The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
13 user 3 critic

The Purple Testament 

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.




Watch Now

With Prime Video



Episode complete credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Capt. Phil Riker
Capt. E.L. Gunther
Lieutenant Colonel
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 more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title is taken from "Richard II", Act III, Scene III: "He is come to open the purple testament of bleeding war." However, Rod Serling incorrectly claims in his narration that the line comes from "Richard III". See more »


Rod Serling's narration says at the end of that the title phrase Purple Testament comes from the William Shakespeare play "Richard III". It is actually Richard II, Act 3, Scene 3. See more »


Rod Serling - Narrator: [Opening Narration] Infantry platoon, U.S. Army, Phillipine Islands, 1945. These are the faces of the young men who fight, as if some omniscient painter had mixed a tube of oils that were at one time earth brown, dust gray, blood red, beard black, and fear - yellow white, and these men were the models. For this is the province of combat, and these are the faces of war.
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

I'd Rather Not Know
22 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

Army lieutenant is cursed with gift of premonition.

Battlefields are not the usual locale for occult happenings. This one is. It's the waning days of WWII in the Pacific theater and an infantry officer (William Reynolds) suddenly undergoes spooky premonitions of who will live and who will die. Fine performance by Reynolds on whom the episode turns. He manages the gamut of emotions in very convincing fashion, among the best of the series. You get the feeling he's really on the ragged edge. Also, the production crew turns an ordinary sound stage into effective recreation of battlefield headquarters, where most of the action takes place. Very atmospheric in its use of light and shadow, the photography lends the small jungle clearing a believably eerie appearance. Then too, the supernatural moments are strangely unsettling and well done. Some nice touches, as when Reynolds tosses his shaving kit aside before getting in the jeep, or when the camera picks up the shattered reflection in the broken mirror. Probably because this was still the first year of production, the episode is done with extraordinary care, and it shows. Purple Testament may not quite make the first rank, but it's darn close.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 13 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Steven Spielberg's Most Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs

"The IMDb Show" takes a look at the new trailer for Ready Player One and breaks down director Steven Spielberg's five greatest Easter eggs of all time. Plus, we connect the dots between IMDb's Top 10 Stars of 2017.

Watch now