A U.S. army lieutenant serving in the Philippines during WWII develops a harrowing ability to see in the faces of the men of his platoon, who will be the next ones to die.




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Episode complete credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Capt. Phil Riker
Lt. Fitzgerald
S. John Launer ...
Lieutenant Colonel
Marc Cavell ...
Jeep Driver
Harmonica Man


In the Philippines in 1945, army Lt. Fitzgerald has developed the disturbing ability to look into his men's faces and know who will be killed in the next battle. He says it's like a light is shined on their face. His superior, Capt. Phil Riker, consults the medical officer but he finds nothing conclusive. Fitzgerald passes out when visiting one of his wounded men in the hospital after he sees the light on his face. When he sees the light on Riker's face, he begs him not to go out. After they return from the operation, he sees that there will be one other casualty that day. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

12 February 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Rod Serling served in the US Army's 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division, during the liberation of the Philippines, where this episode is set. See more »


Captain Riker and Lieutenant Fitzgerald are wearing their insignia. Officers serving on the Pacific Front made a point not to wear this because it identified them as high priority targets for Japanese snipers. See more »


Lt. Fitzgerald: I'm five for five captain. How many coincidences add up to a fact?
See more »


Referenced in The Twilight Zone: Into the Light (2003) See more »


The Caissons Go Rolling Along
Written by Edmund L. Gruber
Arranged by Lucien Moraweck
See more »

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User Reviews

The horrors of war … extra painful in The Twilight Zone
7 September 2016 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

"The Purple Testament" is definitely one of the bleakest and most depressing Twilight Zone episodes I've seen thus far, but this shouldn't come too much as a surprise since the story is set in the heat and humidity of The Philippines in 1945, near the end of a long and harrowing WWII, amidst a platoon where all the soldiers are seemingly exhausted and already traumatized beyond repair for the rest of their lives. But of all the poor suckers here, nobody suffers as massively as Lt. Fitzgerald! For some inexplicable reason (remember, we're in the Twilight Zone…) he developed the deeply unpleasant ability to foretell which soldiers are about to die next because he sees an uncanny glow appear on their faces. The platoon's supervisor, Capt. Phil Riker, is naturally concerned about his lieutenant's deteriorating mental state but doesn't pay any attention when Fitzgerald begs him not to go on his next mission because he spotted the glow in his face. Contrary to most episodes in this legendary TV-format, "The Purple Testament" doesn't contain any grotesque story twists or kitschy set pieces. Instead, it entirely thrives on gloomy atmosphere and integer performances. What makes the episode truly unforgettable, however, is the enormously downbeat but yet plausible denouement… Fitzgerald's stoic and motionless reaction when he witnesses the glowing face of the last victim is powerful stuff...

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