Down 5,763 this week

Red Ball Express (1952)

 -  Drama | War  -  29 August 1952 (Finland)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 313 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

Story of the military truck drivers who kept the Allied armies supplied in Europe during WW2.



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 879 titles
created 21 Aug 2011
a list of 4647 titles
created 14 Jan 2012
a list of 48 titles
created 23 Sep 2012
a list of 852 titles
created 13 Jan 2013
list image
a list of 596 titles
created 11 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Red Ball Express (1952)

Red Ball Express (1952) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Red Ball Express.


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An American destroyer captain is determined to confront a Soviet submarine caught violating territorial waters. Perhaps too determined.

Director: James B. Harris
Stars: Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, James MacArthur
No Way Out (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A black doctor is assigned to treat two racist White, robbery suspects who are brothers, and when one dies, it causes tension that could start a race riot.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An unhinged, deceptively mild-mannered bank robber escapes prison, seeking revenge on the cop who accidentally killed his wife during a gun battle.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Joseph Cotten, Rhonda Fleming, Wendell Corey
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

During the Korean War, the lieutenant in charge of a Marine rifle platoon is killed in battle. Before he dies, he places the platoon's sergeant, who's black, in charge. The sergeant figures... See full summary »

Director: Hall Bartlett
Stars: Alan Ladd, Sidney Poitier, James Darren
Crime | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Dave Anderson and Manny Durrell are two high-class sneak thieves who have never been caught. Joshua Burke is a retired detective who has enough evidence on the both of them to put them ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Poitier
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones
The Lost Man (1969)
Certificate: M Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A gang of black militants plots to rob a factory to finance their "revolutionary struggle."

Director: Robert Alan Aurthur
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Joanna Shimkus, Al Freeman Jr.
Horizons West (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Two brothers end up on opposite sides of the law in post-Civil War Texas.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Robert Ryan, Julie Adams, Rock Hudson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A black prison psychiatrist is assigned the distasteful task of helping a paranoid American Nazi charged with sedition.

Directors: Hubert Cornfield, Stanley Kramer
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Bobby Darin, Peter Falk
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Clyde Williams and Billy Foster are a couple of blue-collar workers in Atlanta who have promised to raise funds for their fraternal order, the Brothers and Sisters of Shaka. However, their ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Poitier
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Calvin Lockhart
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Johnny Regan, a U.S. citizen, goes to Mexico and takes up bullfighting as a lark, hoping to impress a Mexican beauty, Anita de la Vega. His lighthearted studying, under the tutelage of ... See full summary »

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Robert Stack, Joy Page, Gilbert Roland
Go Man Go (1954)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of Abe Saperstein and the creation of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Director: James Wong Howe
Stars: Dane Clark, Patricia Breslin, Sidney Poitier
Seminole (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A calvary Lt. on trial for murder, recounts his efforts make peace with the Siminole Indian tribe, under an evil major.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Rock Hudson, Barbara Hale, Anthony Quinn


Complete credited cast:
Alex Nicol ...
Sgt. Red Kallek
Charles Drake ...
Pvt. Ronald Partridge / Narrator
Judith Braun ...
Joyce McClellan
Jacqueline Duval ...
Antoinette Dubois
Bubber Johnson ...
Pvt. Taffy Smith
Davis Roberts ...
Pvt. Dave McCord (as Robert Davis)
Pvt. Wilson
Frank Chase ...
Pvt. Higgins
Cindy Garner ...
Kitty Walsh
Gregg Palmer ...
Tank Lieutenant (as Palmer Lee)
John Hudson ...
Tank Sergeant
Howard Petrie ...
Maj. Gen. Lee Gordon


August 1944: proceeding with the invasion of France, Patton's Third Army has advanced so far toward Paris that it cannot be supplied. To keep up the momentum, Allied HQ establishes an elite military truck route. One (racially integrated) platoon of this Red Ball Express encounters private enmities, bypassed enemy pockets, minefields, and increasingly perilous missions, leavened by a touch of comedy. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Drama | War


See all certifications »





Release Date:

29 August 1952 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Les conducteurs du diable  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


James Edwards was originally cast in the role of Robertson but was fired during production when he refused to testify before HUAC. He was replaced by Sidney Poitier. See more »

Crazy Credits

No credits besides the title, seven minutes in the film. See more »


Featured in Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Agreeable if average war flick
9 September 2010 | by (Tokyo, Japan) – See all my reviews

The setup, in case you don't already know it, is this. The troops of the western Allies were bottle necked in Normandy, France, for the first month or so after the D-Day landings. The armies finally broke through the German defenses and Gen. George Patton's Third Army rapidly advanced across central and northern France. So rapidly that they outpaced their supply lines. The U.S. Army put together a truck convoy system to keep Patton's forces supplied and named it the Red Ball Express. Aside from managing to keep up with Patton's advance, the outfit is also noted for being one of the few integrated units in the U.S. armed forces at the time--I use the term "integrated" somewhat guardedly, since that usually meant white senior officers leading black junior officers and enlisted men, which is not what would first come to my mind as "integrated." Regardless, around 75% of the servicemen in the Red Ball Express were African Americans.

You wouldn't know that from this movie, where the ratio seems to have been reversed. However, I'm willing to give the filmmakers some credit for at least trying to address the integration issue at the time when they were working rather than castigate them for not doing what we might expect a present-moment filmmaker to do. That's not the real problem with this movie as a movie. Acting is not the problem with this movie, either, as another reviewer suggested. The acting is workmanlike--neither outstanding nor poor, just efficient. No, the weakness of this movie is that it is simply another cliché-ridden war movie; blame not the messengers, but rather the script. First, there is the clichéd unit. Our two lead characters have a troubled past and, surprise surprise, are forced to work together in the same outfit ("of all the gin joints in all the towns . .."). The unit has a romantic, it has a "runt" of the litter with glasses, it has a stolid misunderstood commander, it has a guy clearly from Brooklyn, and so forth. Just like any other war movie of the day (think of, say, "Air Force" or "Guadalcanal Diary"). What's new here for the time is that the filmmakers exchanged African Americans for some of the other stereotypical roster of "average Americans" you got in any war movie. Notably, there are NO characters who are clearly supposed to be white Southerners--an omission that itself speaks volumes about how sensitive race relations were in the early 1950s in the U.S. and especially in the then-recently desegregated U.S. armed forces.

The clichéd unit is indicative of the rest of the flick. You've seen this movie before. Bunch of misfits forced to work together overcome their differences and become a cohesive fighting unit--well, except here I never really got the sense we were watching an outfit of misfits. Yes, there's the guy with the racial issue vs. Sidney Poitier, and yes, there's the lead characters with the troubled past--one of whom is the main stumbling block that's keeping this outfit from fully coming together (what's that you say? That setup sounds like "Flying Tigers"? no wait, "Sands of Iwo Jima"? no, wait . . .)--but the movie is in too much of hurry to get this outfit on the road to really *show* how this outfit becomes a team. Essentially it just is. What else, you ask? How about the sweet-talking American and the saucy French girl? Rivalry with another outfit, with other outfit finally recognizing our heroes are indeed Heroes? The guys who think there mission is going to be a cakewalk only to discover the Harsh Reality Of War? Etc., etc.

Oh, the movie is solid enough and hits all the standard points--some action, some down time, some roughhousing, a romantic moment or two, some grousing, some "let's pull together" time--and some of the cast members are likable enough that, all told, you won't feel like you wasted your time watching this one. However, aside from the then-timely touch of trying to show an integrated outfit there's nothing here to see you haven't seen before.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Spike Lee! - Remake this movie... bella_furie
Discuss Red Ball Express (1952) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: