The Big Red One (1980)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  28 May 1980 (France)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 14,816 users   Metascore: 77/100
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The story of a sergeant and the inner core members of his unit as they try to serve in and survive World War II.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby Di Cicco ...
Underground Walloon fighter at asylum (as Stephane Audran)
Siegfried Rauch ...
Schroeder (German sergeant)
Serge Marquand ...
Charles Macaulay ...
General / captain
Alain Doutey ...
Broban (Vichy sergeant)
Maurice Marsac ...
Vichy colonel
Colin Gilbert ...
Dog Face POW
Joseph Clark ...
Pvt. Shep (soldier on troop transport)
Ken Campbell ...
Pvt. Lemchek (#2 on Bangalore torpedo)
Doug Werner ...


The story of a hardened army Sergeant and four of his men from their first fight at the Kasserine Pass after the invasion of North Africa through to the invasion of Sicily, D-Day, the Ardennes forest and the liberation of a concentration camp at the end of the war. As the five of them fight - and survive to fight yet again in the next battle - new recruits joining the squad are swatted down by the enemy on a regular basis. The four privates are naturally reluctant to get to know any of the new recruits joining the squad, who become just a series of nameless faces. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Only chance could have thrown them together. Now, nothing can pull them apart. See more »


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

28 May 1980 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Red One: The Reconstruction  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (reconstructed)

Sound Mix:

(reconstruction)| (original release)


| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the Reconstructed version, the Captain in the World War I prologue reappears in a short segment as the Commanding General of the Big Red One just prior to the Battle of Hurgten Forest in the Fall of 1944. The actual Commanding General during that time period, Major General Clarence R. Huebner, really was a Captain in the Big Red One at the end of World War I, so this is historically accurate rather than just poetic license. See more »


In the crematorium scene Griff doesn't fire 18 rounds as often thought. He fires 8, then if you listen closely, the ninth noise is a clip ejected, and the tenth is the sound of a new clip being inserted. He then fires another 8, which is correct. See more »


The Sergeant: Killing insane people is not good for public relations.
Griff: Killing sane people is okay?
The Sergeant: That's right.
See more »


Referenced in Beauty (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the most under-rated war films ever
12 July 2001 | by (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The Big Red One" is a nickname given to the 1st Infantry Squadron's on World War 2. The film is brilliantly scripted, and feels very realistic in it's depictions of World War 2 battles. There's a reason why the film is realistic. It's based on actual experiences that the Writer/Director, Sam Fuller, went through during his time in the war.

The movie follows several soldiers in The 1st Infantry. Lee Marvin brilliantly plays The Sergeant. Four soldiers under his command, played by Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Kelly Ward and Bobby Di Cicco, have been named The Four Hoursemen, and they become well known among other soldiers. Despite being in a position and squad, where most troops come in and die before others even know their names, these four manage to live through the most dangerous situations and missions. Most of the time without even getting a scratch on them.

There's no big overall story in "The Big Red One". It's made up of many different combat scenes that The Sergeant and his men fight in. The D-Day footage is almost as realistic and frightening as those shot in "Saving Private Ryan", and this was made 18 years earlier. There are some very dramatic and intense scenes in this film, but it avoids making the viewer feel too depressed or saddened, thanks to a lot of light humour throughout the script.

Although "The Big Red One" is not well known, it easily ranks up there with Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, and Tora Tora Tora as one of the greatest war films of all time. I can't recommend this movie enough to anyone reading this. "The Big Red One" does not disappoint. It gets a perfect 10 from me.

26 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Was this written by a 12-year old? izmatt18-1
Just a buck sergeant after 24 years? shadow1234
Big Red One - Restoration? wdavew3221
made in 1980? srmcaf
I liked it, but one thing bugged me... norskkontinentalsokkel
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