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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
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 good WWII movie/story....
I think this is one of the unacclaimed WWII movies. I find it very entertaining and interesting. If you like Lee Marvin, you will like this movie. The only better movie he did, (in my humble opinion) was the classic "The Dirty Dozen". Until "Saving Private Ryan" came out, this was my favorite "modern" WWII movie. I love how it goes from N.Africa all the way to Berlin. I find especially interesting because I know two Individuals who went through those theater's of operations. A movie definitely worth watching.
It may very well be Sam Fuller's war masterpiece
Like most artists, Sam Fuller made movies about personal things he knew firsthand. About the press in Park Row, about pulpy crime stories like those he wrote in Crimson Kimono, about war in a dozen of his movies. The Big Red One may be the most personal of all because he fought with the actual Big Red One in WWII. Those who have a passing knowledge of Fuller's persona will recognize him in Pvt Zab chewing down the end of a cigar throughout the movie. Sam Fuller himself appears as a newsreel cameraman later on. Lee Marvin, aged though he may have been for his role, was another WWII veteran and he was shot in the Pacific in much the same way he's shot in the movie. Now all the jigsaw pieces start coming together to reveal what kind of movie this is.

If it appears a bit anachronistic for its time, in its bland score and vivid bright colors that seem to have escaped from a 60's movie, two years later than Apocalypse Now, five years before Full Metal Jacket, that's because it is. It's not a movie made by young people and it doesn't set out to deconstruct the war movie or search for the primeval archetype behind war the way Coppola did in the jungles of the Philippines. It's wholesome in its own episodic way, a journey of sorts that takes us from the deserts of Algeria to the landings in Sicily and Omaha beach to the heart of the beast, the crematoriums of Germany. In its own syncopated way, this is no less a journey to the heart of darkness than Apocalypse Now was. The conclusion is not mystical but it's full of raw humanity.

The scope is broad (WWII in all the different battlefields of Europe) but the focus is narrow (on a small company of four young bucks and their scruffy sergeant who's haunted by demons he first encountered in a WWI battlefield). In all the various set pieces we're taken through the emphasis remains on the nailbiting buildup, the suspense and the constant waiting to kill or be killed by a stray nameless bullet, rather than a panoramic outcome of a war won or lost. Indeed, when the war ends, the soldiers only find out about it through flyers dropped from the sky, some of them even too late. Fuller experienced war firsthand and he knows war is more about constant nerve-wracking waiting than spectacular action.

Being a director of the old brigade of course he stuffs the movie full of everything. Action and humor, drama and suspense, all side by side yet nothing feels misplaced or redundant, even the raid on an insane asylum takes a curious poignant turn by the end when an inmate grabs a semi-automatic and starts firing wildly at the walls yelling "I am sane now". The question the movie asks is simple enough: is war cold blooded murder or a form of killing necessitated by some kind of design and how far is one from the other? And even though we never become as intimate with the small group of soldiers as we do with the privates in the PBR boat in Apocalypse Now or the platoon in the boot camp of Full Metal Jacket, by the end, when a private discovers a Nazi soldier hiding inside a crematorium and Lee Marvin's sergeant takes care of a Jewish child survivor of some concentration camp, the movie emerges as poignant an indictment on the madness and despair of war as any that came before or after. Fuller made several great war movies (The Steel Helmet and Fixed Bayonets! best among them), but this may very well be his masterpiece.
if you do like bad movies, this is it
This is one of those mysterious movies we can read very positive and very negative reviews about. It even won prices!!! A complete mystery to me. Giving one star I obviously think this is an awful movie (does not mean I did not enjoy watching it).

In short:

- there is no real involvement of the actors, everything looks staged. Really painful to watch. To compare this with Saving Private Ryan or Apocalypse Now is truly absurd - these movies have motion, purpose, but in "The Big Red One" actors just stumble through the scenery, with exploding trees, and a VERY thin story line.

- war movies do often convey a message, e.g. in "Full Metall Jacket" or the original "All Quiet on the Western Front" - both great movies! So what does the big red one have to offer: a truly revolting scene where a female "spy" dances through a mental asylum, slits German soldiers throats, dances off, while the soldiers collapse with hardly any blood shed, and even the sane inhabitants of the asylum stepping over the bodies as if it is nothing. Yeah, the horrors of war! Much rather the horrors of movie making.

This, by all means, is a truly amateurish movie. It is a genuine pain in the head to watch.

However, it has found a worthwhile resting place on my shelves, between "Manos - the Hands of God" (supposedly the worst movie ever made) and "The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes". An unworthy resting ground for Samuel Fuller, whose other movies I have seen were not nearly as bad as this one.

But if you have a sweet tooth for truly awful movies, this is one of them.
Superb! So where's the uncut version?
What a marvelous film! Every time it comes on TV, I find myself captivated once again by its sequences. One of those few movies you can watch over and over without tiring.

My big complaint is that no one has stepped up to the plate and released the 4 hour original. What gives here? All of Sam Fuller's fans in H'wood can't throw a little cash into the hopper and release this masterpiece as it should have been shown in the first place?

So where's Tim Robbins now? He professed undying admiration of Fuller in that IFC bio-documentary a year or so ago. C'mon, you powers that be, get this masterwork out of the can and onto screens, video, and DVD! Get your butts in gear and release this work of genius.
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.
No its not the prelude to saving private ryan
This is not a story. This is not a very good movie. Americans fighting Vichie / French and suddenly become friends. Sherman tanks driven by the German forces. Lee marvin wearing native clothing like he is Lawrence of Arabia. Lee getting french kissed by a grazy guy in the hospital. Strange fighting scenes with frenchmen on horse with native fighters cutting ears of Germans. Perfect handgranade tossing into trucks which explode perfect setting chain reactions. Germans talking English. Germans aiming MP40 on Lee and killing a little girl leaving lee unharmed. etc. etc....

This movie good not keep my attention.
Pretty decent war flick
This is a pretty decent war film. There's plenty of action scenes for even the most die-hard combat fans. It basically follows one rifle company of the 1st US Army division throughout WWII. The film skips all the months of training in between combat assignments and so moves quickly from action scene to action scene. Stars are Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill and David Carradine, so the acting is all pretty good. All the combat scenes are done fairly realistically, proving that you don't have to splatter the screen with blood and gore to make a good war flick. There's little in the way of character development and we know very little more about the characters at the end of the film than we know at the beginning. However, that's not important, really. The film moves nicely and should keep anyone's attention. I gave it a 7.
Total failure of attention to detail
I really have no idea why this film is so highly rated, I think it must be down to reviewers nostalgia from seeing it as a child. The attention to detail is awful; I understand that it was probably not possible to source authentic equipment in 1980 and obviously there was no CGI but really, is it too much to ask not to have 1980's hairstyles , modern Israeli(Oh the irony!) tank drivers with modern helmets and Germans shouting "Americaner schweinhund!".

I've tried to watch it three times now, and I'm sure a modern re telling would do a much better job.It's clearly a fascinating story but this version doesn't make it so.
One of the best World War Two movies ever made
My father was a combat veteran of WW2, and he never hesitated to tell his sons about it -- both its horrors and its excitement. Watching this movie brought back the sense of amazement, horror, and interest in hearing a group of guys recounting what happened to them in The War. It draws our interest into the film by making the characters believable and sympathetic, then repels us by reminding us that war is NOT an adventure or an opportunity for personal growth. It neither sugar-coats the hell of war nor makes the soldiers so repulsive that we don't care if they live or die. The scene where Marvin "comforts" the wounded soldier by reminding him "that's why you got two of them" sums up this film so well: war is hell but that doesn't you can't be human when you're in the middle of it.

Interestingly, my top three WW2 movies are this one, _Saving Private Ryan_, and _The Longest Day_: all of which have major action on Omaha Beach.
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