7.5/10
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39 user 39 critic

The Steel Helmet (1951)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 2 February 1951 (USA)
A ragtag group of American stragglers battles against superior Communist troops in an abandoned Buddhist temple during the Korean War.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Sgt. Zack
... Pvt. Bronte
... Lt. Driscoll
... Cpl. Thompson
... Sgt. Tanaka
... Joe
Richard Monahan ... Pvt. Baldy
William Chun ... Short Round
Harold Fong ... The Red
... First GI
... Second Lieutenant
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Storyline

During the Korean War, strong but worn and cantankerous Sergeant Zack is aided by a young, orphaned Korean boy. Together they encounter and join a small group of American soldiers. The group stumbles upon a Buddhist temple where they decide to hold up, believing it to be empty... Written by Karl Engel <cassiel@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hits Hard at Your Heart! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 February 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

38ste breedtegraad  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$103,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,000,000, 31 December 1951
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although it looks like there are quite a bit more, there were actually only 25 extras in this picture, playing both American and North Korean soldiers, and all of them were students from UCLA (the battle scenes were shot in Griffith Park). See more »

Goofs

The stock footage used in the artillery barrage of the North Korean attack includes WWII-era footage of German artillery on the Atlantic Wall. See more »

Quotes

Sergeant Zack: [screaming at critically wounded Korean major as he grabs him from the collar] If you die, I'll kill yuh!
See more »

Crazy Credits

and introducing Gene Evans as Zack See more »

Connections

Featured in A Fuller Life (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gritty To Say the Least
2 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

I grew up with this movie, which was shown regularly on local television stations at a time when post-1949 films were scarce as hen's teeth on the tube. The film that put writer-director Samuel Fuller on the map, to the extent that he was ever there, it looks less impressive now, but I have a soft spot for it. It is the story of a group of infantrymen, many of them social misfits, during the Korean War, and their heroic efforts in defense of a Buddhist temple during a Communist-led attack. The major character in the film is Sgt. Zack, played to the hilt by a cigar-chewing Gene Evans, who never became a star but whose performance here is powerful and charismatic, flawless in every detail. I've never seen him in anything else where he's half as good as he is here. Evans carries the film like a super-star, and in Steel Helmet, for a short time, he is one. The others are good, too. Steve Brodie is less of a jerk than usual; James Edwards is very sharp, more assertive than in the previous year's Home Of the Brave, which he made with Brodie. As to the film itself, its qualities come from being a sort of tabloid journalist's work of art. It is weakest when preachy about race relations, strongest when men are arguing, shouting and competing with one another as if they had just stepped out of the pages one of those 'adult' comic books they used to have in barbershops. The movie's cheapness gives it a documentary look, and for once GI's in a film look dirty and unshaven. The scenes with the giant Buddha that dominates he temple's interior have an otherworldliness about them that seems serendipitous, not planned, and give the quieter scenes a background of serenity without which the picture might be intolerably violent and bitter.


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