7.2/10
16,885
119 user 74 critic

The Big Red One (1980)

R | | Drama, War | 18 July 1980 (USA)
The story of a sergeant and the inner core members of his unit as they serve in and try to survive World War II.

Director:

Writer:

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ON DISC
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... The Sergeant
... Pvt. Griff - 1st Squad
... Pvt. Zab - 1st Squad
... Pvt. Vinci - 1st Squad
... Pvt. Johnson - 1st Squad
... Underground Walloon Fighter at Asylum (as Stephane Audran)
... Schroeder - German Sergeant
Serge Marquand ... Rensonnet
Charles Macaulay ... General / Captain
Alain Doutey ... Broban - Vichy Sergeant)
Maurice Marsac ... Vichy Colonel
Colin Gilbert ... Dogface POW
Joseph Clark ... Pvt. Shep - Soldier on Troop Transport
Ken Campbell ... Pvt. Lemchek - #2 on Bangalore Torpedo
Doug Werner ... Switolski
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The real glory of war is surviving. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

18 July 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Red One  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,206,220, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reconstructed)

Sound Mix:

(reconstruction)| (original release)

Color:

| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Samuel Fuller put the actors through a mini boot camp. Lee Marvin, as an ex Marine, was the drill instructor, even for the smallest details, such as how to hold a rifle and change a magazine of the rifle at the right time; same as in real combat. See more »

Goofs

The fire rate of MP40 submachine gun appears very high, although in reality it's quite low. See more »

Quotes

Zab: I'll be a son-of-a-bitch. My mother sold my novel to Hollywood for Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson.
Vinci: [doing a Robinson imitation] Hey, how much?
Zab: For fifteen thousand bucks!
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Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Horst Wessel Song
(uncredited)
Written by Horst Wessel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The emasculation of a potentially great film
16 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

I have seen this film quite a few times and have always been somewhat puzzled about it. There was no doubt that it had some of the most emotive scenes of any war film but seemed fractured. At times there seemed to be far more realism in it's morality than other films which was understandable since Sam Fuller actually served with The Big Red One at this time so much of it is a first hand account of events and attitudes. I have now read some of the background to the making of the film,I think in the L.A. Times,which now makes sense of the flaws in the film. Apparently Sam Fuller's budget was cut to the minimum by the studios after a regime change and the original screenplay as shot was hacked to death by the same studio against Fuller's wishes. This was not the film he wanted to make but he made it. And it was not the film that he shot as is indicated by the very complete screenplay notes he made. I think it is Richard Schickel, the noted reviewer of Time magazine, who has laboured to find the missing outtakes and to put the film together in its complete form with over 40 minutes added to the length. Apparently this more complete cut significantly improves the film and adheres to Sam Fullers screenplay more accurately. This new cut is now playing to limited audiences and, hopefully, will be available on DVD. It must be emphasized that this is not the film that Fuller originally wanted to make as the budget was cut by 75%. Some of the comments made by other reviewers on these pages are valid as to authenticity specifically in battle scenes. But Fuller did not have the budget that both the Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan had. It will be interesting to see the new cut. Hopefully it will flesh out what could have been one of the greatest Second World War films.


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