“We don’t murder; we kill.”
A veteran sergeant (Lee Marvin) leads four soldiers (Robert Carradine, Mark Hamill, Bobbi Di Ciccio, and Kelly Ward) through the European theatre of World War Two, while death and chaos surround them.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Lee Marvin Films
- Sam Fuller Films
- World War II
Response to Peary’s Review:
As noted by Peary and many other reviewers, the salient theme of Sam Fuller’s dream film — a “hard-hitting yet extremely poetic, impressionistic recollection of his WWII experiences” — seems to be that “surviving is the only glory in war”. More a series of nightmarish moments than a coherent story, “Fuller’s most expensive and ambitious film has epic proportions, taking place in countless locations… and covering many battles” while downplaying “spectacle and battlefield heroics”. The movie’s many “memorable, moving scenes” include a Belgian woman giving birth on the floor of a tank:
… and “Marvin with the little boy from the concentration camp.”
Fuller emphasizes the “surreal aspects of war, from bizarre images and nightmarish situations to soldiers carrying on everyday conversations although their friends have just died in battle or they themselves may die a moment later.” He argues that “if you were disappointed when you first saw” this flick, “give it another try — it really improves the second time around.”
- Lee Marvin as The Sergeant
- An intimate look at infantry survival and camaraderie during wartime
- Beautiful cinematography
- Fine location shooting
Yes. While not quite the masterpiece Fuller intended, this is still indispensable viewing for any film fanatic.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)