This WW2 psychological drama plays out at Christmas. US GIs hold an isolated cabin in the Ardennes against a handful of Germans cut off from their main force. Combat-weary and short of rations, both sides are determined to survive.
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
Many of the uniforms and field gear items worn by the American soldiers are not of the type worn by the U.S. Army during World War II. They are probably Hungarian military issue, since the movie was filmed in Hungary. See more »
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.
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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.
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