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When Trumpets Fade (1998)

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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.



3,770 ( 41)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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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?


Director John Irvin's third war film. Irvin had previously been in the Vietnam War filming documentaries. 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 »


White Christmas
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Bing Crosby
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User Reviews

When Struggling for Survival Is More Important than Patriotism, in an Excellent Unknown Movie
29 May 2004 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In 1944, in Hurtgen Forest in the border of Belgium, Pvt. David Manning (Ron Eldard) is the only man of his company to survive a battle in the woods. He joins a new company trying to get a medical waive, and although having difficulties to respect his superiors, he is promoted to sergeant due to his leadership and instinct of survival. After a new battle, when he destroys the German cannons, he is promoted to lieutenant.

"When Trumpets Fade" is a great surprise: totally unknown in Brazil, without any publicity, it is indeed an excellent war movie. Based on a true story, the Hurtgen Forest Battle, where 24,000 soldiers died, this film shows, without any clemency or romance, how stupid a war is. The soldiers are moved by the instinct of survival, and not by patriotism like other movies usually present. The battle scenes are amazingly real, showing shattered bodies or man losing parts of their bodies. A must-see movie, recommended for audiences who look for raw and naked true story, with magnificent interpretations and direction. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Quando os Bravos se Calam" ("When the Braves Silence")

35 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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