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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
According to Robert Carradine in the Reconstruction Documentary, he was originally cast as PFC Griff. But when the producers learned they could get Mark Hamill, fresh off of the success of _Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)_, Carradine was given the role of PFC Zab, so Hamill could be cast as Griff. See more »
During the combat in Africa at one point at least one German is seen wearing 'Flecktarn' pattern camouflage. Though spread through German units in Europe, particularly the SS, the pattern was never issued to members of the Afrika Korps. See more »
This film is really about the experiences that Sam Fuller had during WWII. It is a bit dated, and the low budget really shows, but SF clearly did the best with what he had, and it stands as a great monument on war from a director who was really there.
All of the characters are very likeable, and well acted by Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, and company. The movie is fiction but influenced by real events. Many of the scenes, especially one involving a group of older sicilian women who cook a big meal for the squad, ring very true, since a fiction writer would obviously try and spice them up--the film is very honest, and it is good that Fuller left this story for us. I also like how it ends on a positive, optimistic note.
"The real glory of war is surviving."
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