All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1187. An easy way of seeing how…
The Big Red One
Only chance could have thrown them together. Now, nothing can pull them apart.
A veteran sergeant of the World War I leads a squad in World War II, always in the company of the survivor Pvt. Griff, the writer Pvt. Zab, the Sicilian Pvt. Vinci and Pvt. Johnson in Vichy French Africa, Sicily, D-Day at Omaha Beach, Belgium and France, ending in a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia where they face the true horror of war.
I know there's someone out there that watches this and sees glory and excitement, but I can't imagine what they must be like. Almost every soldier I've ever spoken to has mentioned how unrealistic war movies are, but that hardly means the movies don't adequately convey some sense of horror and pain. They present effective characters and we empathize with them, and even if what is shown is both less terrifying than the real thing and more condensed, deeply edited, completely limited as compared to the real thing, even if that is the case, it is none-the-less a depiction of nothing I can fathom wanting to be a part of.
This film (and note that I watched the 2.75 hour…
Suddenly realised I haven't written anything about Sam Fuller on here yet, and this probably isn't the best one to start with. It makes a slight move from the giant collective pieces on war from early Fuller and juggles both very personal stories of war with larger perspectives showing the entire squadron. He's certainly concerned with showing each individual victory and act of heroism though they always exist in the moment and that feeling is always short-lived or surrounded with such horrifying bluntness as Marvin calling each number on D-Day and the corresponding man having to go to his death. It's hardly as relentless as, say, Steel Helmet or China Gate which both exist within a space…
Sometimes there are films that can genuinely be described as a huge influence on a host of others in their genre. Star Wars influenced almost every science fiction movie after 1977 and Samuel Fuller's The Big Red One's influence can be seen in everything from Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan to the Band Of Brothers tv series.
Starring Lee Marvin and a post Star Wars Mark Hamill, this follows a group of soldiers from the legendary 1st Infantry Division during WWII. It shows the platoon at various stages of the war and covers their exploits in North Africa, Sicily, the D-Day landings, Belgium and finally Czechoslovakia. We see the deaths of comrades, the horrors of war, the bond that grows between…
What doesn't this war movie have?
- Big speeches
- Monologues about 'back home'
- Emotional death scenes
- Acts of heroism
- Anyone with special skills besides a few words of German or Italian
Sam Fuller's masterpiece, released in butchered form in 1980 then 'reconstructed' 24 years later according to his original shooting script, is a war movie like no other: the episodic, wryly fatalistic story of four dogfaces, dubbed 'the four horsemen of the apocalypse' who fight the battles that the writer-director had in World War Two: in North Africa, France, Belgium, Germany and Czechslovakia, under the wing of a taciturn, decent and unsentimental sergeant (Lee Marvin, himself a veteran of the conflict). Fuller himself is immortalised as…
So The Empire Strikes Back wasn't the only great film to co-star Mark Hamill in 1980. Talk about confronting your dark side. Fuller is adept at details and ideas without being heavy handed or abstractly poetic. Therefore, I found this superior to both Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line. Lee Marvin is a master at the close-up reaction shot and totally believable as the commander who's fought to the bitter end of two world wars. David Ayer's recent Fury (which I liked) owes a great debt to this one. I watched the original cut, but greatly look forward to sitting down for the reconstructed version some day.
It's just one of your balls, Smitty. You can live without it. That's why they gave you two.
It's either an Epic War Drama disguised as a World War II Adventure B-Movie, or a World War II Adventure B-Movie disguised as an Epic War Drama. I'm not sure which. It certainly is an Epic however, but a Samuel Fuller Epic. No forced messages or sentimentality, just a story about war.
It's not a romanticized version of the war either despite it's "War Adventure Tone". The Sergeant and the four lucky Privates that seem to be the only survivors from skirmish to skirmish come to a point where they don't seem to give a shit about anyone else in…
This is famously war from someone who was there, and who knows whereof he speaks. Sam Fuller fought through the second world war and lived to tell the tale which is important because the motto of this film 'is there is no glory in war except survival'. Following a prequel at the end of the first world war it tracks an infantry battalion from North Africa, through Scilly and Italy, D-Day, the battle of the Bulge, right through to the liberation of a concentration camp. It focuses on the four ordinary Joe's lucky enough to get through (it is not all luck, Lee Marvin as a Sargent of practical bravery, distinct from the swaggering bravado he sometimes adapts. He guides…
Epic war film across many countries and continents.
Since his early masterpieces such as "The Steel Helmet", "Fixed Bayonets!" "Hell and High Water", "China gate", "Verborten!" and "Merrill's Marauders", Samuel Fuller sought to capture the essence of his personal experiences in the war. But the war in Fuller cinema may be all what he described in his unforgettable dialog in "Pierrout Le Fou": "A film is like a battlefield. It has love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In a word: Emotions!" And all this pure and true cinematic essence is in perfect condition here in "The Big Red One". The battlefield where the love for life and our fellow soldiers are mutual; hatred of the enemy is survival; action and violence is the harsh reality that Fuller captures so…
what's french for "push"??
30 years of nightmares purged from a soul, most surreal war film i've ever seen
Reconstructed version - "This is fictional life based on factual death". Episodes of war in a movie that is a lesson of cinema and a lesson of life. Sorry if I don't have elegant words to explain what this experience was to me. The Reconstruction, unlike other "director's cuts", preserves the vision of Fuller with a great and extraordinary respect. And the extra documentaries of the DVD release are essental.
Lee Marvin wearing a helmet adorned with flowers, Lee Marvin helping to deliver a baby, Lee Marvin carrying a child on his shoulders...so soft
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…