A US Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers in World War II.

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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 »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

15 June 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das dreckige Dutzend  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 8,990,000 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The training segment of the story took two months to film. See more »

Goofs

When Kinder and Reisman sit down at the table to discuss the 12, a canteen appears which was not in the previous shot See more »

Quotes

Major John Reisman: How come you speak German?
Joseph T. Wladislaw: My old man came from Silesia. He didn't speak German, he didn't dig coal. If he didn't dig coal, he didn't eat.
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 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Dirty Half Dozen (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Semper Fidelis
(uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Arranged by Frank De Vol
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A good old fashioned war film with no hidden agenda.
9 July 2000 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

A generally entertaining war film with no real political axe to grind or patriotic flagwaving getting in the way.

Its very dangerous trying to humourise war in the movies, because that would be offensive to all those that had served & died in real life. Kelly's Heroes and 1941 probably went a little too far, pretending that war is really fun & cool when you've got people like Clint Eastwood in charge.

But then you have other war films that are black in its humour but manage to keep into focus the cruelty & horrors of war at the same time

  • M*A*S*H and Catch 22 are the best examples.




With Dirty Dozen we have something of a go-between; the humour amongst the characters is light & welcoming but never falls into farce or bad-taste; and Aldrich quickly pulls us back into the fold with some tight scripted scenes of drama & mass murder (throwing petrol & grenades into that German bunker to name but one. I often wonder about that scene, and whether it was some kind of metaphor for the gas chambers & concentration camps in Belsen)

But unlike MASH & Catch 22, Aldrich resists the temptation to openly politicise the effects of war, after all this film was made in '67 near the height of the Vietnam war/protests. Instead he takes a straight line course of action and lets us be moved & entertained by the convicted GIs doing their duty.

Marvin is excellent as the hardnosed but disobediant Major. He plays the anti-hero far better than Eastwood in Kelly's Heroes. Marvin just looks the type who'd give the top brass as well the Germans a real hard time.

But special mention must go to Cassavettes as Viktor Franko, the trouble-maker's trouble-maker. His character is so refreshing & wild amongst a relatively mild cast of supporting extras, with the exception of Savalas. Franko is the Joker of the pack but you soon feel an attachment for him in spite of his crimes.

Sutherland & Bronson, don't really add much. The former plays a slightly naive man who hasn't really grown up and Bronson just smirks & mumbles a lot.

The only other character worthy of a mention is the truly terrifying Savalas, who is a Christian through & through, yet hates all women as much as the Germans; and has a most spine chilling laugh! Difficult to believe this man later became Kojak!

The film is a tad overlong; the first & last 40 minutes hold the interest but the middle section (the War Games scene), is far too long and generally detracts.

All the same, DD is a very good movie, especially for those who don't want to be politically moralised too.

***/*****


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