During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
A unit of American military advisors in Vietnam prior to the major U.S. involvement find similarities between their helpless struggle against the Viet Cong and the doomed actions of a French unit at the same site a decade before in this bitter look at the beginnings of the Vietnam war.Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
Lead actor Burt Lancaster re-financed the picture to the tune of around US $150,000 when the picture's budget fell short during principal photography. See more »
Burt Lancaster (Maj Barker) was about 64 years old when this movie was made. No real Army major would be able to stay in the service until that advanced age. He would have been retired at a much younger age as a result of being continually passed over for promotion, as Major Barker had been. See more »
There aren't many movies about the beginning of America's involvement in Vietnam. It is fortunate that this is one of those film. Burt Lancaster is perfect as a career Army officer who recognizes early on that this war will be different from any other...and that American power may not be enough to win it. "Beastmaster" Marc Singer is wonderful as a shallow young officer so wrapped up in the boost Vietnam is going to give his career that he is immune to the madness around him. The scene in which Lancaster explains to Singer why, after three wars and a bucket full of medals, he (Lancaster) is still only a major, is priceless. Craig Wasson's portrayal of an idealistic draftee who progresses from caring about the Vietnamese, to accepting the brutality they perpetrate on each other is a chillingly accurate metaphor for the shift in American attitudes to come. Perhaps the film's best performance is by Jonathan Goldsmith, as a career NCO for whom the insanity finally becomes too much. The haunting score by Dick (Blood, Sweat & Tears) Halligan is a perfect accompaniment.
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