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Pork Chop Hill (1959)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 14 June 1959 (UK)
During the Korean War peace talks, U.S. troops fight to retake a hill from the Communist Chinese forces.

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writers:

S.L.A. Marshall (book) (as Brig. Gen. S.L.A. Marshall USAR), James R. Webb (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Lt. Joe Clemons
Harry Guardino ... Pvt. Forstman
Rip Torn ... Lt. Walter Russel
George Peppard ... Cpl. Chuck Fedderson
Carl Benton Reid ... American Admiral at Peace Conference
James Edwards ... Cpl. Jurgens
Bob Steele ... Col. Kern
Woody Strode ... Pvt. Franklin
George Shibata George Shibata ... Lt. Suki Ohashi
Norman Fell ... Sgt. Coleman
Lew Gallo ... Lieutenant - Division Public Relations
Robert Blake ... Pvt. Velie
Cliff Ketchum Cliff Ketchum ... Cpl. Payne - Radio Operator
Biff Elliot ... Pvt. Boven
Charles Aidman ... Lt. Harrold
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Storyline

Grim story of one of the major battles of the Korean War. While negotiators are at work in Panmunjom trying to bring the conflict to a negotiated end, Lt. Joe Clemons is ordered to launch an attack and retake Pork Cop Hill. It's tough on the soldiers who know that the negotiations are under way and no one wants to die when they think it will all soon be over. The hill is of no particular strategic military value but all part of showing resolve during the negotiations. Under the impression that the battle has been won, battalion headquarters orders some of the men withdrawn when in fact they are in dire need of reinforcements and supplies. As the Chinese prepare to counterattack and broadcast propaganda over loudspeakers, the men prepare for what may be their last battle. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This Hill That Became the Hell-Torn Heart of a War! Now It Is a Name That Has Come to Mean Heroism and Greatness! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The actual battle of Pork Chop Hill took place over three days and two nights. The movie took 50 days of shooting. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie when Harry Guardino is begging Gregory Peck to send him home because he has enough points, Guardino has a set of papers which he stuffs into the netting of his helmet. In subsequent shots those papers disappear from inside his helmet. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant, Division Public Relations: You've Lost a 100 Men?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Following the opening credits and opening scenes: A RESERVE POSITION NEAR PORK CHOP HILL--70 MILES FROM THE PEACE CONFERENCE AT PUNMUNJOM-KOREA-1953 See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Killing Floor (2007) See more »

User Reviews

 
Fine antiwar drama from one of the genre's greatest directors.
8 June 2005 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

One of the finest (anti)war movies ever made is undoubtedly the 1930 epic All Quiet On The Western Front, directed by the incomparable Lewis Milestone. 29 years later, Milestone once again turned his attention to the waste and futility of war with Pork Chop Hill. This powerful and well-made Korean War drama is not quite in the same league as Milestone's earlier classic, but it still paints a vivid picture of the harsh realities of combat, and conveys a palpable sense of the pointlessness of war.

Lieutenant Clemons (Gregory Peck) is a honest, dependable American soldier fighting in the Korean War. He believes in carrying out orders whatever they may be, but his attitude is put to the ultimate test when he is instructed to lead an attack on a tactically insignificant hill in the dying days of the war. Issuing orders which he knows will lead to pointless loss of life, Clemons leads his men up the titular hill into a maelstrom of enemy gunfire, looking on in horror and dismay as his boys are gunned down or blown to bits in their futile quest.

After the film had been shot, Milestone was somewhat irritated to discover that the studio had tampered with his intentions, adding a misleading last-scene voice-over which tried to suggest that the victory on Pork Chop Hill made a significant difference to the future of millions of Koreans. The film is at its best when delivering its anti-war sensibilities, especially the bitter scenes showing honest young soldiers losing their lives for no particular reason. In historical terms, the capture of Pork Chop Hill was both costly in lives and irrelevant in consequence. The performances are generally first-rate. Peck is excellent as the man who tries to justify the insanity of what his platoon have been ordered to do. He gives his best performance since Twelve O'Clock High a decade earlier. Giving memorable supporting turns are familiar character actors like Harry Guardino, Rip Torn, George Peppard and Martin Landau, all of them resisting the urge to appear as gung-ho heroes to add to the film's stance that war is a meaningless and expensive pursuit. There have been few genuinely worthy Korean War films but this one and M*A*S*H - released 11 years later - are recommended titles for anyone looking for authentic film treatments about the subject.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 1959 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Pork Chop Hill See more »

Filming Locations:

Patagonia, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,736
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Melville Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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