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Hornets' Nest (1970)

In 1944, during a sabotage mission, the sole surviving U.S. paratrooper is saved by a group of Italian orphans who later aid him in blowing-up a vital enemy dam.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Von Hecht
Schwalberg (as Giacomo Rossi-Stuart)
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 frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

9 September 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il vespaio  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many critics savaged this film upon its release because of what they deemed the uncomfortable example of children killing and being killed in a military operation. 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 »


Von Hecht: [after being shot in the arm by Aldo] Just what I need. A shoe shine. Congratulations. You've just captured a whole live German.
See more »


Referenced in Django Unchained (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Rock Hudson leads a little army of war waifs in WWII Italy against the Nazis
14 May 2010 | by See all my reviews

So-so wartime movie follows a group of children saboteurs commanded by an Allied officer whose aim is to blow up a dam vital to the Nazis in Italy. It happens during WWWII when Captain Turner (a moustachioed Rock Hudson )is lone survivor of an Army commando unit that parachuted into the Italian countryside . A small group of orphans must rescue the American captain to be hold by the Nazis. Then the wounded captain is saved , meanwhile the children kidnap a German doctor ( a sultry Sylvia Koscina but rather unlikely medic) . Turner wants the kids to help him blow up a dam and the boys want his help in getting avenge on the Nazis (Sergio Fantoni ,Jacques Sernas,Gerad Herter, Andrea Bosic) who had massacred his families and occupied their small village.

This warlike movie packs well-staged action scenes , double-crosses, thrills, blood-letting images and criticism about the futility of war but doesn't quite hang together. It contains some unsettling and disconcerting frames as when the kids attempt to rape the German medic and are suddenly interrupted by the healed captain. The nice international cast includes American , British, French and mostly Italian actors such as Sergio Fantoni, Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Andrea Bosic , among others. Good musical score by usual Ennio Morricone and adequate cinematography by Gabor Pogany filmed on location in Italian outdoors. The motion picture is professionally directed by Phil Karlson, though drags in some places with little believable situations . There were no half measures in this filmmaker. He would make adventure movies or violent and noir films . As he directed Western as ¨Gunman's walk¨ , ¨They rode west¨, ¨Texas rangers, ¨Iroquois trail¨ and Gansters genre as ¨Phenix city story¨ and ¨Scarface mob¨. Furthermore, Elvis Presley vehicles as ¨Kid Galahad¨ and Dean Martin as ¨The silencers¨and ¨Wrecking crew¨ . Failure alternated with hits through his career, though Karlson's direction was more than successful in ¨ Walking tall¨ with invaluable help of Joe Don Baker . ¨Hornest's nest¨ is an acceptable and passable film with some scenes of relentless action that keep you breathless . This stirring movie will appeal to Rock Hudson fans and WWII buffs.

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