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Hornets' Nest (1970)

 -  Drama | Action | War  -  9 September 1970 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 423 users  
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A commando unit is dropped behind the German lines in Italy and its mission is to blow up a strategic dam. However, the unit is ambushed and only its leader survives. He is picked up by a ... See full summary »


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Title: Hornets' Nest (1970)

Hornets' Nest (1970) on IMDb 5.6/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Von Hecht
Giacomo Rossi-Stuart ...
Jacques Sernas ...
Maj. Taussig
Mark Colleano ...
Mauro Gravina ...
John Fordyce ...
Giuseppe Cassuto ...
Amedeo Castracane ...
Giancarlo Colombaioni ...
Ronald Colombaioni ...
Valerio Colombaioni ...
Giuseppe Coppola ...
Luigi Criscuolo ...


A commando unit is dropped behind the German lines in Italy and its mission is to blow up a strategic dam. However, the unit is ambushed and only its leader survives. He is picked up by a ragtag group of local youths, who strike a bargain with him--they will help him blow the dam if he will help them get revenge on the Germans, who have taken over their village and killed their parents. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dam | revenge | commando unit | italy | mission | See more »


Meet Captain Turner's Baby Brigade! When they get hurt they cry! When they get mad they kill! Give them a ball, they'll make up a game! Give them a grenade, they'll blow up the world! See more »


Drama | Action | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some war violence | See all certifications »





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Release Date:

9 September 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hornets' Nest  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A year before this film was made, Sylva Koscina had appeared in another World War II movie, The Battle of Neretva (1969), aka "The Battle of Neretva", which was filmed in her home country of Yugoslavia. See more »


Although the story takes place in 1944, all the hair styles are strictly in the 1970 mode. Hudson's fashionably long hair is strictly unmilitary, and he even sports 1970 sideburns and a handlebar moustache; Koscina's big hair is a 1970s trademark; even the kids look like refugees from the streets of the era in which the film was made, not at all like World War II orphans. See more »


General Von Kleber: General Rutke is taking over a Panzer division in this push. I could arrange to have you posted to his staff. You've been asking for a transfer back to the fighting forces.
Von Hecht: No thank you. Where I am now, suddenly there is good hunting. I'd hate to give that up.
General Von Kleber: You really are your father's son.
Von Hecht: Thank you, General. How many men can be sure of that?
See more »


Referenced in Django Unchained (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Off The Scale Awful
13 August 2006 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Rebecca: This is so bad it's almost good.

Enid: This is so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again.

In the 1960's and early 1970's, if you were short on money and wanted to make a movie (and did not care what kind of movie), financing was always available in Italy for anyone willing to do something to refurbish Italy's WWII image (which somehow managed to be both shameful AND embarrassing). Italy had been high on militaristic fascism (although not very good at it) until things started to go bad for the Axis. Then they surrendered so fast that German troops did not have time to get out of the country even if they had wanted to. Since then Italy has pretended that they were actually on the winning side.

"Hornet's Nest" is a product of this mentally, a propaganda film that would have been ludicrous had it been made during the war (even by propaganda film standards) but was just painful by 1970. The infliction of something this moronic on audiences could be considered Hitler's final act of revenge.

Prior to seeing "Hornet's Nest" I had believed that Rock Hudson's career bottomed out in 1971 with "Pretty Maids in a Row" and then was somewhat revived when he switched to television acting the next year. But now I can see that "Pretty Maids" was actually the beginning of a climb up from an even lower point represented by "Hornet's Nest".

As someone has already mentioned, "Hornet's Nest" has become a gay cult classic. Presumably this was unintentional in 1970 but you really have to wonder. Here is WWII army paratrooper Rock, dressed in a uniform more cigar republic than U.S. Army (see Seinfeld's Cuban cigar makers episode), a bandito mustache, and hair over his ears 1970's style. He hangs out with and disciplines a bunch of Italian boys in various states of undress. There are lingering and unnecessarily extreme close-ups of a German officer's boots being shined by one of the Italian boys. And the German soldiers show an extraordinary amount of interest in the other Italian boys, especially when the boys take off their clothes.

If not the worst WWII movie it certainly is in the running for that designation. Some war movies tease you at the beginning into believing they might be decent but "Hornet" crashes and burns with its very first scene as the evil Germans are shown massacring an entire Italian village with special emphasis on the Priest. Things don't go downhill but stay pretty much at that propaganda film level (it is no surprise that the writer was later responsible for the lame WWII episodes of the Wonder Woman TV show).

The premise of the film (which seems to be more afterthought than character motivation) is blowing up an Italian dam. Since the Germans are withdrawing from Italy it would seem more logical for the Allies to want to protect the dam from German demolition but logic is in very short supply in this story.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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