The Big Red One (1980)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  28 May 1980 (France)
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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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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


The real glory of war is surviving. 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 2005, Mark Hamill, who portrays PFC Griff, lent his voice talents to the video game "Call Of Duty 2: The Big Red One". Like the film, the game follows the exploits of a squad from "The Big Red One" from North Africa to East Europe. See more »


Scenes set in Sicily show a modern Italian tricolor adopted for the Republic of Italy in 1948. During the war the flag would have been the Kingdom of Italy flag with the same tricolor but a House of Savoy emblem in the white field. See more »


Zab: [narrating] Saving that Kraut was the final joke of the whole goddamned war. I mean we had more in common with him than all our replacements who got killed whose names we never even knew. We'd all made it through we were alive. I'm gonna dedicate my book to those who shot but didn't get shot, because it's about survivors. And surviving is the only glory in war, if you know what I mean
See more »


Referenced in Hellboy (2004) 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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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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