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Hornets' Nest (1970)

In 1944, during a sabotage mission, the sole surviving U.S. paratrooper is saved by a group of Italian orphans who later aid him in blowing-up a vital enemy dam.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Turner
... Bianca
... Von Hecht
... Schwalberg (as Giacomo Rossi-Stuart)
... Maj. Taussig
... Aldo
Mauro Gravina ... Carlo
John Fordyce ... Dino
Giuseppe Cassuto ... Franco
Amedeo Castracane ... Tonio
Giancarlo Colombaioni ... Romeo
Ronald Colombaioni ... Mikko
Valerio Colombaioni ... Arturo
Giuseppe Coppola ... Rico
Luigi Criscuolo ... Paolo


A commando unit is dropped behind the German lines in Italy and its mission is to blow up a strategic dam. However, the unit is ambushed and only its leader survives. He is picked up by a ragtag group of local youths, who strike a bargain with him--they will help him blow the dam if he will help them get revenge on the Germans, who have taken over their village and killed their parents. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bust The Dam!-- Blow Up The War! See more »


Drama | Action | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

9 September 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il vespaio  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sylva Koscina said of this movie, "It shows how war destroys mentally as well as physically. We are all destroyed . . . myself, Rock [Rock Hudson] and the children." See more »


During the attack on the dam, the saboteurs are repeatedly shown in daytime (albeit through a filter to make it appear darker than it was when filmed), but the soldiers patrolling on top of the dam are shown in true darkness at night. See more »


Bianca the Italian Surgeon: I'm a doctor, not a soldier.
Captain Turner: You're tied in with us now, until it's over.
See more »


Referenced in Django Unchained (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

This film deserved more respect than it got.
12 March 2018 | by See all my reviews

I saw this film many years ago when it was panned because children were being used in a war movie. That attitude reflected the times in which it was produced. People wanted Anti War movies like "The Deer Hunter" or heroic battle epics like "Tora, Tora, Tora". Movies that brought the stark reality of war too near were not well received. "Hornet's Nest", was made in Italy and like the movie, "Two Women", made ten years before, it was not widely popular in the United States. Although "Two Women", gave Sophia Loren new respect as an actress and received an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, it did not receive favor from the public. The patriotism of World War II had faded by the 1970's and the public demonstrations against Viet Nam were gaining force when "Hornets Nest" was released. It was seen as a glorification of war and a fading star like Rock Hudson could not save it. Ironically one of the actors playing an SS officer in the movie was a French Partisan who spent a year in Buchenwald after the Nazi's captured him. The one female star, Sylvia Koscina, was a child in Yugoslavia, during the war and had memories of the Nazi occupation. Sophia Loren began filming this movie and withdrew because it recalled too much of the trauma of her childhood in war time Italy. The children who made this movie did a good job of showing the effect of war on young minds. In spite of being little more than amateurs the acting was capable. The one young actor who was professional, Mark Colleano, was particularly talented. He played Aldo , the leader of the partisan children. His last scene brought tears to my eyes. It was not intended to be an easy picture to watch. Those reviewers who made snide remarks about Rock Hudson's sexual preferences and the nudity of the teen and child actors in the movie were simply revealing their own salacious nature. They deliberately missed the point. In retrospect this film was made before it's time. Based on actual events where Nazi troops committed atrocities against entire villages it was meant to remind the world of the savagery of a totalitarian military that had absolute control over the lives of helpless populations. It foreshadowed the massacres committed by the Soviet troops who took over Eastern Europe and much of the territory bordering the USSR. Massacres in Hungary, and in Poland and the building of the Berlin Wall Since then we have seen movies like "Schindler's List", "Hotel Rwanda", "The Killing Fields" and "Empire of the Sun", win awards. They all show the atrocity and dehumanizing effects of war in a much more graphic manner than does "Hornets Nest", as do many, many, other well respected films. Though "Hornet's Nest" can't compare in quality to them it did not have the budget nor the huge cast they had either. In the years since " Hornets Nest", the world has been treated to Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, and Serbia, where women and children are victims and participants in total warfare. It prefaced the time of child soldiers who watch their families slaughtered and go on to commit unspeakable acts themselves. All of these years later this picture is still relevant. Children become partisan fighters much like the boys in this film. Children turn themselves into human bombs or carry guns for ISIS. Boy soldiers live and die in the jungles of the Philippines or as pirates off the coast of Somalia. Savage child soldiers in Africa showed the whole world how easy it is to create baby-killers and how hard it is to return them to what they once were, Children. In Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, children are carrying weapons and fighting as adults. Boys and girls are being robbed of both their childhood and their future. I watched "Hornets Nest" again tonight and it brought tears to my eyes. These children, dirty, ragged, hungry orphans, had managed to survive and had taken vengeance on their tormentors, but in doing so, they had lost something irreplaceable. They had lost their innocence and a part of their humanity. Although they survived they were truly victims of a terrible war. Maybe watching this movie in todays context makes the point it did not when it was first released. War is bad for children and other living things. Being safe and smug in a country free from these things, we can put our children to bed with out fear of bombs or machine guns waking them. But in many parts of the world that is not the case. So is this movie so ridiculous? Is it so unrealistic? Is it a joke because Rock Hudson turned out to be a Gay man? I don't think so. I think the movie deserves a respectful viewing and some recognition at long last.

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