Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.
Kelly, a prostitute, traumatised by an experience, referred to as 'The Naked Kiss,' by psychiatrists, leaves her past, and finds solace in the town of Grantville. She meets Griff, the ... See full summary »
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
1st Infantry Division on 11th November 1918 held the line along Meuse river, near the town Mouzon (that were the final stages of Meuse-Argonne offensive, and whole war altogether); in the movie, when sergeant and his team approach an ambush by the old cross, we see that this is the spot from the first scene, the last day of the WWI. And on the memorial ("But the names are the same...") it reads "Killed in action - Soissons". Big Red One actually did fight near Soissons, but that was during the so-called Second Battle of the Marne, July to first week of August 1918. See more »
The Big Red One isn't so much a war movie as it is a message, sometimes obscure, of what war is really like. There is much symbolism in this movie, for example the human arm, with a wristwatch on it, washing in the bloody surf of Omaha Beach. If you want realistic detail of combat, watch Saving Private Ryan. If you want to the voice of experience, blurry from the passage of time, The Big Red One is a movie to see.
Keep in mind that this movie reflects the life experiences of some survivors of WWII. That Lee Marvin was cast as the grizzled sergeant is part of the symbolism: Marvin was a combat Marine who participated in the invasion of Saipan; he is cast as a survivor of WWI who is retracing part of the path he took during that conflict. I found some of the scenes from the movie barely believable, for example, the French insane asylum, but you must keep in mind that there is a message from the survivors of that war in each and every scene. How you take the message, apparently, is up to you.
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