The story of a hardened army sergeant and four of his men, from their first fight at the Kasserine Pass after the invasion of North Africa through to the invasion of Sicily, D-Day, the Ardennes forest and the liberation of a concentration camp at the end of the war. As the five of them fight - and survive to fight yet again in the next battle - new recruits joining the squad are swatted down by the enemy on a regular basis. The four privates are naturally reluctant to get to know any of the new recruits joining the squad, who become just a series of nameless faces.Written by
In the ambush scene, with the German hiding behind the cross, the sun is shining on the cross and the German's face. However, in the same sequence the cross casts a shadow across the field in the opposite direction to the first scene. See more »
You know how you smoke out a sniper? You send a guy out in the open and you see if he gets shot. They thought that one up at West Point.
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In 2004, film critic Richard Schickel restored this film to a new director's cut length of approximately 160 minutes. Using Samuel Fuller's production notes and the full-length, unexpurgated script, Schickel restored the footage that was forced to be cut by the studio upon its original 1980 release (which runs 116 minutes). The restored version's DVD release date is 3 May 2005. This longer, epic-length version is closer to Fuller's original vision for the film. See more »
When I first saw THE BIG RED ONE in the early 80s I was fairly impressed especially with the twist at the end tying in with the start though I wouldn`t have gone so far to have called it a classic . However I was about 15 when I saw it and many teenagers of my generation still enjoyed feature films about the second world war . Alas a lot has happened in the film world not to mention my life so when I saw it again at the weekend I was very much underwhelmed by the movie
First of all I found it rather disjointed and episodic . In many ways THE BIG RED ONE laid the foundations for BAND OF BROTHERS but whereas that acclaimed mini series dedicates the first episode to jump school training followed by nine one hour episodes from June 1944 to the Summer of 1945 , this movie has a running time of less than two hours featuring a timeframe that lasts from Spring 1942 to May 1945 which seems a bad idea with hindsight: Cut to Algeria 1942 , cut to Sicily 1943 , cut to Normandy 1944 etc . Also THE BIG RED ONE lacks a budget big enough to make the film convincing ( Well it was made by Lorimar the company who brought us DALLAS ). No matter where the action takes place the landscape resembles sunny California especially the beaches of Western france which looks suspicously like the same place BAY WATCH is filmed , every expense has been saved where location filming is concerned . I`m also surprised I didn`t notice something from my first viewing and that`s the German tiger tank not being a tiger tank at all but it being an American Sherman , and strange that you never see two tanks side by side . No doubt the production team couldn`t afford to hire more than one tank . And looking back on this film 20 years later after seeing APOCALYPSE NOW , A BRIDGE TOO FAR , CROSS OF IRON , SAVING PRIVATE RYAN , THE THIN RED LINE and BLACK HAWK DOWN I can`t say the battle scenes in THE BIG RED ONE are all that impressive to me in 2003.
THE BIG RED ONE does have a few good points . First of all it does make mention of the British contribution to the war which is something you don`t see in American films in recent times . There`s an interesting subplot ( Though it`s painfully underwritten ) about Mark Hamill`s character being a coward . There`s also a great line about it " Being okay to kill sane people but not insanes ones ? " . But the best part of the movie is a moving segment featuring Lee Marvin`s tough Sarge befriending a child who`s just been liberated from a Nazi death camp , though once again this is skated over far too quickly in a film that`s got too many negatives and not enough positives . As I said I waited 20 years between seeing it for the first and second time and could happily wait for another 20 years before seeing it a third time
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