War correspondent Ernie Pyle joins Company C, 18th Infantry as this American army unit fights its way across North Africa in World War II. He comes to know the soldiers and finds much human... See full summary »
War correspondent Ernie Pyle joins Company C, 18th Infantry as this American army unit fights its way across North Africa in World War II. He comes to know the soldiers and finds much human interest material for his readers back in the States. Later, he catches up with the unit in Italy and accompanies it through the battles of San Vittorio and Cassino. He learns from its commanding officer, Lt. (later Capt.) Bill Walker of the loneliness of command, and from the individual G.I.'s of the human capacity to survive drudgery, discomfort, and the terror of combat. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
William A. Wellman, nicknamed "Wild Bill", was a fighter pilot in World War I and hated the infantry, and therefore had no interest in making a film about them. Producer Lester Cowan tried several times to convince Wellman to direct the film, including showing up uninvited at Christmas with gifts for Wellman's children. Wellman finally agreed to take the job only after meeting and spending several days with Ernie Pyle at Pyle's home in New Mexico, where he saw how much former infantrymen revered him. See more »
Much of this film revolves around the battles around Monte Cassino and the controversial bombing of the abbey, with several references to the monastery being used by the Germans as an observation post. Although the film acknowledges that the Germans used it as a defensive position after the bombing, it does not mention that the abbey had been unoccupied by the Germans and that the bombing was unnecessary. Given that this movie was filmed in 1945 while the war was still being fought, it is perhaps understandable that this fact was not mentioned. See more »
Perhaps the best film of infantry combat ever made
After searching for the best war films all my life, and after seeing so much tripe, I was completely flabbergasted by this film, of which I had heard, but had never seen until last night. Most films made during the Second World War were pure propaganda, all dash and glory, but with little resemblance to real battle. "The Story of G.I. Joe" is the real McCoy, especially considering that it was made near the end of the war. You can feel, taste and smell the muck and fear these men lived with. The dialogue is gritty, the combat scenes, especially of urban fighting bang on. One exceptional and rare scene was of an anti-tank gun crew swinging into action and firing 12 rounds a minute in a town. It was a battle ballet and an example of the lethality of a well-trained and seasoned team. In my opinion, this film ranks with Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" as the best film of infantry in combat ever made. In fact, I believe that Spielberg may even have made 'Ryan' as an homage to Wellman's great earlier film; many of the scenes and much of the dialogue is very similar. In 1945, General Eisenhower called 'G.I. Joe' the greatest war film ever made. I'm sure he would say the same thing today. This should be a must-see for every student studying this country's fighting history and every American in uniform should see it.
35 of 35 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?