When Trumpets Fade (1998)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  27 June 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,748 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 8 critic

A private in the latter days of WWII on the German front struggles between his will to survive and what his superiors perceive as a battlefield instinct.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Medic Chamberlain
Sgt. Talbot
Lt. Colonel
Captain Pritchett
Lt. Lukas
Captain Zenek
Frank-Michael Köbe ...
German Sergeant (as Frank Köbe)
András Stohl ...
Wounded Soldier
Matthew Rutson Cooney ...
Driver Cpl. (as Matthew Ruston Cooney)


In WWII Western Germany, Private David Manning reluctantly leaves behind a mortally wounded fellow soldier and searches for survivors from his platoon, only to learn from commanding officer Captain Pritchett that they have all been killed in action. Despite requesting a discharge on the grounds of mental disability, Manning is promoted to sergeant and assigned to lead a new platoon of young inductees. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the heat of battle not all soldiers can be heroes


Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic war carnage and strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 June 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hurtgen  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of only two war movies in Ron Eldard's career. He would later be cast in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (2001). See more »


The map used by the Lt. Col. at the company command post to show the Captain where they are to secure a river crossing on the advance to Schmidt is not standard U.S. Army issue, which were black and white, but a modern color version mounted on cardboard. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator, news footage: August 1944. The outcome of the Second World War appeared to be no longer in doubt. Paris was liberated. After four years of fighting, victory against the Germans seemed assured. Since the Normandy landings, American and Allied forces had battled their way across northern Europe, and pushed the German enemy to within its own homeland.
See more »


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


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Written by George M. Cohan
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User Reviews

A tense and unforgiving war epic.
3 October 2001 | by (Sauk City, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

A tense and unforgiving war epic that follows David Manning (Ron Eldard), an American soldier in World War II who tries to get a discharge for being mental unstable although his superior officer, Captain Roy Pritchett (Martin Donovan) who immediately promotes him to be the squad leader of a platoon where all the members are new and inexperienced.

The performances here are nothing short of excellent, the battle scenes are well-executed, and Thomas Burstyn's photography isn't only gloomy, it also hides some unexpected surprises from Germans to mines, that are hidden in the ground.

Director John Irvin, who is no stranger to making effective and intelligent war films ("Hamburger Hill", "The Dogs of War") and turning raw talent into top-notch, has made another classic here. What this film has in common with the previous movies is that one or some of the characters are cynical or determined to survive. However, it's a shame that this film was only made for cable instead of being given a fair chance to gain some attention at the box office.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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