7.8/10
53,345
159 user 73 critic

The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 15 June 1967 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,322 ( 1,756)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: GP Adventure | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A group of U.S. soldiers sneaks across enemy lines to get their hands on a secret stash of Nazi treasure.

Director: Brian G. Hutton
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles
Certificate: M Action | Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Allied agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding an American General prisoner... but that's not all that's really going on.

Director: Brian G. Hutton
Stars: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel.

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view.

Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and 3 more credits »
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.

Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Caine
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A dramatization of Nazi Germany's final Western Front counterattack of World War II.

Director: Ken Annakin
Stars: Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill unfolds at the height of World War II.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Allied P.O.W.s plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough
Patton (1970)
Certificate: GP Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young
Bullitt (1968)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the UK.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews
Edit

Cast

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

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 »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

15 June 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das dreckige Dutzend  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

George Kennedy, Clint Walker, Ernest Borgnine and Jim Brown were reunited to play the voices of the soldiers some 31 years later in Small Soldiers (1998). See more »

Goofs

Although US military personnel were executed on British soil during WW2, the hanging sequence in The Dirty Dozen shows US Military Policemen carrying out the execution. In reality, they were not legally allowed to do this. Instead, the hangings were carried out by British hangmen such as Albert Pierrepoint, with American personnel acting only as official witnesses. See more »

Quotes

Major John Reisman: Boy, do I love that Franko.
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 Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Bramble Bush
Music by Frank De Vol
Lyrics by Mack David
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Excellent WWII Action Piece and Representation of 60s Pop Culture
28 March 2005 | by (St. Davids, Pennsylvania, USA) – See all my reviews

Acclaimed director Robert Aldrich (also famous to war film buffs for his rule-breaking drama, "Attack") twists the familiar 'unit picture' into a famous story of unexpected heroism in the midst of World War II. Instead of making his heroes clean-cut, American draftees, we're looking at the dirtiest convicts the Armed Forces has got to offer.

OSS Major Reisman (Lee Marvin, "Hell in the Pacific") is an insubordinate Army officer who's facing a court-martial, when he's given one last chance for a reprieve: select twelve Army prisoners from a maximum-security detention center, train them for a top-secret mission behind the German lines, and then lead them into battle. If they succeed in the mission, they'll be released. For Reisman, it's a tough call, but it's his only chance to save his career.

The men he was to work with are a mixed batch, and director Aldrich packs a lot of character development into a two-and-a-half-hour movie. The most important of the "Dirty Dozen" is Franko, a small-time Chicago hoodlum who's facing the gallows for robbery and subsequent murder of a British civilian. It's clear from the start that Franko is a loner who thinks he's big stuff, but Reisman manages to prove that he's really all talk. More than once, he considers and even attempts escape from the remote training camp that the Dozen are forced to build – but maybe, just maybe, beneath that rebellious attitude, there's a chance for redemption.

Then there are some more sympathetic types: Wladislaw (Charles Bronson, "Battle of the Bulge") was once a front-line infantryman who shot his platoon's medic when the medic got scared under fire and started running – Bronson says "He took off with all the medical supplies… only way to stop him was to shoot him." Jefferson (Jim Brown, "Ice Station Zebra") has been convicted for murder – his defense is he was defending himself from vicious, racist MPs who were abusing him. Wladislaw and Jefferson find themselves allied in order to get Franko on their side, because they have faith in Reisman and aren't willing to let Franko's rebellion become infectious.

Also in fine support is Clint Walker ("None But the Brave") as the big Navajo, Posey, who punched a man too hard for shoving him. He really didn't mean to kill him; he just doesn't like being pushed. Posey comes off as a cuddly teddy bear who'd never intentionally hurt a soul, and it's clear from the start that he's one of the good guys. Finally, Telly Savalas ("Kelly's Heroes") lends a hand as the psychotic, racist, religious fanatic Maggot, who believes his job is to punish the other 11 men for their "wickedness". His motives are never really clear; all we really know is that Maggot is somewhat unhinged and potentially dangerous.

Even though Reisman and his squad don't get along, they're forced to become allied against a common enemy – the American General Staff, who want to do nothing short of shut the operation down. Aldrich again breaks the rules, making the conventionally "good guys" into the enemy. The Germans are barely mentioned throughout the first two acts, and only become involved for the explosive finale. The heart of this movie is anti-establishment behavior, right in the vein of the protest culture of the 60s: the good guys are the unshaven criminals, and the bad guys are the clean-cut, well-dressed Generals who come across as stupid and vain. As Colonel Everett Dasher Breed, Robert Ryan ("Flying Leathernecks") makes an excellent bully, a villain that the Dozen eventually unite to take action against.

Once the men have been trained and are finally cooperating and acting as a unit, it's time to set them loose on the Nazis. And still, the story doesn't become stereotypical. The mission is simple: the men will parachute into occupied France, penetrate a château being used as a rest center for high-level German officers, and kill as many of said officers as possible in a short amount of time. This operation involves stabbing defenseless women, machine-gunning prisoners, and finally, locking several dozen German officers and their mistresses in an underground bomb shelter, pouring gasoline down on them through air vents, loading said air vents with hand grenades, and then blowing up the whole place.

Characters and story aside, the film benefits from some superb editing by Michael Luciano. Director Aldrich and cinematographer Edward Scaife work hand in hand to compose every shot. The cramped, dank prison cells in the first act are utterly convincing, and the layout of the huge, magnificent German-occupied château looks, quite appropriately, like a cross between a marvelous mansion and an impregnable fortress. The battle scenes are well-choreographed, too. Never does a moment go by where we do not know where one encounter is happening in relation to what the rest of the squad is dealing with in and around the Château. Frank de Vol's sweeping score is used sparingly, and adds to both the humor and suspense of the picture. One scene, in which Donald Sutherland's character "inspects" a platoon of the 82nd Airborne, is set to a live orchestra's performance perfectly.

War is a really a dirty business – this isn't a movie about men playing by the rules. It's about breaking every rule in the book to get a job done, and if a few innocent bystanders get in the way, they're simply collateral damage. On a higher level, Aldrich's film reflects culture attitudes of the late 60s. Moviegoers wanted a film which encouraged breaking the rules, which showed the higher levels of the American military as deeply flawed, and made the dregs of society into the heroes of the piece. It's a cynical representation of the time it was made in, but holds up flawlessly 40 years later, in a culture which has probably been shaped by the attitudes the film reflects in every frame.

10/10


68 of 91 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
War Crime wirenutz
why does Wladislaw hesitate tapdanze
What happened to Posey JohnS-37
Reisman's rank nelson95
Reisman slapping the horse (POSEY) happyhshoe-64216
The difference in prisoner sentences nelson95
Discuss The Dirty Dozen (1967) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page