights well because its women
and children are cared for...
... an army that is efficient
and of a professional feather.
I must fight for such an army.
Dear friend.
That army will bring the first
of the modern wars...
... and the last of the gallop.
- It does look like war.
- Does it?
I do think the French have been
asking for it for some time...
...ever since they had my arm.
But it won't be the French
this time, will it?
Won't it be the French?
I've got a map somewhere
of who it ought to be.
- Will you see Capt. Nolan, 11th Hussars?
- Yes.
Well, it might be the French,
it might always be the French.
I knew it would be.
Nolan, Capt. Nolan, sir.
- Have you got a map?
- My lord, may I ask...
Speak up, he's a bit deaf when
he's thinking, and that statue doesn't help.
My lord.
You're the chap.
You've been shouting at Lord Cardigan.
Calling him things.
You've put the army in the newspapers.
My lord, I request the privilege
of being granted a court-martial.
Perhaps they could put it over
one of the new railway stations.
Court-martial? My dear Capt. Nolan.
Well, what can we do about it?
You're becoming
a laughing stock, gentlemen.
You're appearing far too frequently
in the newspapers.
In the case of Capt. Nolan, now...
...Lord Raglan refuses his request
for a court-martial...
...that it might be prejudicial to the good
of the service and cause public disquiet.
- Gen. Airey, l...
- lf you persist in this matter... will forfeit the sympathy of
every officer of rank in the service.
As for the conduct of Lord Cardigan...
...Lord Raglan expects that in the future
his lordship will exercise the forbearance...
...and discretion befitting an officer
and a gentleman.
We are being taken towards war
by popular fervor.
There is no reason for war, there is
no real understanding of the issues...
...because there are
hardly any issues involved.
Let us not pretend that Christian England
can find common ground...
...with infidel Turkey
against Christian Russia.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they shall be called the children of God."
Restrain yourselves, my friends. Peace.
Peace, my brethren.
Restrain yourselves, my friends.
- So excited.
- Yes.
Everybody is so excited.
I'm not excited.
Is it such an exciting thing to do?
Yes, it is the most exciting thing
in the world.
Perhaps there is no other life for a man,
is there, Lewis?
No, there is not.
How sad.
- Why sad?
- Because it all ends in death.
- I will not have you thinking of death.
- No.
I don't know what has made me
think of death.
War has made her think of death.
I do believe it has.
Dear Clarissa, it is inevitable.
Until such savages are
sufficiently civilized to understand...
...and abide by decisions
arrived at by arbitration...
...we will have, we must have, war.
Now, I feel I should propose a toast
or something of the kind.
- I'm not sure what.
- Not the Crimea.
Lewis, what about you?
Your new appointment.
The three of us.
To the three of us.
- I am with child.
- You are. I didn't know.
William has been longing to tell you.
I am so unhappy.
No. You should both of you be happy.
It is a happy thing.
I beg you not to entertain any thoughts
other than...
They're there, Lewis,
like unwelcome guests.
No, not unwelcome, welcome.
Please take my hand.
I long for it to be yours.
My dear, I must join William.
It is some madness in you
that has infected us all.
I shall not be the same from knowing you,
nor William either.
When you are with him, there...
Remember, my heart is...
- Lord Lucan.
- Good afternoon, gentlemen.
Don't treat me as if I was a child, sir.
Sebastopol... Now what is it?
- Lord Lucan.
- Lord Raglan.
Good, good. We have some things.
Do I get command?
Control of the Mediterranean.
That's what the Czar's at, and then
afterwards India, and he will have war.
The Duke of Wellington always
thought of you highly...
...found you very qualified, Lucan.
- He is.
That is fact.
To do it stylish and sicken the Czar...
...we are to put Sebastopol to the flames,
and that is our intention.
Is there something for Scarlett to have?
I think Scarlett should have something.
I'll tell him he'll have something,
but you don't know what.
- I do know what.
- Am I to have the army, or am I not?
Not. I have the army.
I will command the expedition myself.
Of course you will. I would.
It is my earnest hope that you will consent
to assume command of the cavalry.
Very well.
What is Scarlett to have, Airey?
Scarlett will have the Heavy Brigade
and Lord Cardigan, the Light Brigade.
Cardigan? The Light Brigade?
That damned never-out
brother-in-law of mine.
You threaten me with Cardigan?
I'll not have him or his red-shanked
ridgebacks under my command.
I'll not command him.
Capt. Nolan's reporting, sir,
though his regiment is about to sharpen...
...I have persuaded him there is
duty and honor for him with us.
I'm sure you will see
that there is much to be gained... an amicable settlement
of any difference...
...between you and Lord Cardigan,
for the good of your country.
Then make it known to that empty-headed
muff of a brother of mine, that Brudenell...
...that I command the cavalry,
and I command him.
Tell the fool, in simple manner that he'll
understand, he is under my command.
Of course.
- You've got Sebastopol.
- I don't want any damned Sebastopol.
- But I was shown it on the map.
- I told you. No damned Sebastopol.
Sir Colin Campbell, Highland Brigade.
Gen. Scarlett, Heavy Brigade.
Sir Richard England, Third Infantry division.
Sir John Burgoyne,
Superintendent Royal Engineers.
I came to be offered a command.
Not serve under that fool, Lucan.
I knew...
...the moment I saw his biscuit face
sopping up wet around the horse guards...
...he'd be here, starting his wheedling.
I'm sure that after a little while,
Lord Cardigan... may be persuaded such an
arrangement may be made to work.
After all, you will have the Light Brigade.
Dash and fire, eh?
Yes, Cardigan, you'll have the Light
Brigade. Dash and fire it is.
Lucan couldn't make himself fit
to command a tent. Command an escort.
Not fit to command a troop
of knackered tailors on stubbed donkeys.
Airey, those two,
don't let them sit together.
We must do what we can
to keep them apart.
Things are serious
and they are silly in ways.
- My lord.
- Lord Raglan.
Sit down, gentlemen.
War. This is war, gentlemen.
Our passage to India is threatened,
I should think. Wouldn't you?
The honor, the reputation,
the glory of England is threatened...
...and the Queen's majesty is sure
to be threatened, she is.
If poor, brave, weak little,
sick little Turkey...
"The sick man of Europe."
Yes, though I prefer to consider her
as a young lady, hands up, flutter...
If she should fall to the tyrant...
If the Turks go down like cards, flip-flop...
...then next up our own Solent...
...and our own Queen,
will come the Russians, ships and guns... rip our country into shame.
The Russians. The Russians.
The Russians. The Russians.
The Russians.
Poor little Turkey.
Poor little Turkey!
Attention for Mr. Cornet Codrington,
the orderly officer.
Me darlin' soldier, wait till I kiss you clean.
Are they winking at you, sir?
Permission to speak, sir.
Mrs. Mitchell, sir.
Are all the wives going, sir, or just a few?
I'm strong, sir.
And so am I.
I can't say. I really can't say.
One in six, sir.
One in six?
You look tremendous.
This is the beginning of a very long test,
my dear William.
I see you have your cattle slung aboard.
I must watch for old Treasurer,
that he is handled gently.
I have a letter of importance for you,
but orders are not to be read...
...until we up anchor.
Impressed on me, from Clarissa.
Where's Lord Cardigan?
Get into line, Lord Cardigan.
Light Brigade, with me.
Pull those ropes faster.
Tomorrow, Calamita Bay.
Is it aptly named, do you think, William?
I know you worry about my rheumatism.
It is gone, almost gone.
- I wish I could come with you.
- We're going to swim and things.
But Henry, I can swim.
When we're settled,
I'll see that you're rowed ashore.
Dear husband, kiss.
Dear wife, kiss.
I do urge you to keep your headgear.
It's your only protection against the sun.
There, my lord, is a cool customer.
Where do you think you're going,
Lord Cardigan?
- I'm ordered up.
- By whom?
I receive orders from Lord Raglan.
You do not receive orders
from Lord Raglan.
In which case,
who did I receive orders from?
The Czar's left tit?
Are you ordered up?
I'm going up, ain't I? Lf I'm up,
I must have been ordered up. Up!
When you get ordered-up orders,
you tell me about them.
I command here, sir.
I command you, sir.
At least I thought this
petty bickering must cease... we're in shot of the enemy.
Let us show that in spite of the mistakes
and stupidity of those that...
...are set above us,
we can still gain some glory, eh?
I'm sure we can, Lewis.
Such glum faces.
Friends, it is going well for us.
Don't come too close, Lewis.
It's cholera, my lord.
Eleven men have died, and there are more.
Damn cholera, or what ye call it.
We're not here to drop dead
of the vapors, like girls.
- Get them up!
- On your feet! Fall in!
- Come on, fall in, men! On your feet!
- You there, get on your feet.
Get yourself up, lad. Get up! Come on!
Get these men up!
- My lord, the men are...
- Don't bother me now, Mr. Nolan.
My lord!
That is the river Alma, my lord.
The enemy appears to be in some strength.
- Take posts, gentlemen, please.
- Take posts.
An order, my lord?
An order off to the cavalry?
Yes, an order off to the cavalry.
Place them out of shot.
We really should keep our cavalry
in a bandbox.
Have them take ground somewhere
with a good view.
They must not be allowed to feel
out of things.
I don't want to find them
getting shot at and raggedy.
- How do you want it to go, my lord?
- Of course, Airey, I should want us to win.
Form the Infantry for the assault
while I talk to the French.
View halloa!
Give them a smile, Airey.
They always go off
the better for a friendly face.
What we're going to do, Airey,
is to examine the enemy's position.
You don't look well, Marechal.
- I can't stand up.
- Airey, a chair for Marechal St. Arnaud.
Now, look through here, St. Arnaud.
Are your eyes better than mine?
There is the Great Redoubt up there
on the left...
...and to the right, the Lesser Redoubt.
Behind us is the road
leading to Sebastopol.
- That's where we were, weren't we, Airey?
- Yes.
Gentlemen, I propose that the French army
will attack the Russian left flank... the West Cliff.
Get that newspaper correspondent away.
Ride him off somewhere.
We don't want the plans for our battle
published in today's Times, Airey.
You'll see nothing of the battle here.
It's all cocked hats and wind and liniments.
You should come off to the cavalry.
I can get permission for us
to ride with them.
They'll be put in, sure enough, presently.
I'll find you a horse.
The French will take the left flank...
...and the English
will go in at the front door...
... n'est-ce pas? Knock knock.
He's not well, you know.
You fellows. Fine fellows.
Good seat while my brave boys bleed.
Do we fight your battles for you?
Ls it that you'd have me put about?
Watch your places and your dressing...
...and slash into them.
Take from the drum, and at 'em, lads.
View halloa!
Ls that Sir George Brown down there?
Captain, my compliments to Sir George.
Would he stop
those confounded "view halloas"?
My horse expects to put up a fox
any moment.
William, now I could ride for ground.
Through the gates and over the walls
of Sebastopol. Will you join me?
- We'd not get up the slopes, Russell.
- I would.
He would, but he would be alone.
Yes, alone. Death loves a crowd.
Watch how death will pick out the crowds.
Death loves a crowd,
so do fools and funkers.
The swords are out, the pickets are in.
Do you feel it?
Will you join me?
They're making fools of us now.
Whoever is wounded, lie where he is
until a bandsman comes to him.
No soldier may go off
carrying wounded men.
If any man does such a thing, his name
shall be stuck up in his parish church.
Come! Advance!
- Lucan, you're a stew stick.
- Fetch off.
Bum roll.
Draw your horse from round your ears,
and bring your head out of his arse.
My lord,
the cavalry are to advance at once.
- Yes, they must.
- No.
The cavalry will escort the guns
on the road towards Sebastopol.
Lord Lucan to the left,
Lord Cardigan to the right...
...the guns in between.
Better safe than sorry
with those gentlemen, eh?
The cavalry may not attack,
but they may take prisoners.
I told you he wasn't well, Airey.
The Light Brigade will retire.
Threes right, walk march.
Henry, I didn't see anything.
My dear, there was nothing to see.
It was all a dreadful bore.
The cavalry were not used.
Peacock bastard!
Where were you and Lord Lucan?
I'm cold.
- What are you thinking?
- Thinking?
I was thinking, now, you see, William...
...Sebastopol, the object
of our being here, is open.
We could ride in.
We should go on through
and take Sebastopol.
A killing.
I was thinking of Clarissa.
Madam, a victory.
Sebastopol has fallen.
"Fallen," me arse.
It does say in the Times newspaper
that Sebastopol is fallen.
- I am fallen.
- And I am fallen alongside you.
I'm not responsible for every damn lie
that newspaper prints.
You mustn't believe all you read in it.
Sebastopol is not fallen.
I'm not aware how the Times
came by such information.
I'm not allowed my tent in the lines.
Try this one.
It's a rum business, this being a soldier.
A soldier?
I had such hopes of this war, Morris.
- You must be patient.
- No, I'm not patient.
I will not be patient until the noble
amateurs are so sick of their soldiering...
...they will go home.
Their ridiculous supposition
that war is akin to civilization.
War is destruction, William, not fashion.
It is standing booted over
dead soldiers and their wives.
The solution to war is
that it is best fought.
And when fought,
it is best fought to the death.
Yes, it's a rum business.
If that line's straight, I'm a Turk's ass.
- Have the lines dressed straight!
- Straighten up! Down!
Down, have them down and start again.
All these tents are far apart.
Put them near, Charteris.
- Sergeant Major.
- Sir.
- These tents should be near.
- And straight!
Have these tents put nearer.
- In more.
- Get them down.
Get them down, and start again!
This is the second time today.
You tell them that at home.
By your tents!
Too damned near. Have them put apart.
Move these damned tents!
Straighten them up 18 inches.
Who said he's innocent as a horse?
He cares nothing for anybody,
nor man nor beast at all.
I wish a great wind would come
and blow down his damned tents...
...on his damned old lion's head.
Capt. Duberly.
Would you bring your wife... dine on His Lordship's yacht
this evening?
Glad, Henry, very glad.
I feel so sorry for him.
On first exchanging up
from marching regiment to horse... was all at sea and never a light
to guide me, I don't mind confessing.
The soldiering was pie such as:
"We will wide up to Chobham Widges,
where we will have some exercises...
"... such as you are in enemy country, and
you are banged at from such and such."
"Where?" "There.
Was shot at from there last week."
"Was you?
Then you know what to maneuver."
What a capital joint of pig that was.
Can it be the time that it is, already?
All too soon, I am for duty.
I did warn you that I am a serving officer... that we have such
a large bag of sick.
- My lord, if I may be away.
- Yes.
- Goodnight, my lord. Mrs. Duberly.
- Ma'am.
- Get my kicksies off.
- Do you need them off, my lord?
Don't talk like that, woman.
Get me kicksies off.
You have the mane of a lion.
How do you not know what is done,
how a man is handled?
- Have you no mechanical interest?
- Puss, puss, lion head.
It would cause a man to strain his taters.
I like saddles. Get on your back.
You would have me hurting.
Please take time to remove...
I don't believe it.
Damn you! I took yours off.
It is by no means a bad thing, when getting
onto a strange horse for the first time... give the middle of the saddle
three or four hard bangs...
...with the flat of your hand.
This is not love!
My lord?
This Russian officer has been brought
to my tent.
A Russian officer, is he?
Did he come as a deserter,
or with a drum and flag for parly?
I fear he came clandestine.
I do. He has that
in-the-night look about him.
- Have you spoken with him?
- I have.
He has particular information of an attack
at our positions tomorrow.
A spy?
You talked with a spy and brought him
here, in the night... speak with me?
- He has enough English to tell us.
- Keep them in his throat.
I will not have him speak to me.
Young man, come here as a traitor?
I hope you're without a mother.
If she should hear of this, it's sad.
I hope you are wise in this, my lord.
We get a lot of this.
You should be careful of what they say.
They're, most of them, Polish.
"My heart is not here
"My heart's in the Highlands
"A- chasin' the deer
"A- chasin' the wild deer
"And following the roe
"My heart's in the Highlands
"Wherever I go
"Farewell to the Highlands
"Farewell to the North
"The birthplace of valor
"The country of worth
"Wherever I wander
"Wherever I go
"The hills of the Highlands
"Forever I love
"My heart's in the Highlands
"My heart is not here
"My heart's in the Highlands
"A-chasin' the deer
"A-chasin' the wild deer
"And following the roe
"My heart's in the Highlands
"Wherever I go"
Lord Lucan's on the lookout
early this morning.
Airey, wake up!
Stand to! We're surrounded!
The French, they're in the yard.
Our allies, my lord.
I don't sleep, you know.
It is cold, morning.
- Two flags.
- Two flags?
- What do you think that means?
- Could mean "good morning," but it don't.
Surely, that is the arranged signal.
I'm sure it is arranged.
Arranged without me knowing.
- What is it arranged to say?
- Surely, that is "enemy advancing."
That is a signal for "enemy advancing."
Surely? Are you quite sure?
- Get me into these overalls, damn it!
- You will not go in, my lord!
- Get me in!
- You're very near in!
Lt's your bladder!
Damn Lucan.
He's arranged this for a purpose.
- He means to have my brigade.
- Into battle, my lion.
Sir George. Lord Raglan, from him.
You are to move your division immediately
to the protection of the redoubts.
Sir George.
You have not, and Lord Raglan has not,
been in the trenches all night.
- Sit down and eat breakfast.
- I will not sit down.
- Not?
- No, sir.
Sir, it is imperative
that you move your division at once.
The enemy, Sir George, will take the road...
...cut us off from Sebastopol.
Have there been any orders?
Why do the Cavalry not advance?
Ls it right to say they are looking on still?
Well, there has been one order
to the effect...
The gist of it was that the cavalry
were to take ground where it is.
My lord, this is too much.
They're dragging off the guns. Our guns.
Do you see Sir George?
They're on them, they are indeed.
I shall tell you, I need an aide, Airey.
- My lord.
- Mr. Portal.
Have you got instruction for Lucan?
Lord Lucan,
the cavalry will advance on the French...
...the Russians, immediately.
They will be supported by the infantry,
which has already been ordered... advance on two fronts. Has it?
Infantry? I see no infantry.
We must wait.
Do you see the Russian Army, my lord?
Do you?
For a full 50 minutes,
Lord Lucan has stood and watched.
This is no way, my lord.
There sit the finest cavalry in the world... who follow their officers to death... who take it for granted
that their officers know best.
The mere sight of the Brigade moving
would be enough.
Good morning, sir.
Gen. Airey, this is the fourth order
I have dispatched to Lucan.
Kindly take this down
in your clearest handwriting.
I am waiting, sir.
Sir, you will wait until I have clear orders
for you to do otherwise.
I wait, you will wait.
Clear? Normally, there are clear orders...
...for cavalry to attack anything
and everything as it places itself...
Damn it, Cardigan, I would attack.
I am constrained.
Gen. Airey, pray read me back the order
that I just dictated.
"Lord Raglan wishes the Cavalry
to advance rapidly to the front...
"... to follow the enemy, and try to prevent
the enemy from carrying away the guns.
"The troop Horse artillery may accompany.
French Cavalry is on your left.
"lmmediate. Signed R. Airey."
See that this is delivered,
delivered and executed.
Let me take it, my lord.
- Handi.
- Yes, sir?
Good luck, Nolan!
That young man, Nolan,
I don't really like him.
He rides too well.
Knows a lot, but he has no heart.
It will be a sad day when England
has her armies officered by men...
...who know too well what they're doing.
It smacks of murder.
Lord Raglan,
will you explain to me what is to happen?
- A battle is to happen.
- And I am to see it, a charge?
A cavalry charge to sweep the Russians
out of the valley?
I do not think so. No.
Thank you.
What you will see is an advance,
not a charge... advance along that pretty valley
to the south of the big valley.
A sensible and quiet advance on the flank
of those Russians who are trying... carry off our guns.
The Light Brigade will be directed
to restore those guns... their rightful owner.
Is not Lord Cardigan to lead
his beautiful soldiers?
I think he will, yes.
But not into that nasty valley
full of half the Russian army.
He'd get a very bloody nose
if he were to do that. Not at all pretty.
Young ladies should concern themselves
with what is pretty.
England is pretty, babies are pretty.
Some table linen can be very pretty.
Now, off with you,
and let the gentlemen talk.
Find a pretty flower,
and press it in your house book...
...and watch the pretty valley.
Will you execute Lord Raglan's orders?
I am waiting.
Capt. Nolan, I say, if you look before you... will see neither enemy nor guns.
The usefulness of such an order eludes me.
The position, I assure you, is quite clear
from where Lord Raglan stands.
- Is it?
- "ls it?" lt is!
Lord Raglan's orders are that
the cavalry should attack immediately.
Attack, sir?
Attack what? Attack where?
Guns, Mr. Nolan.
There, my lord, there is your enemy,
there are your guns.
I suggest, Lord Cardigan, you advance
steadily, and keep your men well in hand.
If the Brigade is handled with control,
there should be no useless...
...or unnecessary loss.
Certainly, sir.
But allow me to point out to you...
...that the Russians have guns in the valley
and batteries and riflemen on each flank.
It is contrary to all practice of war
for cavalry to charge artillery...
...from the front.
You are quite right, sir,
but what choice have we?
We're going, dear friend.
- Permission to ride with the 17th?
- Permission granted, dear friend.
Col. Douglas, I expect your best support!
- You shall have it, my lord.
- Mind, Douglas, your best support.
At last.
Well, here goes the last of the Brudenells.
The Brigade will advance!
Trumpeter. Walk!
Kiss me, Duberly!
No, Nolan! That won't do!
The wrong way!
The wrong way!
What the devil's the matter with Cardigan?
Outflank those guns now, damn you,
not charge them!
He's turning in to the wrong valley.
Capt. Morris, do not try to force the pace!
Do not try to ride
before the leader of the Brigade.
Keep back!
Steady, lads!
Are you in trouble?
17th, charge!
Run straight to our great enemy!
I don't know.
It isn't done.
What are they Henry? Skirmishers?
Will be, dear, will be.
You're coming on like a soldier.
Skirmishers, indeed.
That is the Light Brigade.
- Is that an Englishman?
- Yes, old chap.
You have been wounded by a cut
across your eye, which has blinded you.
Am I in pain?
You are in pain, I believe.
- Well, sir.
- Well, sir? Well what, sir?
I will break him. How dare he to ride
before a General in Brigade like that.
Did you hear the creature?
Shrieking like some tight girl... a woman fetching off. Damn him.
Damn all his kind.
- Damn who, sir?
- Nolan. That Indian.
Insolent, miserable-arsed mutineer.
My lord,
you have just ridden over his dead body.
Has anyone seen my regiment?
My lord, hurrah!
It was a mad-brained trick,
but it was no fault of mine.
Go again, sir?
No, no. You have done enough today.
What did you mean, sir?
- Me? Mean, sir?
- Mean, sir.
By attacking a battery in front,
contrary to all usages of warfare...
...and customs of the service.
- Him.
- Who?
- Him.
- Me? What have you told him?
- You.
- Me?
- I was ordered.
- Ordered?
- I was given the order to attack... my superior officer
in front of the troops.
I hope you will not lay blame on me. Him.
Come here, Lord Lucan.
- You have lost the Light Brigade.
- Indeed, I have not, sir.
- Where are they, then?
- You have lost the Light Brigade.
The finest brigade of light cavalry
ever to leave the shores of England.
How could you?
I have not lost the Light Brigade, sir.
I have carried out your orders...
...both verbal and written,
and conveyed to me by Capt. Nolan.
I was with them! With them, damn you!
I have done my duty according
to my orders.
- I have led my brigade.
- To death you have led your brigade.
I had orders in writing
from my superior general.
- Who?
- You.
I have the order, still.
I have the written order
in your handwriting, Lord Raglan.
Not my handwriting.
Airey... have lost the Light Brigade.
I will not be blamed.
I was given the order to attack
by my superior officer!