Alvarez Kelly (1966): Dmytryk’s Civil War Western, Starring William Holden and Richard Widmark

Set during the Civil War, Alvarez Kelly stars William Holden and Richard Widmark in a tale was based on the historic Beefsteak Raid of September 1864 led by Confederate Major General Wade Hampton III.

Alvarez Kelly
Alvarez Kelly poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

Cattleman Alvarez Kelly (William Holden) is contracted to deliver herd to the Union Army in Virginia.

At the end of his long cattle drive, Kelly is captured by Confederate raiders led by Colonel Tom Rossiter (Richard Widmark), who desperately needs the beef to feed  soldiers besieged in Richmond.

Kelly is “persuaded” to help shanghai and deliver the stolen herd to Richmond. Despite the hatred between the two men, they manage to work together.

Kelly first teaches Rossiter’s men how to drive cattle. They then proceed to capture and drive the herd away, despite the efforts of Union officer Major Albert Stedman (Patrick O’Neal). As revenge, Kelly arranges passage for Rossiter’s discontented fiancée, Liz Pickering (Janice Rule), on a blockade runner leaving the besieged city.

William Holden as Alvarez Kelly
Richard Widmark as Colonel Tom Rossiter, C.S.A.
Janice Rule as Liz Pickering, Rossiter’s fiancee
Patrick O’Neal as Major Albert Steadman, U.S.A.
Victoria Shaw as Charity Warwick
Roger C. Carmel as Captain Angus Ferguson, a Confederate blockade runner
Richard Rust as Sergeant Hatcher
Arthur Franz as Capt. Towers
Don ‘Red’ Barry as Lt. Farrow (billed as Donald Barry)
Duke Hobbie as John Beaurider
Harry Carey Jr. as Cpl. Peterson
Howard Caine as McIntyre


Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Produced by Sol C. Siegel
Written by Franklin Coen
Music by Johnny Green
Cinematography Joseph MacDonald
Edited by Harold F. Kress

Production company: Sol C. Siegel Productions

Distributed by Columbia Pictures

Release date: October 1966

Running time: 110 minutes


TCM showed the movie on Sep 25, 2020.