The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
13 user 3 critic

The Purple Testament 

A U.S. army lieutenant serving in the Philippines during WWII develops a harrowing ability to see in the faces of the men of his platoon, who will be the next ones to die.




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Episode complete credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Capt. Phil Riker
Lt. Fitzgerald
Lieutenant Colonel
Jeep Driver
Harmonica Man


In the Philippines in 1945, army Lt. Fitzgerald has developed the disturbing ability to look into his men's faces and know who will be killed in the next battle. He says it's like a light is shined on their face. His superior, Capt. Phil Riker, consults the medical officer but he finds nothing conclusive. Fitzgerald passes out when visiting one of his wounded men in the hospital after he sees the light on his face. When he sees the light on Riker's face, he begs him not to go out. After they return from the operation, he sees that there will be one other casualty that day. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

12 February 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dean Stockwell was the initial choice for Lieutenant Fitzgerald but had to turn it down due to a schedule conflict. He eventually appeared in The Twilight Zone: A Quality of Mercy (1961) which has a similar setting as well as another William Shakespeare-based title. See more »


Rod Serling's narration says at the end of that the title phrase Purple Testament comes from the William Shakespeare play "Richard III". It is actually Richard II, Act 3, Scene 3. See more »


Rod Serling - Narrator: [Closing Narration] From William Shakespeare, Richard the Third, a small excerpt. The line reads, 'He has come to open the purple testament of bleeding war.' And for Lieutenant William Fitzgerald, A Company, First Platoon, the testament is closed. Lieutenant Fitzgerald has found the Twilight Zone.
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(aka Going Home) (uncredited)
from Symphony No. 9 in E Minor 'From the New World', Op. 95
Music by Antonín Dvorák
Arranged by Lucien Moraweck
Played by the 'Harmonica Man' when Captain Riker puts some photos and his wedding ring on the table,
and again at the end
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User Reviews

I'd Rather Not Know
22 July 2006 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Army lieutenant is cursed with gift of premonition.

Battlefields are not the usual locale for occult happenings. This one is. It's the waning days of WWII in the Pacific theater and an infantry officer (William Reynolds) suddenly undergoes spooky premonitions of who will live and who will die. Fine performance by Reynolds on whom the episode turns. He manages the gamut of emotions in very convincing fashion, among the best of the series. You get the feeling he's really on the ragged edge. Also, the production crew turns an ordinary sound stage into effective recreation of battlefield headquarters, where most of the action takes place. Very atmospheric in its use of light and shadow, the photography lends the small jungle clearing a believably eerie appearance. Then too, the supernatural moments are strangely unsettling and well done. Some nice touches, as when Reynolds tosses his shaving kit aside before getting in the jeep, or when the camera picks up the shattered reflection in the broken mirror. Probably because this was still the first year of production, the episode is done with extraordinary care, and it shows. Purple Testament may not quite make the first rank, but it's darn close.

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