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During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writers:

William Eastlake (based on the novel by), Daniel Taradash (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Maj. Abraham Falconer
Patrick O'Neal ... Capt. Lionel Beckman
Jean-Pierre Aumont ... Henri Tixier, Count of Maldorais
Peter Falk ... Sgt. Rossi
Astrid Heeren ... Therese
Scott Wilson ... Cpl. Clearboy
Tony Bill ... Lt. Amberjack
Al Freeman Jr. ... Pvt. Allistair Piersall Benjamin
James Patterson ... Elk
Bruce Dern ... Lt. Billy Byron Bix
Michael Conrad ... Sgt. DeVaca
Caterina Boratto ... Red Queen
Olga Bisera Olga Bisera ... Baker's Wife (as Bisera)
Elizabeth Teissier ... Red Queen Girl
Anne Marie Moskovenko Anne Marie Moskovenko ... Red Queen Girl
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Storyline

Toward the end of World War II, a small company of American GI's occupy an ancient castle. Their commander has an affair with the countess in resident. One guy falls in love with a Volkswagon. A baker among them moves in with another baker's wife. A group of shell shocked holy rollers wander the bombed out streets. A GI art historian tries vainly to protect the castle and its masterpieces. Written by Jim Sadur <jsadur@keyflux.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The major took the castle and then he took its mistress! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1969 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Schloß in den Ardennen See more »

Filming Locations:

Novi Sad, Serbia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The castle set in Yugoslavia blew up and burned to the ground. It was quite a surprise to the cast and crew. Sydney Pollack immediately grabbed the camera and shot what he could of the burning castle. See more »

Goofs

Just prior to riding to the summer house, the major was on his horse and had his gold leaf on his helmet. When dismounted and examining the ground for tracks, the majors' leaf was missing. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Abraham Falconer: What do you see out there, Beckman?
Capt. Lionel Beckman: No Krauts yet!
Maj. Abraham Falconer: You never will. You're a dreamer, Beckman. They'll get you first!
See more »

Connections

References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the strangest WWII stories ever
10 October 2004 | by SkraggSee all my reviews

Thanks to this film, I can never entirely think of "Private Benjamin" as a comedy about a society girl in the army (not that this one doesn't have a lot of funny moments, of the very strange kind). "Hessian" is right - it's so strange, you almost have to either love or hate it, and I'm completely attached to it. With the kinds of actors in it, it's really hard to think of anyone as especially standing out, but (as attached as I've always been to Burt Lancaster) the answer would almost have to be Patrick O'Neal as Beckman. It took me a long while to think of it, but he's almost like the Eleanor character in The Haunting, because of the way he's taken over by the castle completely, and his "private war" with the major because of it. One of the best scenes was between him and Private Benjamin (played by Al Freeman Jr.), who was pictured as his "soulmate" in a way. Beckman admitted that he'd been a war hero (before the beginning of the story), but he wrote it off as being temporarily crazy. Benjamin said, "But you'd fight to save this castle." Beckman said, "Yes - but I don't know who. Which side."

One of the best funny lines was one of Peter Falk's - "Swim the moat? What the hell war is this?"


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