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A Major with an attitude problem and a history of getting things done is told to interview military prisoners with death sentences or long terms for a dangerous mission; To parachute behind enemy lines and cause havoc for the German Generals at a rest house on the eve of D-Day. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
This is one of the most entertaining action packed war films ever made with a tremendous cast playing unique characters. I first saw this film when I was about 8 year old and thought it was the best thing I'd seen on TV.
Lee Marvin heads the cast as an unorthadox, short on discipline rebellious Major during World War II whose given a suicidal mission by a bunch of Generals headed by the excellent Ernest Borgnine. He must take 12 convicts train them and take them on a mission behind enemy lines to destroy a large chateau and kill a large number of important German officers who'll be partying there that night.
The films explosive climax is fantastic as you know inevitably that not everyone will survive the mission and by now you've sort of chosen who your favourite characters are. The build up and the training scenes are also brilliant as you discover the backgrounds behind these violent criminals.
It's Marvin's show but John Cassavettes is superb as Victor Franco, in fact with a supporting cast featuring Robert Ryan, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, George Kennedy and Clint Walker you know you're in for a great ride, nobody is wasted.
There's a lot of humour mixed with quite serious issues...you sometimes forget that this band of jokers are killers with only one chance to survive a mission they are hardly trained for.
This classic is on par with The Great Escape and Where Eagles Dare, Three inferior TV movies were made in the mid eighties which basically take the same idea from the original but they are obviously no match.
It's available on video and DVD and every home should have a copy. Flawless.
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