Critic Reviews



Based on 20 critic reviews provided by
Chicago Reader
A grand-style, idiosyncratic war epic, with wonderful poetic ideas, intense emotions, and haunting images rich in metaphysical portent.
Marvin's taciturn performance--a moving demonstration of masculine grace under pressure--may be his finest.
It's a terrific war yarn, a picture of palpable raw power which manages both Intense intimacy and great scope at the same time. (Review of Original Release)
What the movie may lack in "Saving Private Ryan"-style gloss, it more than makes up for in authenticity, or, in other words, heart.
The Big Red One, for all its uncompromising brutality, is viscerally, angrily alive. Fuller was lucky to survive the war. It is our good fortune that this film, a tribute to his luck (and to those who did not share it), has come back to life.
Fuller was never a poetic director, but in The Big Red One he finds what in himself was closest to lyricism. Fuller's movie is like flowers thrown on a battlefield in remembrance, and it makes the overblown war movies that have followed seem like cheap and tatty Veteran's Day poppies.
The A.V. Club
In some respects a less tidy film than before, particularly when it veers off into a subplot involving a Nazi soldier played by Siegfried Rauch, the new cut mostly retains the original's virtues while adding details and episodes that make it more recognizably a Fuller film.
Hard-boiled, filled with action, held together by male camaraderie, directed with a lean economy of action. It's one of the most expensive B-pictures ever made, and I think that helps it fit the subject. "A" war movies are about War, but "B" war movies are about soldiers. (Review of Original Release)
Its kitschy grabs at the surreal--the scene in a lunatic asylum, where German troops are billeted, manages to be at once implausible and offensive--that blocks any close engagement with the drama. That said, you must see this film for one unstoppable reason, and that is Lee Marvin.
Village Voice
Certainly a testament to Fuller's tenacity, but recent raves notwithstanding, it's no masterpiece...The Big Red One isn't even Fuller's greatest war film. Of those, I'd rank it fourth -- but that's not half bad.

More Critic Reviews

See all external reviews for The Big Red One (1980) »

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Reviews | User Ratings | External Reviews