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The Raid (1954 film)

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The Raid
Directed byHugo Fregonese
Screenplay bySydney Boehm
Story byFrancis M. Cockrell
(as Francis Cockrell)
Based onAffair at St. Albans
1948 novel
by Herbert Ravenel Sass
(as Herbert Ravenal Sass)
Produced byRobert L. Jacks
StarringVan Heflin
Anne Bancroft
Richard Boone
Lee Marvin
CinematographyLucien Ballard
Edited byRobert Golden
Music byRoy Webb
Color processTechnicolor
Panoramic Productions
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • August 4, 1954 (1954-08-04) (United States)
  • August 20, 1954 (1954-08-20) (New York City)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Raid is a 1954 American Western film set during the American Civil War. It stars Van Heflin, Anne Bancroft, Richard Boone and Lee Marvin. It is loosely based on a true incident, the St. Albans Raid, as well as the book by Herbert Ravenal Sass. However the film made a significant change, turning the raid into an act of revenge for William Tecumseh Sherman's burning of Atlanta.


In 1864 a group of Confederate prisoners held in a Union prison stockade at Plattsburgh, New York, not many miles from the Canada–US border, escape. They head for Montreal, Canada and then plan a raid across the border into St. Albans, Vermont, to rob its banks to replenish the Confederate treasury and burn buildings as revenge for Sherman's March to the Sea and to tie up Union forces.

The leader of the raid, Major Neal Benton (Van Heflin), heads into St. Albans as a spy, and develops ambiguous feelings about what he is doing when he becomes friends with a young war widow and her friendly son, who he boards with, masquerading as a Canadian businessman. Other raiders stay in an abandoned barn, or pose as traveling street peddlers. One drunken member interrupts a church service, and is promptly shot dead by Benton, the raid leader, almost giving away the plot. The townspeople shower Benton with gratitude for this, not realizing his true identity. On the appointed day, Major Benton in town, and the other raiders at the barn, all don Confederate uniforms, take some citizens hostage, rob the bank's strongbox at gunpoint, burn down the town hall, and gallop north just ahead of an arriving Union force. Burning a bridge behind them, they barely elude the Union forces, and make a successful getaway to nearby Canada.



  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p249

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The Raid (1954 film)
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