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
"The Big Red One" is a nickname given to the 1st Infantry Squadron's on World War 2. The film is brilliantly scripted, and feels very realistic in it's depictions of World War 2 battles. There's a reason why the film is realistic. It's based on actual experiences that the Writer/Director, Sam Fuller, went through during his time in the war.
The movie follows several soldiers in The 1st Infantry. Lee Marvin brilliantly plays The Sergeant. Four soldiers under his command, played by Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Kelly Ward and Bobby Di Cicco, have been named The Four Hoursemen, and they become well known among other soldiers. Despite being in a position and squad, where most troops come in and die before others even know their names, these four manage to live through the most dangerous situations and missions. Most of the time without even getting a scratch on them.
There's no big overall story in "The Big Red One". It's made up of many different combat scenes that The Sergeant and his men fight in. The D-Day footage is almost as realistic and frightening as those shot in "Saving Private Ryan", and this was made 18 years earlier. There are some very dramatic and intense scenes in this film, but it avoids making the viewer feel too depressed or saddened, thanks to a lot of light humour throughout the script.
Although "The Big Red One" is not well known, it easily ranks up there with Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, and Tora Tora Tora as one of the greatest war films of all time. I can't recommend this movie enough to anyone reading this. "The Big Red One" does not disappoint. It gets a perfect 10 from me.
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