The Four Feathers

The Four Feathers is a 2002 war drama film directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, Djimon Hounsou and Kate Hudson. Set during the British Army's Gordon Relief Expedition (late 1884 to early 1885) in Sudan, well after the formation of Mahdiyya, it tells the story of a young man accused of cowardice. This film, with altered plot events, is the latest in a long line of cinematic adaptations of the 1902 novel The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason. Other versions of the story have been set in the 1890s, with different battle events.


Harry Faversham, a young British officer completing his training, celebrates his engagement to Ethne Eustace, in a ball with his fellow officers and father. When the Colonel announces that the regiment is being dispatched to Egyptian-ruled Sudan to rescue the British General Charles "Chinese" Gordon, young Faversham has serious reservations about going to war, and resigns his commission. Harry's father disowns him. Perceiving his resignation as cowardice, three of his friends and his fiancée each give him a white feather, the symbol of cowardice. Ethne breaks off their engagement.