The Hill (1965)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War  |  11 June 1965 (France)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 9,000 users  
Reviews: 83 user | 27 critic

In a North African military prison during World War II, five new prisoners struggle to survive in the face of brutal punishment and sadistic guards.



(screenplay), (play), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Alfred Lynch ...
Jack Watson ...
The Medical Officer (as Sir Michael Redgrave)
Norman Bird ...
Neil McCarthy ...
Howard Goorney ...
Tony Caunter ...


WWII, in a British disciplinary camp located in the Libyan desert. Prisoners are persecuted by Staff Sergeant Williams, who made them climb again and again, under the heavy sun, an artificial hill built right in the middle of the camp. Harris is a more human and compassionate guard, but the chief, S.M. Wilson, refuses to disown his subordinate Williams. One day, five new prisoners arrive. Each of them will deal in a different way with the authority and Williams' ferocity. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They went up like men! They came down like animals!


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 June 1965 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Haufen toller Hunde  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


In Robert Kahn's book, The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Cinema's Hidden Gems, and in the 3 August 2001 New York Times article, "Watching Movies With: Woody Allen," Allen said he regarded Sidney Lumet's "The Hill", along with "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)", "White Heat", "The Informer", "Double Indemnity (1944)", and "Shane (1953)", as being among the best American movies. See more »


The first time the new arrivals are shown around "the hill" by Staff Williams, the shadow of the rig is clearly visible as the camera performs a 360 degree shot from the top of the hill. See more »


[Jacko has defiantly ripped off his uniform]
Sergeant Charlie Harris: You're going into the Commandant's office dressed like this, lad?
Jacko King: Unless you've got a top-hat, and a bone to put through me nose. That's the way you white folks think we done dress at home.
See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.14 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

'We're all doing time, even the screws'
23 March 2000 | by (St.Helens, England) – See all my reviews

This was one of the most poinant lines of the film, neatly summarising the general mood and feeling of the characters.

A lot of people think that this is an anti-war film, which to some degree it is. More accurately, however, it could be labelled an anti-army film. Interestingly enough both views could be maintained without there being any real warfare displayed on the screen. This is a measure of how powerful the film is.

The fighting which we see is actually between the various prison officers and convicts. The film does not simply divide them into opposing groups, but rather explores the differences and tensions between the people who are in power and those who are subject to it.

Like 'Full Metal Jacket', many years later, this movie is a condemnation of the dehumanising process soldiers are forced to go through in order to survive the army. Military prison, as we learn, is a further step down into the merciless and brutal world of the army.

If 'The Hill' was made today, the violence we see would undoubtedly be more explicit and obvious. However, this does not take away anything from the original , as it is the mental torture more than the physical suffering which is portrayed so well in Lumet's work.

It has aged fairly well, mainly due to the accomplished and original way the film is shot and the script is written. Camera angles to induce feelings of dominance, claustrophobia and pressure are utilised perfectly as are the varying degrees of light and dark contrast which accentuates the blazing sun. Every actor is well cast and gives well judged performances, most career bests. Those that stand out are Bannen, Hendry, Connery and Andrews.

At the core of the film is the struggle between Andrews and Bannen's respective characters for ultimate authority in the prison. The bittersweet ending shows that Andrews' charcter, although shaken, will still reign in the hellhouse of a military prison.

Superb, thought provoking film, that rewards the viewer for staying with it as the powerful ending is reached.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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