7.5/10
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74 user 21 critic

Battleground (1949)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 20 January 1950 (USA)
A squad of the 101st Airborne Division copes with being trapped in the besieged city of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Holley
... Jarvess
... Roderigues
... 'Pop' Stazak
... Jim Layton
... Abner Spudler
... Standiferd
... Wolowicz
... Kinnie
... 'Kipp' Kippton
... The Chaplain
... Hansan (as Guy Anderson)
Thomas E. Breen ... Doc
... Denise
... Bettis
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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! The girls! The glory! of a lot of wonderful guys! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 January 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bastogne  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,631,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,293,960

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,666,420
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Whitmore (Sergeant Kennie) served in the Marine Corps during World War II. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the movie, one of the troopers takes out a grenade and places it next to his foxhole with the bottom facing towards the camera. Even though the editors made a smear mark on the film in an obvious attempt to hide it, you can plainly see that the genuine war surplus grenade had a large hole drilled its bottom. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Lianna (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
The Battered Bastards Of Bastogne.
10 March 2011 | by See 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 Divsion}, 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


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