During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Nunnally Johnson (screenplay), Lukas Heller (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,690 ( 1,318)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... Major Reisman
Ernest Borgnine ... General Worden
Charles Bronson ... Joseph Wladislaw
Jim Brown ... Robert Jefferson
John Cassavetes ... Victor Franko
Richard Jaeckel ... Sergeant Bowren
George Kennedy ... Major Max Armbruster
Trini López ... Pedro Jiminez (as Trini Lopez)
Ralph Meeker ... Captain Stuart Kinder
Robert Ryan ... Col. Everett Dasher Breed
Telly Savalas ... Archer Maggott
Donald Sutherland ... Vernon Pinkley
Clint Walker ... Samson Posey
Robert Webber ... General Denton
Tom Busby ... Milo Vladek
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Storyline

A Major with an attitude problem and a history of getting things done is told to interview military prisoners with death sentences or long terms for a dangerous mission; To parachute behind enemy lines and cause havoc for the German Generals at a rest house on the eve of D-Day. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

D-Day Began When The Dirty Dozen Were Done! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

British stand up comedian (and later a straight actor) Mike Reid appears as an extra in this film. See more »

Goofs

As Maggott was obviously insane he would never have been allowed on the mission. In fact it is likely he would have been hanged before they went to France. See more »

Quotes

Major John Reisman: Posey, what did they lock you up for? I mean, what did you do?
Samson Posey: I already told you that sir.
Major John Reisman: Well tell me again. I'm sure your friends over here would like to know too.
Samson Posey: This fella kept pushing me. I don't like t be pushed so I hit him.
Major John Reisman: Killed a man with your bare hands because he shoved you?
Samson Posey: I only hit him once.
Major John Reisman: Only him him once. And drove his jawbone right through his brain because he pushed him.
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits don't occur until 10 minutes into the film. While it is common nowadays for films to have a pre-credits sequence, it was considered innovative in 1967. See more »

Alternate Versions

In Spain, the dubbed version changed John Cassavetes's character's name "Franko" into "Franchi", as that country was then under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Veep: The Choice (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Blame Me
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
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User Reviews

Great fun movie with a great cast
14 November 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

During World War II, Major Reisman is called to a high level meeting to discuss his next mission – to train a group of soldiers and prepare them for a mission behind enemy lines. However the `soldiers' that Reisman has been assigned are all sentenced to death or life in prison for their crimes. The mission is a suicide mission on a French chateau where German top brass will be, the aim being to kill as many as possible. But before the mission, the group must pass a training to be considered for pardoning.

Well known by all men everywhere, this is less a serious war movie and more an enjoyable ensemble romp through a training camp, with the final third being the mission itself. This is the film's strength – the training sections are very enjoyable and good fun to watch. The mission is punchy and dramatic and works very well as the conclusion to the film rather than the whole film itself (which other `mission' films have to do). The training is slick and enjoyable, not only it is occasionally quite funny but it is also consistently amusing and exciting at turns.

The film's main selling point (increasingly so) is the all star cast, all of whom do really good work. Marvin is tough in the lead and he is well supported by Borgnine, Kennedy, Ryan and Jaeckel playing the other officers. Of the prisoners Cassavetes steals the show with his cocky Franko although he is not short of famous support. Sutherland (although not well known at the time) is good comic relief, Savalas is a little too heavy for the film but adds menace, Bronson is good value, Brown is strong and is well known due to a weepy Billy Crystal! The rest of the dozen give good performances, but I'll be honest and say that the famous faces stuck in my mind more.

Overall this is not a wonderful film and, as a war movie it isn't the best `mission' movie you could find (simply cause the mission is quite short and straightforward. However it is a fun movie that never drags despite the slightly longer than normal running time for this type of movie. The training section and the mission itself combine to form an enjoyable film that is driven by a great cast playing good characters.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | German | French | Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

22 October 1967 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dirty Dozen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,400,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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