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Eight Iron Men (1952)

Approved | | Drama, War | December 1952 (USA)
During WW2 in Italy, Sergeant Joe Mooney is leading his small squad on the front-lines but is ordered to avoid rescuing a soldier trapped in no man's land.


Edward Dmytryk


Harry Brown (play), Harry Brown (screenplay)




Cast overview:
Bonar Colleano ... Pvt. Collucci
Arthur Franz ... Carter
Lee Marvin ... Sgt. Joe Mooney
Richard Kiley ... Pvt. Coke
Nick Dennis ... Pvt. Sapiros
James Griffith ... Pvt. Ferguson
Dickie Moore ... Pvt. Muller (as Dick Moore)
George Cooper ... Pvt. Small
Barney Phillips ... Captain Trelawny
Robert Nichols Robert Nichols ... Walsh
Richard Grayson Richard Grayson ... Lieutenant Crane
Douglas Henderson Douglas Henderson ... Hunter
Mary Castle ... Girl


Stanley Kramer's WW-II character study has Lee Marvin as the Sergeant of a small squad laid over during fighting in Italy. During the otherwise boring time between battles, tensions arise as they are ordered not to rescue a squad mate pinned down by the enemy, for fear of risking more lives. Based on the stage play "A Sound of Hunting", by Harry Brown. Written by CineTiger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on the smash Broadway play! See more »


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The rifle used by the snipers was a G43 (1943) and the machine gun with the saddle drum was a MG34. See more »


When Pvt. Collucci throws a grenade at the German machine gun, it is easy to see where the grenade lands as a small puff of dust is visible. However, the explosion occurs well to the left and behind where the grenade actually landed. See more »


Pvt. Collucci: Did I ever tell you about the dame I met in Georgia?
Pvt. Sapiros: Yeah, yeah you told us.
Pvt. Collucci: Well, I got a couple more I can tell you about.
Pvt. Sapiros: Tell us about the bald headed one from Newark.
Pvt. Collucci: Go on, needle me, needle me; how'd I know she came from Newark?
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Remembers Lee Marvin (2000) See more »

User Reviews

My Favorite
4 September 2007 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

A mix of "Stalag 17" and television's "Combat" series (which it inspired), "Eight Iron Men" (1952) is my favorite war movie. Made when Director Edward Dmytryk was still paying attention to his acting for the camera direction, "Eight Iron Men" is Harry Brown's adaptation of his play "A Sound of Hunting". Brown would later write one of the more classic episodes of "Combat".

Dmytryk, noted for his action sequences, was smart enough to concentrate on the play's extremely clever repartee between the members of an infantry squad who are marking time in the ruins of a destroyed town in Europe late in WWII. Squad leader Sgt. Mooney (Lee Marvin) has somehow managed to keep his group intact up to this point of the war. His goal of leaving the town with all seven of his men is threatened when the squad's most inept member Private Small (George Cooper) gets himself pinned down in a shell-hole; a few yards away from a well-protected German machine gun nest.

With orders to pull back the squad is torn between disobeying or abandoning their buddy to the Germans. Their decision is further complicated by not knowing if Small is still alive. Once this situation has been fleshed out, Dmytryk builds up the tension as it becomes closer and closer to the time they must leave.

By the end of the film you feel like you know all the six of Mooney's multi-ethnic squad members. There is a comedian (Nick Dennis), a hot-head (Richard Kiley), a pragmatist (Arthur Franz), a cub scout (Dickie Moore), a war-weary dreamer (James Griffith), and a dame obsessed gold brick (Bonar Colleano).

Much like "Das Boot" and "Cross of Iron", the members of the squad have shared so many intense experiences that they have become closer to each other than they ever were to their own family members. This makes their choice even more difficult.

Like the best anti-war films, "Eight Iron Men" is full of hard-bitten cynicism as a group of humans try to maintain their dignity in an insane environment. The face of war is gritty-not glamorous in "Eight Iron Men" and the film is not for those looking for fast edits and flashy action sequences.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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Release Date:

December 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dirty Dozen See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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