7.4/10
6,396
81 user 24 critic

Battleground (1949)

Approved | | Action, Drama, History | 20 January 1950 (USA)
True tale about a squad of the 101st Airborne Division coping with being trapped by the Germans in the besieged city of Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writer:

Robert Pirosh (story and screenplay)
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Van Johnson ... Holley
John Hodiak ... Jarvess
Ricardo Montalban ... Roderigues
George Murphy ... 'Pop' Stazak
Marshall Thompson ... Jim Layton
Jerome Courtland ... Abner Spudler
Don Taylor ... Standiferd
Bruce Cowling ... Wolowicz
James Whitmore ... Kinnie
Douglas Fowley ... 'Kipp' Kippton
Leon Ames ... The Chaplain
Herbert Anderson ... Hansan (as Guy Anderson)
Thomas E. Breen Thomas E. Breen ... Doc
Denise Darcel ... Denise
Richard Jaeckel ... Bettis
Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A hard-as-nails general takes over a bomber unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A letter is addressed to three wives from their "best friend" Addie Ross, announcing that she is running away with one of their husbands - but she does not say which one.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern
Attack (1956)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post, but tensions between Captain Cooney and Lieutenant Costa run high.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Jack Palance, Lee Marvin, Eddie Albert
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

During WW2, Pulitzer prize winner and war correspondent Ernie Pyle joins the army and writes articles about his comrades in his daily columns.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Burgess Meredith, Robert Mitchum, Freddie Steele
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Walker
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A dramatization of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

One-man show about the presidency of Harry S. Truman.

Directors: Steve Binder, Peter H. Hunt
Stars: James Whitmore
Bataan (1943)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1942, in the Bataan peninsula of the Philippines, a ragtag American unit commanded by Sergeant Bill Dane attempts to blow-up a bridge in order to slow the Japanese advance.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Robert Taylor, George Murphy, Lloyd Nolan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In post-war Cape Breton, a doctor's efforts to tutor a deaf/mute woman are undermined when she is raped, and the resulting pregnancy causes scandal to swirl.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres, Charles Bickford
Adventure | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In order to provide information for the first air raid over Tokyo, a U.S. submarine sneaks into Tokyo Bay and places a spy team ashore.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Cary Grant, John Garfield, Alan Hale
Wilson (1944)
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A chronicle of the political career of US President Woodrow Wilson.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Alexander Knox, Charles Coburn, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru
Edit

Storyline

We follow a band of American soldiers as they engage the Germans in a snowy, foggy winter near Bastogne in World War II. They're low on fuel, rations, and ammunition; the Germans are constantly encouraging their surrender via radio and leaflets, and most importantly, the pervasive thick fog makes movement and identification difficult and prevents their relief by Allied air support. This film focuses much more on the psychology and morale of the soldiers than on action footage and heroics. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Guts, Gags and Glory of a Lot of Wonderful Guys! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Robert Pirosh based this story on his experiences as an infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge. Pirosh did not serve with the 101st Airborne, and wanted to create a script that was faithful to their experiences. He used his first-hand knowledge of the battle to write the script. This was done with the blessing of General Anthony McAuliffe, who was commanding the 101st during the siege of Bastogne. Consequently, many of the incidents in the film, such as Private Kippton's habit of always losing his false teeth, or the Mexican-American soldier from Los Angeles, California, who had never seen snow until he got to Belgium, that have always been derided as "typical Hollywood phony baloney" actually happened. See more »

Goofs

At one point, when the troops are all riding in the back of the moving truck, the truck is rocking from side to side along the rough road jostling the passengers. As the conversation centers on Hansan and he delivers a few lines, neither he nor anyone else is being jostled by the motion of the truck. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. Jim Layton: [reading from newspaper] "Strategic Withdrawal In Bulge."
[to others]
Pvt. Jim Layton: What's a bulge?
Holley: Search me.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
(uncredited)
Written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie
Sung by the soldiers
See more »

User Reviews

 
The Battered Bastards Of Bastogne.
10 March 2011 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Dedicated to the battered bastards of Bastogne, this major player in the war film genre is directed by William Wellman & tells the story of a U.S. Army division involved in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The terrific cast features George Murphy, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, Van Johnson and James Whitmore. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and won two - one for Robert Pirosh's bold and fluctuating screenplay and one for Paul Vogel's realism inducing black-and-white cinematography.

Battleground is an important war film in many ways. Coming as it did at the tail end of the 40s, it was not required to be a flag waving morale booster for a country at war. Free of this burden, Wellman & Pirosh (an actual veteran of the Bastogne engagement), crafted a grunts eye view of the war. Forcing us the viewers to spend the whole of the movie with one army squad (the 101st Airborne Division), we get to know them, their fears & peccadilloes etc. Pirosh cleverly telling it as it was, scared men doing their duty. It's that we have been with them as their persona's have been laid bare, that makes the battle sequences even more potent. The jokes have stopped, the camaraderie and harmless rivalries replaced by men crying for their mothers or in some mud hole fighting for their lives. This snow covered and fog shrouded part of Belgium a bleak canvas for the harshness of war (amazingly shot on the lot). It's a stunningly structured film, one that doesn't resort to type, it subverts the many war film plot developments that are rife in genre pieces that both preceded and came post its release.

The cast are uniformly strong, and all get get ample time to impact on the narrative. Something that isn't always the case with ensemble pieces. Somebody else was strong too, Producer Dore Schary, who had to fight an unconvinced Louis B. Mayer (MGM head man) to get the film made. Schary's faith in the piece was rewarded as the film became a critical darling and a box office winner. It's not hard to see why for this is a realistic and gritty look at the hardships of war and those that fought in it. Influencing many that followed it by entertaining without gusto histrionics, Battleground is still very much a template war film. 8.5/10


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 81 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

20 January 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bastogne See more »

Filming Locations:

Oregon, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,631,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed