10 Blood-Stirringly Epic Cinematic Charges

The war movie climaxes that really got you going...

Riders of Rohan
New Line Cinema

Once more unto the breach dear friends!

An epic charge has been the ultimate moment of any battle scene since the time of Shakespeare himself. The medium of film is no different, the charge has been a cornerstone of cinema since its inception.

A sure fire way to get audiences on their feet, Hollywood’s love affair with the charge started with old Westerns. In the final moments of the film when the heroes are in desperate need of rescue, and all of a sudden the cavalry comes to the rescue! As much a part of cinematic language as a kiss in the rain at the end of a love story, these epic charges have become ingrained in our collective cinematic conscience.

The rousing speeches, the thundering hooves, the valour of brave men, who doesn’t love a blood stirring, fist pump inducing charge at the climax of a film? Here are some of the most epic to ever reach our screens...

10. Stagecoach (1939)

The Charge: The cavalry saves the day!

As with all things, we begin with the beginning. The epic charge began in Westerns, and Stagecoach is one of the finest examples of this cinematic device in the early years of Hollywood. It launched the career of John Wayne, and is credited with popularising the use of the iconic Monument Valley, Arizona as a Westerns location.

John Ford’s seminal film tells the story of a group of strangers travelling through dangerous Apache territory. As the group near their destination they come under increasing threat from the defensive Apache, until, nearing the films climax, they are finally attacked. An epic sequence ensues as the Native American warriors chase down the stagecoach, the travellers desperately defending the coach as it roars through the Arizona desert.

Just as the defenders run out of ammunition and all seems lost, the blare of a trumpet, and the U.S 6th Cavalry has arrived. Their banner flapping violently in the wind, John Ford’s camera races alongside the horses at a blistering pace as they charge towards the stagecoach and chase away the attacking warriors. A thrilling climax and a remarkable achievement in filmmaking for the era.

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