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The Big Red One (1980)

R | | Drama, War | 18 July 1980 (USA)
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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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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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:

18 July 1980 (USA)  »

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?


The screams from the foxholes as the tanks roll over them seem strangely out of place, but actually happened. Samuel Fuller said, "When we were in those holes, and the tanks were rolling over us, it was our only chance to scream all the terror out and not be heard. We got it all out in those holes..." See more »


In the ambush scene, with the German hiding behind the cross, the sun is shining on the cross and the German's face. However, in the same sequence the cross casts a shadow across the field in the opposite direction to the first scene. See more »


[the troop stops before a memorial]
Johnson: Would you look at how fast they put the names of all our guys who got killed?
The Sergeant: That's a World War One memorial.
Johnson: But the name's are the same.
The Sergeant: They always are.
See more »


Referenced in Charlie Rose: Quentin Tarantino (1994) See more »


Horst Wessel Song
Written by Horst Wessel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Perhaps the last great movie of Lee Marvin...
29 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

Some movies are like buried treasure; someone manages to slip them into the theater, practically under every critic's nose, where they either thrive or famish and then vanish into the nearest video catalog. "The Big Red One" is one of those films. For all the hoopla created by "Saving Private Ryan" (another excellent film, which, in my opinion, had a better understanding of it's subject than a lot of it's critics gave it credit for), it owed a great deal to what Sam Fuller did a decade and a half before.

Lee Marvin, an actual WWII veteran himself, holds the film together as the tough but exhausted seargent. When he tells Mark Hamill (yes, Luke Skywalker, folks) that you don't murder animals, you kill them, the look on his face after that seems to say that he wished it could be some other way. It's hard to grab defining moments in this film as stand-out, but the two sequences that stick the most to my mind are the taking of the insane asylum and the horrors of the concentration camp. While other movies have focused on specific campaigns, "The Big Red One" deserves high marks for painting the broad canvass of the Second World War from the perspective of the guys who actually had to do the work.

52 of 65 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Are the Germans portrayed fairly in this film? gibsonrickenbacker-229-388871
Was this written by a 12-year old? izmatt18-1
Just a buck sergeant after 24 years? shadow1234
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Big Red One - Restoration? wdavew3221
I liked it, but one thing bugged me... norskkontinentalsokkel
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