War has no victors, only survivors. Killing destroys the killers as well as the killed; because it murders decency, self-respect and ultimately life itself. The story follows in the footsteps of a squad of young American solders from the early days of the Battle of Britain, through the fierce fighting in Italy and France, to the uneasy peace of Berlin. Written by
Steve McQueen turned down the lead role because he didn't want to get typecast in war movies. See more »
"Psst! Feind hört mit" meaning "Shh! Enemy is listening" appears in a scene on a wall. Then it changes to incorrect "Psst! Feine hört mit". Then it changes to the correct first version again. See more »
Predating APOCALYPSE NOW by fifteen years, this is the most powerful, sad, ironic and hard-hitting anti-war film I have seen and I rank it nearly on a par with KING RAT, my personal favourite. A group of ill-assorted soldiers make their way through the grim battlefields of France and Germany and Italy as much oppressed by their own corrupt fellow soldiers and officers as the enemy. There are so many memorable scenes in the movie of suffering, loneliness and the tragedy of war that I cannot recommend it highly enough. The script is literate, uncompromising, surprising and resolutely objective about both the enemy and the liberators that fight them. The cast is an amazing ensemble of talent and there is a sense of really brutal authenticity in the film which seldom is to be found in the cinema today. A final grim twist at the end, reflecting the height of the Cold War when the film was made, is one of the simplest and most articulate statements on the continuing madness of human conflict we are still gripped by. Coppola, Stone and every other great film-maker dealing with war in its various incarnations is indebted to this unique movie.
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