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The Big Red One (1980)

R | | Drama, War | 18 July 1980 (USA)
A hardened sergeant and the four core members of his infantry unit try to survive World War II as they move from battle to battle throughout Europe.

Director:

Samuel Fuller

Writer:

Samuel Fuller

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... The Sergeant
Mark Hamill ... Pvt. Griff - 1st Squad
Robert Carradine ... Pvt. Zab - 1st Squad
Bobby Di Cicco ... Pvt. Vinci - 1st Squad
Kelly Ward ... Pvt. Johnson - 1st Squad
Stéphane Audran ... Underground Walloon Fighter at Asylum (as Stephane Audran)
Siegfried Rauch ... Sgt. Schroeder
Serge Marquand Serge Marquand ... Rensonnet
Charles Macaulay Charles Macaulay ... General / World War I Captain
Alain Doutey ... Sgt. Broban - Vichy Soldier
Maurice Marsac ... Vichy Colonel
Colin Gilbert Colin Gilbert ... Dog Face POW - Tunis Hospital
Joseph Clark Joseph Clark ... Pvt. Shep - Soldier on Troop Transport
Ken Campbell Ken Campbell ... Pvt. Lemchek - #2 on Bangalore Torpedo
Doug Werner Doug Werner ... Switolski
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Storyline

The story of a hardened army sergeant and four of his men, from their first fight at the Kasserine Pass after the invasion of North Africa through to the invasion of Sicily, D-Day, the Ardennes forest and the liberation of a concentration camp at the end of the war. As the five of them fight - and survive to fight yet again in the next battle - new recruits joining the squad are swatted down by the enemy on a regular basis. The four privates are naturally reluctant to get to know any of the new recruits joining the squad, who become just a series of nameless faces. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only chance could have thrown them together. Now, nothing can pull them apart. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian | German

Release Date:

18 July 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Red One: The Reconstruction See more »

Filming Locations:

Israel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,206,220, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reconstructed)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (reconstruction)| Dolby (original release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Samuel Fuller: as a military cameraman documenting the troops. He's the older man with the cigar asking the troops to wave at the camera. See more »

Goofs

During the WW1 scene between the Sergeant and the officer in the dug-out, the Sergeant learns that the armistice had been signed 4 hours previously at 1100hrs, November 11, 1918. While talking with the officer, the sergeant is cutting a piece of red cloth in the shape of a number '1' which he says he will submit as a proposed insignia for the division. However the shoulder sleeve insignia for the 1st Division consisting of a red number "1" was already approved on 31 Oct 1918. See more »

Quotes

Kaiser: Did I kill the guy that killed me?
The Sergeant: Yes.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2004, film critic Richard Schickel restored this film to a new director's cut length of approximately 160 minutes. Using Samuel Fuller's production notes and the full-length, unexpurgated script, Schickel restored the footage that was forced to be cut by the studio upon its original 1980 release (which runs 116 minutes). The restored version's DVD release date is 3 May 2005. This longer, epic-length version is closer to Fuller's original vision for the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses from the South
(uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Vignettes of the Survivors of War
9 January 2005 | by JerryP-2See all my reviews

The Big Red One isn't so much a war movie as it is a message, sometimes obscure, of what war is really like. There is much symbolism in this movie, for example the human arm, with a wristwatch on it, washing in the bloody surf of Omaha Beach. If you want realistic detail of combat, watch Saving Private Ryan. If you want to the voice of experience, blurry from the passage of time, The Big Red One is a movie to see.

Keep in mind that this movie reflects the life experiences of some survivors of WWII. That Lee Marvin was cast as the grizzled sergeant is part of the symbolism: Marvin was a combat Marine who participated in the invasion of Saipan; he is cast as a survivor of WWI who is retracing part of the path he took during that conflict. I found some of the scenes from the movie barely believable, for example, the French insane asylum, but you must keep in mind that there is a message from the survivors of that war in each and every scene. How you take the message, apparently, is up to you.


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