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The Big Red One (1980) Poster

Trivia

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Many critics felt that Lee Marvin was too old at 54 to play the sergeant.
The screams from the foxholes as the tanks roll over them seem strangely out of place, but actually happened. Samuel Fuller said, "When we were in those holes, and the tanks were rolling over us, it was our only chance to scream all the terror out and not be heard. We got it all out in those holes . . . ".
In the Reconstructed version, the captain in the World War I prologue reappears in a short segment as the commanding general of the Big Red One just prior to the Battle of Huertgen Forest in the fall of 1944. The actual commanding general during that time period, Maj. Gen. Clarence R. Huebner, really was a captain in the Big Red One at the end of World War I.
In the "Reconstruction" documentary, Robert Carradine says that when he, Mark Hamill, Bobby Di Cicco and Kelly Ward first met Lee Marvin, Marvin didn't say anything at first. After they got into a taxi to drive out to the shooting range where they would hone their skills, Marvin finally said, "Which one of you is Carradine?" Robert Carradine answered, "I am." Marvin's response: "Fuck you, Carradine." A short time later, after they'd been working together, Carradine asked Marvin why he said that to him. Marvin replied, "Because yours was the only name I recognized."
Director Samuel Fuller served in World War II. He was a member of "The Big Red One" and many of the moments in this movie are based upon his own experiences.
During the UK clampdown on video nasties in the 1980s the film was briefly seized by Manchester police, who believed it to be a sex film.
The bulk of the picture was shot in Israel, and director Samuel Fuller remarked that it was unsettling after a scene was shot when the German soldiers and SS troops would take off their helmets and Fuller would see them wearing yarmulkes; also, between takes they would be sitting around the set in full Nazi uniform speaking Hebrew or reading the Torah.
According to a review in the 'Variety Movie Guide', this movie was "Based on [the] writer-director's [i.e. Samuel Fuller] own experiences as a GI, pic was announced as a John Wayne starrer in the late 1950s and came close to realization on many other occasions, but only came together when producer Gene Corman found means to make it almost entirely in Israel."
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This is regarded as Lee Marvin's final war movie, as The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985) was made for television.
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According to film historian Richard Schickel, the scene in which the sergeant (Lee Marvin) is wounded is a re-creation of how Marvin was wounded in real life as a Marine in the Pacific. As in the film, Marvin was shot through the back and collapsed down on his knees.
In the film commentary, Richard Schickel points out two incidents which really happened to Samuel Fuller while serving in the Big Red One and are given to Pvt. Zab (Robert Carradine) in the film: One was when Zab is playing basketball and spots Keiser (Perry Lang) reading his novel. In real life, Fuller didn't know his novel had been published until he spotted a soldier reading it. The other major incident is when Zab acts as runner during the D-Day invasion and tells the colonel that they've broken through. Fuller was awarded a medal for his actions.
According to Robert Carradine in the Reconstruction Documentary, he was originally cast as Pfc. Griff. However, when the producers learned they could get Mark Hamill, fresh off of the success of _Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)_, Carradine was given the role of Pfc. Zab, so Hamill could be cast as Griff.
In 2005 Mark Hamill, who plays Pfc. Griff, lent his voice talents to the video game Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (2005). Like the film, the game follows the exploits of a squad from "The Big Red One" from North Africa to Eastern Europe.
Lee Marvin fought in WWII, but in the Pacific at Saipan.
All the Nazi concentration camp guards are played by Jews. The location was a military base in Israel and the jailers were Israeli soldiers loaned for the production.
Until this film, Samuel Fuller hadn't directed a picture in 11 years, his last credited film--he directed part of The Deadly Trackers (1973) before being fired, and was not credited for it--was Shark! (1969)_.
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During the course of filming, Lee Marvin and Perry Lang got into an argument. While filming the scene where they come to Crucifix Hill (where the Nazis are planning an ambush), Lang kept waving and gesturing his arms while he spoke. After the scene was finished, Marvin growled at Lang, "What the fuck was all that crap about?", and Lang replied by cursing out Marvin. According to the other actors in the Reconstruction Documentary, neither Marvin nor Lang spoke to one another for the next week. Finally, Marvin began talking to Lang and treated him with respect for standing up to him.
Filmed in 1978.
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Robert Carradine's character is named Zab, and on his book The Dark Deadline, his first and middle names are Robert Michael. The longer version of Zab is difficult to read.
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Reportedly Samuel Fuller wanted Martin Scorsese for the role of Pvt. Vinci, 1st Squad, but Scorsese moved on to do Raging Bull (1980).
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Samuel Fuller originally submitted a four-hour cut and then a two-hour one, both of which were rejected by the studio.
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Samuel Fuller wanted Kris Kristofferson for a part, but he had to turn it down due to some music work.
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When Pvt. Zab is talking to a fellow soldier who is reading the book 'The Dark Deadline' they both drink from a triangular shaped Grants whisky bottle. Grants Whiskey didn't sell triangular shaped whisky bottles until 1957.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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This was Lee Marvin's first film role in three years, although it was released after his next film Avalanche Express (1979).
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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Zab's novel is called The Dark Deadline. The movie author Samuel Fuller based the character Zab on himself and also wrote a book called The Dark Page. The 25th anniversary novel for The Big Red One has a black cover with a very similar style to the insert book cover on Zab's book.
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Director Cameo 

Samuel Fuller: as a military cameraman documenting the troops. He's the older man with the cigar asking the troops to wave at the camera.
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Director Trademark 

Samuel Fuller: [Lemchek] A recurring character name in Fuller's films; also, uncredited, in Merrill's Marauders (1962), The Tanks Are Coming (1951) and The Steel Helmet (1951).
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