Plot centers around how a young recruit (Audie Murphy) faces the horrors of war. Character vascilates between wanting to fight and doubting his own courage. In midst of first bloody encounter, Youth runs away. After seeing dead and wounded, sense of shame leads him back to his unit, where he distinguishes himself in the next battle. Having overcome his fear of "the great Death" he knows e can face whatever comes. Somewhat sentimental "coming of age" tale was pet project of John Huston, who fought MGM over casting of Murphy and Bill Mauldin in lead roles. Written by
A huge chunk of Royal Dano's role was removed from the final print. See more »
Beginning at 14:28, several Union soldiers wading across the waist-deep river and later climbing out of the river are carrying the U.S. Rifle Model 1903, also known as the Springfield Model 1903. Note especially the soldier who climbs out of the river holding his rifle above his head. The Model 1903 is a bolt-action, magazine-fed rifle that was adopted by the US Army in 1903 and used in World Wars I and II, but not the American Civil War which was fought from 1861-1865. See more »
John Huston's camera and sense of drama and tension make this one of the best soldier's-eye movies ever made. You really get a feel for the confusion Civil War recruits must have experienced - not during battle, but before and after, when orders appear to be arbitrary and nothing is ever explained.
The cast is wonderful, including many who show up for less than 30 seconds, giving their all for their roles - Audie Murphy never had it so good with this material and backdrop. A truly literate action movie that has a soul and a vision.
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