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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
"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 »
One day will be recognised as one of the best war films ever
One of the most extraordinarily intelligent films ever made, this epic from Carl Foreman (High Noon, Bridge Over River Kwai, Guns of Navarone) follows the fortunes of an American platoon during WWII.
Plenty of well-known stars (Peppard, Fonda, Finney) shine in solid performances while the B&W film compliments the moody cinematography.
It's not anti-war - more a study of friendship, love and prejudice intensified under stress (Casualties of War indeed). Episodes of deep pathos contrast with intermittent feelgood factors - although some of the intended irony is a little heavy (primarily because it was aimed at the American viewer).
Unlike Private Ryan and similar Yank-only trash, it is one of the few WWII films to actively feature the participation of other allied nations, notably France, Russia and India, and the effects on the civilians of Belgium, England, Italy and Germany.
My favourite scene is when the character played by George Peppard is waiting for a bus in the pouring rain while on leave in England. A working class family invite him into their home until the bus arrives and their hospitality is such that he comfortably falls asleep on a chair by the fire. On finally catching the bus he discovers the family have placed a 10 shilling note in his top pocket. I think this is one of the most touching moments in the history of film.
In the most famous scene the platoon are ordered to witness a deserter executed by firing squad somewhere in a snowy landscape of France, while over-running from earlier newsreel footage, the soundtrack is playing 'Have yourself a Merry Little Xmas'. Very moving.
America should be proud of this one.
Kevin Molloy TV Producer London, England
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