During World War II, a special fighting unit is formed that combines a crack Canadian Army unit and a conglomeration of U.S. Army misfits who had previously served time in military jails. After an initial period of conflict between the two groups, their enmity turns to respect and friendship, and the unit is sent Italy to attempt a dangerous mission that has heretofore been considered impossible to carry out.Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Nearly all the actors were too old to play soldiers. See more »
The Canadian flag shown in the ceremony near the end of the
film wasn't adopted until 1964. At the time depicted in the movie, Canada still used a "modified Union Jack" type of flag called the Red Ensign. See more »
Reasonably factual, entertaining ode to a great unit
The Devil's Brigade was indeed made up of Canadian elite and American cast-offs at the formation of the first US Special Forces unit, and this movie gives us the beginning of their amazing story. Most people are probably unaware that the Canadian army had such an influence on the initial training of this unit.
A lot of Americans probably won't like how their countrymen are portrayed at the outset compared to the Canadian "hand-picked, best-trained men in the best-trained army in the world" (in the word's of the unit's American commander, portrayed by Holden). But they should be proud of what they were raised up to become, and how they acquitted themselves in battle. It's particularly nice to see the Canadian army portrayed with the respect it richly deserves.
There's many amusing scenes in the movie, including my favorite, the mess-hall scene with the Canadian hand-to-hand combat instructor from the PPCLI and the oafish American soldier (who had been denigrating the Canadians up to that point).
A great WWII movie, worth watching whenever it's on. The Canadian History channel follows showings with an interview with one of the founding members of this unit, who vouches for the general portrayal of events (though he said he doesn't recall them marching into the Montana training camp on their arrival, as portrayed in the movie). The takeover of the German unit in the town was somewhat fictionalized, too, and is a composite of several events (but that's the movies for you).
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