The Execution of Private Slovik (1974)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  13 March 1974 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 733 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 2 critic

The story of Eddie Slovik, who was executed by the Army in 1945, the only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War.



(written for television by), (written for television by), 2 more credits »
0Check in
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Silence of the Heart (TV Movie 1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Skip Lewis is a 16 year old, who's been through some stuff. Like he has been having academic problems, and a girl whom he has been pursuing has told him that she has no interest in him. He ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Michaels
Stars: Mariette Hartley, Dana Hill, Howard Hesseman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young man returning home from World War II finds himself caught up in his parents' turbulent relationship.

Director: Ulu Grosbard
Stars: Patricia Neal, Jack Albertson, Martin Sheen
Lord Jim (1965)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After being discredited as a coward, a 19th century seaman (Peter O'Toole) lives for only one purpose: to redeem himself. Based on Joseph Conrad's novel written in 1900.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Peter O'Toole, James Mason, Curd Jürgens
Short | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

During the Civil War, a Southern civilian is about to be hanged for attempting to sabotage a railway bridge. When the execution takes place from the bridge, the rope breaks and he begins his escape toward home.

Director: Robert Enrico
Stars: Roger Jacquet, Anne Cornaly, Anker Larsen
Catch-22 (1970)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Roy and Bo leave their small town the weekend after graduation for a short road trip to LA. Soon, they find themselves lashing out and leaving a trail of bodies behind them. The violence escalates throughout.

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Stars: Maxwell Caulfield, Charlie Sheen, Patti D'Arbanville
The Fourth Wise Man (TV Movie 1985)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of Artaban, the fourth Magi, who spends his life looking for Jesus his King.

Director: Michael Ray Rhodes
Stars: Martin Sheen, Alan Arkin, Eileen Brennan
Lenny (1974)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of acerbic 1960s comic Lenny Bruce, whose groundbreaking, no-holds-barred style and social commentary was often deemed by the Establishment as too obscene for the public.

Director: Bob Fosse
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Jan Miner
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
Bob Roberts (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A right-wing folk singer becomes a corrupt politician and runs a crooked election campaign. Only one independent muck-raking reporter is trying to stop him.

Director: Tim Robbins
Stars: Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Rickman
Fail-Safe (1964)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction. Can all-out war be averted?

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver


Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Slovik
Antoinette Slovik
Father Stafford
Jimmy Feedek
Ben Hammer ...
Lt. Col. Leacock
Warren J. Kemmerling ...
Maj. Fellman (as Warren Kemmerling)
Kathryn Grody ...
Paul Lambert ...
Joe Sirelli
Joe George ...
109th Regiment Sergeant (as Joseph George)
Laurence Haddon ...
James Burr Johnson ...


The story of Eddie Slovik, who was executed by the Army in 1945, the only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Was it an Act of Cowardice... or an Act of Conscience?


Biography | Drama


See all certifications »





Release Date:

13 March 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Execução do Soldado Slovik  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The court-martial scene was filmed in the Grand Ballroom of the passenger ship and tourist attraction Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California. See more »


Father Stafford: Give it another volley if you like it so much!
Lt. Col. Leacock: Take it easy, Padre! None of us are enjoying this.
See more »


Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby
Written by Louis Jordan and Billy Austin
Performed by Louis Jordan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Irrationality of War
10 December 2005 | by (The Society NY) – See all my reviews

This film received and deserved the many comments it has received. Indeed I think of Private Slovik whenever I see The Bush decked out in his cute little airforce suit declaring victories in Irak. But for a rich Dad, The Bush's story could have been the same.

The film was excellently made. Martin Sheen departed from his usual tough guy All American role to play the snivelling coward Pvt Slovik whose very name excited the passions of the surviving veterans of "The Big One" whenever a Democratic President proposed rehabilitation as Johnson and Carter would have but for the intense opposition they encountered. Certainly one can sympathize with the character Sheen played as he happily profits while others receive draft notices or volunteer for war.

But wars, even one so popular with the liberal intellectuals as World War II, cost. The manpower pool drains and less likely men such as Slovik must be called upon.

Oh yes Slovik was no kind of soldier. A Sergeant had to fake Slovik's rifle range card to get Slovik out of BCT (Basic Training.) It would seem Slovik's military career got off to an inauspicious beginning. In combat Slovik deserts and refuses to return to the front.

Was Pvt Slovik justified in being afraid? Of course he was! Every sane person who heard rifles crackle was afraid. Pvt Slovik differed. He acted on his fears. If everyone in a military unit acted on fear, the resulting panic would lead to disastrous defeat. In combat with an enemy like the German Reich or Imperial Japan, defeat would not have been a matter like paying off the enemy with a grain deal but would have had a direct and disastrous effect on major segments of the American population.

Slovik played the system. Offered the chance to return to the front, he gambled on a courtmartial and lost. With the type of casualties incurred in combat, the result was obvious. Slovik figured the sentence would be remitted and reduced to 30 years. With bravado not shown to the enemy, Slovik prophesied that after the war it'd be reduced to time served.

Instead he was led to the firing squad, the only possible end under the circumstances. He stands as a tribute to the irrationality of war. We can only justify the sacrifices of combat by the punishment meted out to those who shrink from it.

6 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Deserved it?? mlmartinny
This movie belongs on DVD. sublevel27
My favorite Martin Sheen performance. heberald26
A section 8 discharge nelson95
Discuss The Execution of Private Slovik (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: