7.2/10
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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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Writer:

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
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...
Serge Marquand ...
Rensonnet
Charles Macaulay ...
Alain Doutey ...
Broban - Vichy Sergeant)
Maurice Marsac ...
Vichy Colonel
Colin Gilbert ...
Dogface POW
Joseph Clark ...
Pvt. Shep - Soldier on Troop Transport
Ken Campbell ...
Pvt. Lemchek - #2 on Bangalore Torpedo
Doug Werner ...
Switolski
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

18 July 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Red One: The Reconstruction  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,206,220, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reconstructed)

Sound Mix:

(reconstruction)| (original release)

Color:

| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[the Sergeant affixes a cloth red '1' to his uniform. The Captain is drinking from a bottle of booze]
The Sergeant: What do you think?
The Captain: What the hell is it?
The Sergeant: It's a "one". First Infantry Division. The Red One; think General Pershing will like it?
The Captain: Oh, sure.
The Sergeant: I got the idea from the cap of a Hun I killed.
The Captain: When?
The Sergeant: About an hour ago
The Captain: Did he yell out anything?
The Sergeant: Oh, the same old Kaiser stuff, you know, "the war's over," all that junk.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses from the South
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Vignettes of the Survivors of War
9 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

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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