7.5/10
5,939
75 user 21 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 Nazis 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)
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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:
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
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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 First Great Picture Of The Second World War ! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book "The MGM Story" by John Douglas Eames, this movie was a remarkable case of MGM history repeating itself. When Irving Thalberg planned to make The Big Parade (1925), Louis B. Mayer said no one wanted a war drama in 1925. Now Dore Schary, the "new Thalberg", had brought a pet project over from RKO, where Howard Hughes had vetoed it, and Mayer said no one wanted a war drama in 1949." See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, when the C-47s are paradropping supplies to the soldiers, one of the stock footage pieces is of paratroopers jumping from planes, not supplies being dropped. See more »

Quotes

Holley: What's going on?
Sgt. Kinnie: Me and General McAulliffe decided to move I Company up on the line. That is if you agree.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars: The Lion in Winter (1992) 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

 
Men at war
27 May 2006 | by jotix100See all my reviews

"Battleground" is a curious film that came out of Hollywood in 1949. WWII had been over, so the public was not wishing for more war films at the time. Yet, MGM went ahead with this project and gave it to William Wellman, a veteran director who knew his craft. The film was written by Robert Pirosh.

The movie is a curiosity also because it was shot in Culver City, yet, at times, it gives the impression of having been shot on location in the Ardennes. The casting of some of the best acting talents MGM had under contract at the time contributes to give the film another dimension, as the viewer becomes involved with these men that are trying to survive during the worst possible conditions.

In spite of some of the criticism in this forum, the film has a real feeling because it stresses the dependency among the men that are caught in the conflict. Their every day lives back home is at the center of the conversation one hears the men talk about. Wives, children, sweethearts, parents, and even popular figures of the pop culture, like Bette Grable, are the basis of communication as the men idle away waiting to be called to fight the enemy.

Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Don Taylor, Leon Ames, and a wonderful James Whitmore, are seen as the soldiers around Bastogne. Denise Darcel is seen as the kind French woman who befriends the soldiers.

Ultimately, "Battleground" is William Wellman's tribute to the men in uniform.


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