14 user 12 critic

Retreat, Hell! (1952)

Approved | | Drama, War | 6 October 1952 (Sweden)
The saga of a battalion of U.S. Marines during the Korean War, starting with their training, landing at Inchon in 1950, advance into North Korea and their subsequent retreat back to the 38th parallel.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Elephant Walk (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The young bride of a rich planter finds herself the only white woman at Elephant Walk tea plantation, British Ceylon.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Dana Andrews, Peter Finch
King Rat (1965)
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A fast-taking wheeler-dealer corporal in a Malaysian POW camp during WWII uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a town boss confiscates homesteader's supplies after gold is discovered nearby, a tough cowboy risks his life to try and get it to them.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Rock Hudson, Arthur Kennedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Steve Sinclair is a world-weary former gunslinger, now living as a peaceful rancher. Things go wrong when his wild younger brother Tony arrives on the scene with his new gun and pending bride and former saloon girl Joan Blake.

Directors: Robert Parrish, John Sturges
Stars: Robert Taylor, Julie London, John Cassavetes
The Furies (1950)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A firebrand heiress clashes with her tyrannical father, a cattle rancher who fancies himself a Napoleon; but their relationship turns ugly only when he finds himself a new woman.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Walter Huston
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

There is a problem with foreign nationals using Cuba as a convenient jumping off point for illegal entry into the United States. So U.S. Immigration Service Agent Peter Karczag (John Hodiak... See full summary »

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, John Hodiak, James Craig
Tight Spot (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A female inmate is whisked out of prison and into a police guarded hotel until the District Attorney can convince her to testify against the mob in the upcoming trial.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Edward G. Robinson, Brian Keith
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Jim Wormold, who is a vacuum cleaner salesman, participates as an agent in the British Secret Service. But he soon realizes that his plans by lying are going to get him into trouble.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Alec Guinness, Maureen O'Hara, Burl Ives
Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission's last survivor.

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Lionel Jeffries
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set in the late 1940s, the film concerns the treatment of suspect "bourgeois elements", a professor, a saxophonist, and a milkman, who are put to work in a junkyard for rehabilitation.

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: Rudolf Hrusínský, Vlastimil Brodský, Václav Neckár
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Story of a Christian in ancient Rome who befriends a lion.

Directors: Chester Erskine, Nicholas Ray
Stars: Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Alan Young
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young cavalry doctor treats very sick Indians against orders, whom are forced to stay on unhealthy land, which could lead to a war.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: Robert Francis, Donna Reed, May Wynn


Credited cast:
Jimmy W. McDermid (as Rusty Tamblyn)
Nedrick Young ...
Sgt. Novak (as Ned Young)
Lamont Johnson ...
Capt. 'Tink' O'Grady
Shorty Devine
Andy Smith
Peter Ortiz ...
Maj. Knox
Eve O'Grady
Morton C. Thompson ...
Capt. Kyser
Joseph Keane ...
Lt. Ortiz
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rudy Albachten ...
Man on Supply Truck


During the Korean War, a U.S. Marine battalion must fight its way out of a frozen mountain pass despite diminishing supplies, freezing temperatures and constant attacks by overwhelming numbers of Chinese soldiers. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Warner's thundering drama See more »


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

6 October 1952 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

We Came Out Fighting  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When asked if they were retreating, Frank Lovejoy's character, Lt. Col Steve Corbett, says, "Retreat, hell! We're not retreating, we're just advancing in a different direction." This was actually said by Maj. Gen. O.P. Smith, who was Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. See more »


The Carbines used by the Marines all appear to be the World War II M1 model. By the time of the Korean War, the improved M2 Carbine featuring a bayonet attachment, fully adjustable rear sight, and longer 30-round magazine was standard issue. See more »


Lt. Col. Steve L. Corbett: Retreat hell! We're not retreating, we're just advancing in a different direction.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Long-Ago War
12 March 2011 | by See all my reviews

The movie traces Marine combat battalion from training base in California to South Korea's Inchon landing to North Korea's Chosin Reservoir and retreat from there to the coast for naval rescue.

Several notable features are in this otherwise fairly routine war film. First, it's surprisingly de-politicized for its sensitive time period. The movie was produced in 1952, at a time when the war in Korea had stalemated and anti-communist fervor (Senator McCarthy) was at a fever pitch stateside. One would expect a lot of talk about red aggression and Chinese hordes. However, there's hardly any explanation in the narrative about where the war is or why it's occurring! Instead, the screenplay focuses almost exclusively on Marine Corps professionalism from officers to NCO's to recruits.

Looks to me like the movie's purpose is to restore the Marines' popular image following the Chosin debacle, without getting involved in messy politics. After all, Marine combat in WWII had been one of steady advance across the Pacific; at the same time, footage of retreat in Korea shook American confidence in that murky war.

Another notable feature is the low-budget film's effort at recreating the horrendous winter weather that plagued the retreat. I recall newsreels of the time of the steep mountains and freezing snow being almost as scary as the combat itself. I doubt the retreat over those mountain passes would have succeeded without the continuous air support.

Notable too is the general absence of sometimes silly small talk that characterizes so many WWII combat films. That's understandable since the war in Korea was never popular and little understood at home, especially after the massive Chinese intervention. On the other hand, there's the kind camaraderie and bonding among the troops that could be expected, but none of the light-hearted victory-is-certain banter of 10-years earlier.

As other reviewers note, the combat itself is mostly a series of clichés. However, the acting is good and Tamblyn is perfect for his idealized all-American-boy role. But the movie itself is now largely a curiosity dramatizing as it does one of America's few military retreats.

(In passing—in my little book, the war was characterized by two massive blunders—first, North Korea's reckless belief that the US would tolerate a unified communist Korea only a few hundred miles from post-war Japan; and second, Gen. MacArthur's over-confident belief that China would somehow allow an American army on China's border {the Yalu river}. The result of these blunders was 3-years of war, thousands of dead, and most ironically, a return afterward to the same divided country {38th Parallel} as before the devastation!)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 14 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page