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The Big Red One
Drama, Action, War
IMDB rating:
Samuel Fuller
Mark Hamill as Pvt. Griff, 1st Squad
Colin Gilbert as Dog Face POW
Ken Campbell as Pvt. Lemchek (#2 on Bangalore torpedo)
Doug Werner as Switolski
Joseph Clark as Pvt. Shep (soldier on troop transport)
Maurice Marsac as Vichy colonel
Siegfried Rauch as Schroeder (German sergeant)
Serge Marquand as Rensonnet
Lee Marvin as The Sergeant
Bobby Di Cicco as Pvt. Vinci, 1st Squad
Kelly Ward as Pvt. Johnson, 1st Squad
Alain Doutey as Broban (Vichy sergeant)
Stéphane Audran as Underground Walloon fighter at asylum (as Stephane Audran)
Robert Carradine as Pvt. Zab, 1st Squad
Storyline: Grim story of a WWII squad consisting of an anonymous sergeant and four long-time survivors who ignore the faceless replacements who continually arrive and die.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
DVD-rip 704x384 px 1440 Mb mpeg4 1237 Kbps avi Download
Fixed Helmet
Based very loosely on his own wartime experiences, this late career Sam Fuller movie follows a sergeant and four privates through a myriad of Second World War experiences, all of which they almost miraculously seem to survive despite countless new recruits getting killed in the process. Covering such a large span of time (around three years) and so many key events in just over two and a half hours, 'The Big Red One' often feels rambling and disjointed, not to mention downright random at times - with a battleground birth scene being the height of the film's randomness. And yet, the scene in question provides excellent comic relief (one soldier keeps saying "pussy" rather than "pousser") and the rambling nature of the film sort of seems appropriate to reflect the uncertainties and complexities of war, which is more than just battle after battle. It is, however, hard to deny that Fuller works better on a smaller budget. Impressive as some of the staged battle scenes are here, the quiet intensity of Fuller's earlier 'Fixed Bayonets!' and 'The Steel Helmet' is missing here, not to mention all the great conversation that the characters in those films have about war. 'The Big Red One' is not short on good ideas though with its argued differences between killing and murdering and a memorable "names are the same" moment as the soldiers come across a World War I memorial. Lee Marvin is saddled with a very good character here too with a powerful redemption scene and strong moments interacting with the children of war. Patience is definitely required though to make it through the film's slower patches.
"Band of Brothers" meets "Dirty Dozen"
See it – Picture a mix between HBO's miniseries "Band of Brothers" and the "Dirty Dozen." It co-stars Lee Marvin in his usual hard-nosed role. The other co-star is a pleasant surprise. In a rare role playing someone other than Luke Skywalker, we see Mark Hammel playing a young soldier struggling with the fear of combat. This movie is special because it follows a squad of soldiers as they serve tours of duty in every major theater, from North Africa to Berlin. Some moments feel very corny and 70's. Other scenes are very over-the top, such as when the main characters help a woman deliver a baby inside a tank while propping her legs up using machine gun belts. But at its heart it's just a good World War 2 movie, complete to its climactic final scene. 4 out of 5 action rating
Full Metal Skolnick (SPOILERS!)
When a WW II movie has Robert Carradine as a cigar-chomping badass Army private who is also the narrator, you know something has gone horribly wrong. What sinks "The Big Red One" are not the bloodless battles, or the insipidness of the dialogue, but the fact that none of the protagonists ever gets wounded or killed. Everybody around the first squad falls like flies, but the Sarge, Skolnick, the Italian guy, the guy with the killer `riods, and Luke Skywalker walk away intact. This kills any believability, which leads to the question: is this a straight war film (like "A Bridge Too Far" or "The Longest Day") or an essay about men at war (like the recent "Thin Red Line")? I don't think that Fuller knows, so he switches from "realistic" back to "character study" whenever it suits him. So what was the point? Personally I think that "The Big Red One" was Fuller's knowing satire of the big war films of the 1950s, and a semi-satire of his own 1951 Korean War film, "The Steel Helmet." Watch this for James Coburn, he gives a good performance as the WW I vet who leads the squad.
Great Lee Marvin performance ..... Tarantino stole from this film .....
Dear Samuel Fuller,

this guy called Quentin Tarantino ripped off the beginning of your film with the visuals of the statue of Jesus on the cross. He might also have been inspired (for another film of his) by the scene where a Belgian maid identifies a German officer posing as an American by the way he eats a steak.

I liked the story - a tightly knit unit of soldiers lead by a sergeant (Lee Marvin) who is both ruthless and humane take part in some of the important battles of World War 2. Your film can be looked at as series of dramatic and action set pieces separated by scenes of the soldiers interacting with each other and cracking jokes. The soldiers helping a German woman deliver a baby, eating lunch with a bunch of Italian mamas, partying with Belgian women and attacking a mental asylum stood out for me. But the action scenes were the film's weak point. Sometimes, they went on and on. They were quite boring. I guess you were aiming for realism. I liked the extensive use of close ups and the quick cuts in the battle scenes. The images of the bloodied waves and food stood out for me.

Rober Carradine who plays the Italian narrator looked like a young John Cassavetes. Lee Marvin was effortlessly bad ass and melancholic as the leader of the squadron. The catharsis for Marvin's character (who has fought in both the World War's) at the film's end was very imaginative and touching.

Best Regards, Pimpin.

A Noble Tribute
The Big Red One directed by Samuel Fuller bases the story line off of his own life and has done it well. Along with several other war tributes to the generation that served our country during the 1940s, Fuller's version is another good film to see.

Starring as the main character is Lee Marvin. For anyone who does not know of Marvin's background, he too served in the military in World War II. And now he's fighting for his country again but on screen; where he can't be really killed. Lucky him! Along side Marvin is actor Mark Hamill. Yes-Luke Skywalker is in this movie too! Now America has the force on its side! Hamill plays a character named Griff who is a little bit insecure about himself. He's the kind of person that does not acclimate to war so easily but tries to cope with it.

The main things that will grab people's attention are the accuracy of what most of the war was like. Everything was grueling. Everything was communicated by hollering orders. Everything was at war. There are not a lot of characters involved with the plot but you see many brave soldiers die; no doubt about that.

There are also some touching moments in this film. Sometimes platoon's would run into run-down foreign European towns where many people did not have food and water. What makes moments great like these is that the soldier's would help them, which is what America does. We help people. We release people from their captives because everyone has the right to be free.

The only reason why I did not give this World War II flick ten stars was the way the story line moved. Everything seemed too choppy. First they start out in some place in Africa. All of a sudden, they're in Europe. Wait, where's the transition here? It just felt like the platoon was just migrating from place to place just because they felt like it. That's the only thing that bothers me in this movie. Everything else I appreciate and respect to up-most degree.

Containing less gore but the same amount of zeal, Fuller's version of World War II is heartfelt and touching altogether. For any World War II buff, this is another classic that should be on your list to watch.
read the comments
to start, i am a navy brat, army niece (all of who served during ww2, 1 uncle died) and now a seabee (navy construction) wife. i wrote in user comments earlier what i thought of this movie. all i want to write now is, to all the detractors, READ the book! the 4 horsemen are composites of those who survived, who fought, altho they didn't get the bigger picture (just like real life) they served because they were called, no politics invoved. that WAS the way it was.
An Insult To History and War Movies
Probably ranks as one of the poorest war movies made. Not Lee Marvin at his best either. It presents a string of unconnected scenes with little more theme or story then the senselessness of war. Poor dialog, poor action scenes, poor history.

Technically, there are just too many silly shortcuts with historical equipment and battle scenes. See other posts regarding tanks etc. Many posts give this movie a pass about this due to its date of production 1980, stating that it should not be compared to the likes of Saving Private Ryan, but when you consider A Bridge Too Far was made in 1977 there is no excuse.

Now for some sarcasm. I really loved the scene were they threw grenades right into each others hand, in the dark from yards away. Really that happened? And Lee Marvin shooting at Mark Hamill to get him up to the Bangalore. What inspiration. We know that German squads had every man equipped with a radio. Well, there are too many of these things to mention.

This squad seemed to fight everywhere alone. Even on Omaha Beach this squad was alone. And of course they singlehandedly opened up the beach and saved the invasion.

I could never feel connected or inspired by any of the action or touching moments. The zealous Nazi reappearing to face this rifle squad seems to just be an insult to the audience.

If crude silly sex references offend you, then stay away. Almost every non-combat scene contains some sexual innuendo, comedic and otherwise, most seem very juvenile. If you are over 14 you will not be amused.

Only rent it if you are a war movie junkie and just have to see every war movie made. Please do not regard this as history.
Simply extraordinary !
As a certified war film nut with hundreds of titles in my collection, I can say with some credibility that "The Big Red One" is easily within the top ten war movies ever made. The camera work, acting and script are superb. The combat "special effects" are believable, numerous and equal to anything produced with todays computer wizardry. I know there are many who do not like Director Samuel Fuller's films, or actor Lee Marvin for that matter, but in this film both have outdone themselves. The reconstruction team did a magnificent job in cleaning up the film, as well as adding realism to the audio and piecing the film back together. The end result is far and away better than the original. That's a pretty neat trick!! A must see, must have movie!
This is an 80s movie, so why does it look like a 60s one?
Realism is not one of Big Red One's strong suits. The combat scenes harken more to those old movies like The Longest Day, Battle of the Bulge, and (worst of all) Raid on Rommel. The Omaha beach scene made me use the restroom because how poorly executed it was, I nearly died laughing. Almost no one in the film seemed to have an IQ over 65, that bugged me a lot. I wasn't expecting actual people in war, but if Sam Fuller was wanting to recreate his life in war, he should've taken some hints from Deer Hunter, A Bridge Too Far, and Apocalypse Now. Simply awful filmmaking.
Uninspiring extant version leaves questions into what the original would have been like
"The Big Red One" could easily be considered the consummate war movie in that it juggles issues of pro-war and anti-war themes while remaining at heart entertaining and spectacular, allowing it's characters to struggle with what they're doing while allowing the action to titillate. It embraces such dialog as, "We don't murder, we kill--you do not murder meat you eat," and "Killing insane people is poor for public relations... killing sane people is okay." Also, if it's any worth to you, Samuel Fuller is a WWII veteran and this movie comes out of some of his personal experience.

However, one regrettable thing about this film, an aspect that is admittedly entirely out of its control, is the fact that it sags under the weight of so many other war films out there. I cannot speak of the unseen movie that Fuller intended--perhaps that version would stand out more. What I can say is that it's extant version basically fits so smoothly into its history its almost invisible: everything it does has been done both before and since. There is really nothing in this movie that stands out. Even the scenes in the insane asylum match similar scenes in an earlier film called "King of Hearts", and the whole thing on Normandy beach involving the watch was subsequently taken by Spielberg in "Saving Private Ryan."

The biggest reason for this is straight-forward: studio control turned it from a personal essay of a person's experiences of war into a salable genre creation. It is no longer "Samuel Fuller's film," it is "a WWII film." Until (and if) Fuller's original intention comes out, The Big Red One basically exists as "that other movie with Mark Hamill in it." --PolarisDiB
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