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Attack
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Reviews & Ratings for
Attack More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Films we should see before we go to war

10/10
Author: msato404040
9 May 2010

After having just watched "Tigerland" (2000), starring Colin Farrell, I was reminded of the very first anti-war film I'd ever seen (when I was about 10), namely "Attack!" (1956), starring Jack Palance, who owned the craggiest, ugliest face ever to not need make-up to be scary; his debut in "Shane" (1953), as the scary sinister hired gun Jack Wilson, was the opposite of comic relief, call it spinal-chill. In his role as 2:41:19 AM. Joe Costa, Palance was perfect, the scary guy you wanted to be on your side.

As a 10-year-old, I didn't think about the deeper meanings that directors and writers were trying get across; yet, the mood, kinda like film noir meets WWII, at the masterful hand of Robert Aldrich, conveyed a stark vision of the vise-grip with which battlefield stress crushed polite society's facade of decency and civility. That came through even to my immature sensibilities. In doing so, "Attack!" did what great anti-war movies are supposed to do - it altered my view, that of a young boy who, like so many young boys, had been propagandized (by our polite society) to have a glorified view of war. You're never too young to learn wisdom.

The horrors of war, especially the horrors of the politics of war, were delivered into the collective psyches of Americans during the Vietnam War with graphics we were rarely allowed to see before. Aldrich's version of "fragging", the term, newly minted from the Vietnam conflict, for lobbing a grenade at your own officers, is given an earlier cinematic debut in "Attack!" That scene pierced my childish glamorization of combat. Too bad it wasn't required viewing for more of us.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"I'll come back and take this grenade and shove it down your throat and pull the pin!"

8/10
Author: bensonmum2 from Tennessee
9 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What an amazing movie! I honestly had no idea what to expect going into Attack. With a name like that, I expected wall-to-wall combat action (albeit Hollywood style combat action). What I wasn't expecting was a deep, meaningful morality play with some of the best acting I've seen in a while. That's not to say there aren't action sequences in Attack, but they are not the focus. The action set-pieces merely exist to set up the drama. And what drama it is! Attack features a well-written, intelligent script, interesting characters, and a little insight into the effects of war.

Jack Palance is quite simply brilliant as Lt. Joe Costa, the battle hardened soldier who's seen more than his share of combat. He's protective of the men he commands and, in return, they respect him for that. I don't think I've ever seen Palance in a more convincing, believable role. Lt. Costa is the very image of the American G.I. in WWII. Eddie Albert is surprisingly just as good as Palance as the weak Capt. Erskine Cooney. He epitomizes everything that Lt. Costa hates. He's indecisive, puts his men into harms way, and worst of all, he's yellow. Albert's plays Capt. Cooney as a man one step away from a nervous breakdown. The entire supporting cast is excellent with standout performances from the entire cast.

I may not have known much about Attack going in, but it's a new favorite I look forward to revisiting from time-to-time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

In the top 5 war movies of all time

10/10
Author: David Buffrey from United Kingdom
28 November 2005

This film is remarkable for all the reasons shown in your review but there are one or two things that need to be emphasised. The none-datedness of the film is incredible - it stands up alongside any film before or since . The performances of three of the leading actors, Jack Palance, Eddie Albert and Lee Marvin are arguably the best of their careers. It is also notable for the quality of the supporting actors. Buddy Ebsen gives his usual superb performance alongside regular support stars like Richard Jaekel and Robert Strauss. The "introduction" of William Smithers was a landmark even though he did not go on to the sort of stardom he seemed to promise. The only downside was in some of the scenery and the vehicles used. Shots of the same war-torn tower, from different angles, appeared in scenes supposed to be in two different towns, whilst the mocked-up German tanks bore no resemblance to those used in reality in the Ardennes, where the action is set.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Forgotten unsung WW II classic

8/10
Author: jsparacino from Utica, IL United States
19 October 2005

A forgotten movie where Jack Palance gets to play a good guy for a change. Robert Strauss is up to his usual tricks as a gruff groundpounder. As a WW II re-enactor; the hand carved foregrip for a bazooka is memorable touch, but they don't show the need to tie the wires around the leads. Eddie Albert; a veteran of the landing at Tarawa as a navy hospital corpsman has a tremendous performance as Captain Cooney who seems to have a childhood similar to Christina Crawford. The final scene where William Smithers is prepared to stand up for what he did to save the men in his command from Cooney is a true example of what the Greatest Generation was all about.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A little seen great moment from Robert Aldrich

Author: Rohan_Jayasekera from United Kingdom
25 May 2005

Like The Bridge at Remagen, The Deerhunter and Saving Private Ryan, Attack! marked a major change in the sensibilities of Hollywood recreations of war. Jack Palance plays the hard-bitten lieutenant forced into a suicide attack by the cowardice of his commanding officer, played by Eddie Albert (in real life a decorated war hero). The standard outcome of such standard B-movies was then to have the unit's coward redeem himself at the last minute and usually die in the process. Albert's character stayed a coward and didn't die either. The US Army didn't like the script and withdrew technical support, which is why the film is so short of tanks, planes and artillery. The director was Robert Aldrich, later to go on to make two of the most frank and cynical war movies ever made, The Dirty Dozen & Ulzana's Raid.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Excellent 50's war flick

8/10
Author: grahamsj3 from United States
15 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is as good as a 1950's war flick can get. The film stars Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin, Jack Palance, Robert Strauss and Buddy Ebsen. The acting is first-rate by everybody and the story is certainly a plausible one. A company commander (Albert) is absolutely gutless. He quickly loses the respect of all his men. His superior (Marvin) keeps him in command for future political reasons. Palance plays the squad leader who is stuck dealing with Albert's poor decisions. Several men die as a result and Marvin won't replace Albert. The decision is made that Albert has to go somehow. There is a good bit of combat action and it is certainly well-done. The film, as I said, is one of the better ones to come out in the 50's. It's well worth a watch!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An Episode of the Second World War in Belgium

7/10
Author: esteban hernandez from Italy
13 August 2002

A coward officer, captain Cooney, sent part of his troops to a sure death, but the lieutenant (Jack Palance) responsible of this mission fights enough to protect his subordinates and to conclude it successfully. Other officers recognize the wrong and egoist behavior of his captain and decided to kill him. The fact is that this officer was closely friendly with his Lt. Colonel (Lee Marvin), who although misinformed of the way Cooney died, never believed this version and for so decided to propose a posthumous honor to his coward friend (!!!). Whether this really happened is not the problem, the fact is that this could take place in any war if the officers have not enough ethics as humans. This is an old film directed masterfully by Aldrich, which is a real jewel of war genre. Palance acted in an excellent way, perhaps one of his best presentations in the big screen.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Gritty, realistic war movie

Author: Peter Morrison from Nottingham, England
3 January 1999

Palance remained an under rated actor and this must be one of his best roles. Life is not fair to the officer he plays and an already run down soldier is taken to pieces by the far from impotent cowardice of his commander. The viewer is filled with an uncomfortable feeling that this might be the way things really are on the modern battlefield.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

You're not just careless or a coward. You're a criminal.

9/10
Author: JohnRouseMerriottChard from United Kingdom
4 December 2011

Attack is directed by Robert Aldrich and adapted to screenplay by James Poe from the play, Fragile Fox, written by Norman Brooks. It stars Jack Palance, Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin, William Smithers, Robert Strauss and Buddy Ebsen. Music is by Frank De Voll and cinematography by Joseph F. Biroc.

Europe 1944, Battle of the Bulge, and an American G.I. company not only have to contend with the German forces, but also with their own cowardly Captain.

Tough as nails and dripping with cynicism, Robert Aldrich's Attack falls into a small group of excellent war movies that exude a grim realism. The material to hand doesn't pull it's punches as it features heroic men captained by a coward (Albert as Erskine Cooney), whose cowardice is ignored by their superiors on account of his father's political pull. That it dared to suggest such a scenario ticked off the military to the degree they refused to give any aid to the production, meaning Aldrich had to make his movie on a minimal budget and with only a handful of military equipment he was able to rent or buy himself. This fact makes the finished product all the more remarkable, with Aldrich crafting a film of narrative potency that's punctured with periods of violence.

Starkly shot in black and white by ace cinematographer Biroc, film always feels claustrophobic, suitably edgy and bleak. Yet there is big heroic characters within the story, real men front and centre to the horrors of war. The military's refusal to aid the film seems daft, men such as Lt. Costa (Palance) and Lt. Woodruf (Smithers) are men to be proud of, that they stand against cowardice and the political manipulations of Lt. Col. Clyde Bartlett (Marvin) is note worthy and to be applauded. Would the might of the military rather the public be ignorant to the corruption of power? Attack depicts men of war as human beings reacting to said war, no soft soaping, differing responses are portrayed. This is no perfect world where thousands of personal are driven by a collective will, Attack calls it that there are bad eggs in every organisation, and it makes for a riveting viewing experience.

Packed with powerful performances and directed with a keen and clinical eye, Attack is a bold and brilliant movie that still packs a punch even today. 9/10

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Instead of your average "Hollywood" war drama, your above-average morality play.

8/10
Author: lancaster2778 from New York, USA
28 June 2004

Wow! Where should one start with such a complex gem?

This movie wastes very little time stripping away the expected "Hollywood" treatment of war dramas and exposes some of the ulterior motives always involved whenever mankind goes to war with itself. The true glory, ultimately, belongs to the cast--so many jewels involved in this one! Jack Palance is one of my favorites, and his performance in Attack! is unpredictable and marvelous! (That scream will stay with me always.) Eddie Albert's Cooney--cowardice and cruelty personified. We're not on THE farm in this one, folks. William Smithers, Buddy Ebsen and Lee Marvin also sparkle throughout this elegy to WWII and human nature. If you ever get a chance to view this one, (and I hope you get the chance) put your thinking cap on, watch carefully and remember to pick yourself up off the floor when it's over. This film packs an honest, gritty wallop!

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