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The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, War | 22 October 1967 (UK)
During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Trini López ...
Pedro Jiminez (as Trini Lopez)
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Tom Busby ...
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Train them! Excite them! Arm them!...Then turn them loose on the Nazis! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

22 October 1967 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Das dreckige Dutzend  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,400,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$45,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Ernest Borgnine in his autobiography, during the shooting, Lee Marvin once talked about Jim Brown with much disrespect, in Brown's absence, because of his skin color. Borgnine wrote Marvin was lucky that Brown was not there to hear it. See more »

Goofs

The Chateau scene: When Jefferson shoots the soldier through the 2nd-floor window, there doesn't appear to be any glass in the framing, but we clearly hear the sound of shattering glass as the soldier tumbles. See more »

Quotes

Major John Reisman: What do you think, Sergeant?
Sergeant Clyde Bowren: I think you'll do just fine, sir.
Major John Reisman: [emphatically] Don't give me that! I said what do you think?
Sergeant Clyde Bowren: I think the first chance one of those lovers gets, he's going to shoot the Major right in the head... sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits don't occur until 10 minutes into the film. While it is common nowadays for films to have a pre-credits sequence, it was considered innovative in 1967. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.1 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Idiot Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A well structured and interesting story, although poorly edited in the final act
20 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

It's difficult when you approach an old movie to see it for the first time and you have to try and drop all the baggage associated with it from reviews and analysis over the years. The Dirty Dozen is such a movie. I just watched it for the first time last night on TV, clipped though it was for those smaller brained people among us who don't like to see dark bits at the top and bottom of their screens.

It's interesting that there are three real character acts to this movie. There's the dark opening and character introduction, the fun act where the characters meld together into a team, and the closing act where the mission, and the war, become a stark and deadly reality. That last act is dark too, although there a couple of accidental laughs in there for the worst character expression at a death ever, and one particularly bad death scene.

What does strike you about the opening is how really dark it all is. We're talking about murders who are looking at to be retrained. Indeed one is a rapist with a serious God complex who is bordering on utterly insane. They are about to be hanged for their crimes, but have one last chance. Poor Major John Reisman has no say in the matter, he has his band and has to make them work.

It's well filmed for the first two character acts, and the acting is very good. John Cassavetes and Telly Savalas are wonderful in their roles. In fact it's a surprise to see Savalas in such a role and shining so brightly. Donald Sutherland also shows he has some excellent character acting in him. The rest are far from bad, but you can see a lot of typecasting for them.

The movement from the dark opening to the more jovial training act is interesting to watch, as this is exactly how many of the characters are seeing it, as a bit of fun. What they aren't expecting is the third character act, that of the actual war itself, and for some this proves too much.

The difficulty I had with the final act is only in the filming. There are premature cuts, awkward angles and jumping storytelling. So much is missed by the camera, and it doesn't feel like it's there to let your imagination run, it seems like someone has cut the film deliberately, and quite badly. There are quite a few scene transitions that just don't work at all.

However, where it doesn't fail is bringing the characters to their ultimate journey, that of redemption and a renewed desire to fight for their Major, and their fellow men. They become soldiers, and indeed heroes.

It's a good war film to watch, very well structured and reflective of the characters journeys. It's just that final act for me which spoiled my enjoyment, and purely in the filming of it.


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