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Plot: A Major with an attitude problem and a history of getting things done is told to interview military prisoners with death sentences or long terms for a dangerous mission; To parachute behind enemy lines and cause havoc for the German Generals at a rest house on the eve of D-Day. Written by John Vogel Runtime: 150 min Release Date: 22 Oct 1967
Excellent WWII Action Piece and Representation of 60s Pop Culture (by SgtSlaughter)
Acclaimed director Robert Aldrich also famous to war film buffs for his rule-breaking drama, "Attack" twists the familiar 'unit picture' into a famous story of unexpected heroism in the midst of World War II. Instead of making his heroes clean-cut, American draftees, we're looking at the dirtiest convicts the Armed Forces has got to offer. OSS Major Reisman Lee Marvin, "Hell in the Pacific" is an insubordinate Army officer who's facing a court-martial, when he's given one last chance for a reprieve: select twelve Army prisoners from a <more>
maximum-security detention center, train them for a top-secret mission behind the German lines, and then lead them into battle. If they succeed in the mission, they'll be released. For Reisman, it's a tough call, but it's his only chance to save his career. The men he was to work with are a mixed batch, and director Aldrich packs a lot of character development into a two-and-a-half-hour movie. The most important of the "Dirty Dozen" is Franko, a small-time Chicago hoodlum who's facing the gallows for robbery and subsequent murder of a British civilian. It's clear from the start that Franko is a loner who thinks he's big stuff, but Reisman manages to prove that he's really all talk. More than once, he considers and even attempts escape from the remote training camp that the Dozen are forced to build but maybe, just maybe, beneath that rebellious attitude, there's a chance for redemption. Then there are some more sympathetic types: Wladislaw Charles Bronson, "Battle of the Bulge" was once a front-line infantryman who shot his platoon's medic when the medic got scared under fire and started running Bronson says "He took off with all the medical supplies only way to stop him was to shoot him." Jefferson Jim Brown, "Ice Station Zebra" has been convicted for murder his defense is he was defending himself from vicious, racist MPs who were abusing him. Wladislaw and Jefferson find themselves allied in order to get Franko on their side, because they have faith in Reisman and aren't willing to let Franko's rebellion become infectious. Also in fine support is Clint Walker "None But the Brave" as the big Navajo, Posey, who punched a man too hard for shoving him. He really didn't mean to kill him; he just doesn't like being pushed. Posey comes off as a cuddly teddy bear who'd never intentionally hurt a soul, and it's clear from the start that he's one of the good guys. Finally, Telly Savalas "Kelly's Heroes" lends a hand as the psychotic, racist, religious fanatic Maggot, who believes his job is to punish the other 11 men for their "wickedness". His motives are never really clear; all we really know is that Maggot is somewhat unhinged and potentially dangerous. Even though Reisman and his squad don't get along, they're forced to become allied against a common enemy the American General Staff, who want to do nothing short of shut the operation down. Aldrich again breaks the rules, making the conventionally "good guys" into the enemy. The Germans are barely mentioned throughout the first two acts, and only become involved for the explosive finale. The heart of this movie is anti-establishment behavior, right in the vein of the protest culture of the 60s: the good guys are the unshaven criminals, and the bad guys are the clean-cut, well-dressed Generals who come across as stupid and vain. As Colonel Everett Dasher Breed, Robert Ryan "Flying Leathernecks" makes an excellent bully, a villain that the Dozen eventually unite to take action against. Once the men have been trained and are finally cooperating and acting as a unit, it's time to set them loose on the Nazis. And still, the story doesn't become stereotypical. The mission is simple: the men will parachute into occupied France, penetrate a château being used as a rest center for high-level German officers, and kill as many of said officers as possible in a short amount of time. This operation involves stabbing defenseless women, machine-gunning prisoners, and finally, locking several dozen German officers and their mistresses in an underground bomb shelter, pouring gasoline down on them through air vents, loading said air vents with hand grenades, and then blowing up the whole place. Characters and story aside, the film benefits from some superb editing by Michael Luciano. Director Aldrich and cinematographer Edward Scaife work hand in hand to compose every shot. The cramped, dank prison cells in the first act are utterly convincing, and the layout of the huge, magnificent German-occupied château looks, quite appropriately, like a cross between a marvelous mansion and an impregnable fortress. The battle scenes are well-choreographed, too. Never does a moment go by where we do not know where one encounter is happening in relation to what the rest of the squad is dealing with in and around the Château. Frank de Vol's sweeping score is used sparingly, and adds to both the humor and suspense of the picture. One scene, in which Donald Sutherland's character "inspects" a platoon of the 82nd Airborne, is set to a live orchestra's performance perfectly. War is a really a dirty business this isn't a movie about men playing by the rules. It's about breaking every rule in the book to get a job done, and if a few innocent bystanders get in the way, they're simply collateral damage. On a higher level, Aldrich's film reflects culture attitudes of the late 60s. Moviegoers wanted a film which encouraged breaking the rules, which showed the higher levels of the American military as deeply flawed, and made the dregs of society into the heroes of the piece. It's a cynical representation of the time it was made in, but holds up flawlessly 40 years later, in a culture which has probably been shaped by the attitudes the film reflects in every frame. 10/10
One of the most quintessential macho movies of all time. (by Spikeopath)
The Dirty Dozen is directed by Robert Aldrich and adapted for the screen by Nunnally Johnson & Lukas Heller from the novel by E. M. Nathanson. It stars Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Donald Sutherland, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Ryan and Jim Brown.1944, just prior to D-Day.Major Reisman Marvin is a none conformist kind of guy and he riles the higher brass no end, so it comes as no surprise to him that he is the man assigned the unenviable task of assembling a suicide squad of army criminals for a mission to destroy a château in France. This <more>
particular château has no military value as such, but as it is used by many of the Nazi big chiefs, destroying it whilst they relax inside will upset the German plans immensely. But can this rag tag band of murderers, rapists and thieves shape up into something resembling a fighting force? Their reward, should they survive the mission, is amnesty, but Reisman for sure has his hands full on both sides of the war."One: down to the road block, we've just begun.. Two: the guards are through.. Three: the Major's men are on a spree.. Four: Major and Wladislaw go through the door.. Five: Pinkley stays out in the drive.. Six: the Major gives the rope a fix.. Seven: Wladislaw throws the hook to heaven.. Eight: Jiménez has got a date.. Nine: the other guys go up the line.. Ten: Sawyer and Gilpin are in the pen.. Eleven: Posey guards points five and seven.. Twelve: Wladislaw and the Major go down to delve.. Thirteen: Franko goes up without being seen.. Fourteen: Zero-hour, Jiménez cuts the cable, Franko cuts the phone.. Fifteen: Franko goes in where the others have been.. Sixteen: We all come out like it's Halloween..."The Dirty Dozen has become one of those films that is a perennial holiday favourite like The Great Escape, Zulu and The Magnificent Seven. Which while it most definitely deserves such big exposure, it's a little surprising it's part of the holiday viewing schedules given its cynicism and amoral core, something which is one of the many great & intriguing things about Aldrich's testosterone laced movie. Met with mixed reviews on release, with the negative side of the fence bemoaning its nasty violence and preposterous plot, The Dirty Dozen none the less performed great at the box office where it was the fifth highest grosser of the year and the number one money maker in terms of profit to budget. Coming as it did during the middle of the Vietnam War, it was evident that the paying public quite easily bought into the thematics of it all. Over 50 years since it first lured people into the picture houses, Aldrich's movie shows no sign of aged frayed edges, or better still, and more remarkable, the enjoyability factors it holds has not diminished.What makes it a great film, then? First off is the all-star macho cast assembled by Aldrich and his team, big hitters like Marvin stepping in when John Wayne balked at the script , Borgnine, Kennedy, Ryan and Bronson were already names to the public, but these are also supplemented by soon to be "stars" like Cassavetes, Sutherland and Savalas also stepping into a role vacated by another, this time Jack Palance who didn't like the racial aggression of the character & stoic performers like Jaeckel & Robert Webber. Into the mix is curio value with the casting of singer Trini Lopez and Gridiron star Jim Brown. Throw Clint Walker into the pot as well and you have got a considerable amount of beef in the stew! Secondly the film led the way for a slew of movies that featured bad guys as heroes, so with that Aldrich's film holds up well as being a hugely influential piece. Then thirdly is that not only is it intermittently funny as the violence explodes on the screen, but that it's also chocked full of action and adventure. All that and for those so inclined you can find questionable morals under scrutiny and see the "war is hell" banner firmly flown during the nastiness of the missions' culmination.Split into three parts - meet the guys - see them train - and then the mission, pic has been criticised for its lack of realism, but is that really needed in what is essentially a male fantasy piece setting out to entertain? Besides which, lets applaud it for acknowledging that brutality and atrocities were committed on both sides of the fence, rest assured, The Dirty Dozen still had enough edginess about it back in the 60s! It's also true enough to say that the characters, are in the main, stereotypes, and that the unravelling story is a touch clichéd, but these are men that men want to be okay maybe not Savalas' religious maniac rapist! and men that women can cast a flirtatious eye over - there's plenty of character here to hang your hats and undergarments on as they appeal to the inner rebel hidden away in many a viewer. The messages in here are not sledge hammered into the story Aldrich always said he wasn't making a message movie, just a film about camaraderie and unlikely heroes , and the construction of the action is top notch from one of America's most under appreciated directors. It's nicely shot in 70mm MetroColor/MetroScope by Edward Scaife Night of the Demon/Khartoum and features a suitably boisterous music score from Frank De Vol Cat Ballou/The Flight of the Phoenix .It's a far from flawless picture, of that there is no doubt, but it's loved by millions and continues to gain an audience yearly by those who are willing to view it on its own entertaining terms. As a boy I wanted to be Lee Marvin because of this film, as a middle aged man now, I still want to be Lee Marvin in this film. That's yet another reason why The Dirty Dozen is so great. 10/10
The Best Ensemble Rugged He-Man Cast Ever !!!!!! (by louiss)
Time and Turner saturating the airways about once a month have taken some toll on the impact of this great action adventure film which has the best ensemble rugged he-man cast every to take on the Nazi's on film. Tame by today's standards it was landmark in 1967 for unlike any previous war film the objective was not to take an island or a hill or a fortress but to kill enemy officers. Released during a time when we still considered war to have some morale standards at least when conducted by American's what better way to justify murdering our enemy than using the dregs of the <more>
American Army in a top secret covert mission. Our heroes a mixture of murderers thieves and rapists were actually more villainous than their Nazi adversaries The dozen's casting was highlighted by the brilliant Cassavetes as the punk gangster Franco and Savalas as the sadistic psychotic bigot Maggott. Bronson, Brown & Walker are the brawn of the group and the film provides all of them the opportunity to display their physical attributes. Sutherland represents the only other major character of the dozen as the unit idiot. Lee Marvin was in his prime and I consider this his best and most definitive role as the leader of the dozen. Borgnine and Ryan also standout as adversarial superiors to Marvin. This was a man's film from beginning to end and although not as colorful or explicit as the excellent book it was based on it was every bit as good a film as was the book and the exciting climax was a big improvement on the non climactic book.
Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me. (by lastliberal)
Another great film from 1967 that stands the test of time.No one would ever believe in a story about a bunch of losers going into some German High Command and killing off Generals in exchange for their freedom. Pure fantasy! Yet, this is one of the greatest and most successful war movies ever made.Robert Aldrich What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? directed a masterpiece written by Nunnally Johnson The Grapes of Wrath .The cast was outstanding with Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, George Kennedy, John Cassavetes, Clint Walker, Donald Sutherland, Telly <more>
Savalas, Ralph Meeker, Richard Jaeckel, Trini Lopez, and Robert Webber. That's more testosterone than you find on a Super Bowl Team! Sensational.
Faithful film detailing the army's attempt to recruit 12 men made up of convicted killers and rapists to do a major job by killing German officials.The cast is top-rate. As Franco, a cocky killer, John Cassavetes received a well deserved supporting Oscar nomination. As a sadistic killer, who goes through religious rages against sex-driven women, Telly Savalas, who almost helped bungle the plot, deserved a nomination as well, but didn't get one.Lee Marvin is their faithful commander who asserts himself and then gets the guys into shape for this daring fete.The picture goes down some <more>
what as time is taken out for war games and the 12 men fooling Robert Ryan on two occasions. Ryan was always a difficult character to put it over on.The film goes back to its greatness when the guys land to destroy the castle and the German officials in it. The action is strong and you leave the theater with the idea that people can be salvaged.
Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me. (by lastliberal-853-253708)
Another great film from 1967 that stands the test of time. No one would ever believe in a story about a bunch of losers going into some German High Command and killing off Generals in exchange for their freedom. Pure fantasy! Yet, this is one of the greatest and most successful war movies ever made. Robert Aldrich What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? directed a masterpiece written by Nunnally Johnson The Grapes of Wrath . The cast was outstanding with Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, George Kennedy, John Cassavetes, Clint Walker, Donald Sutherland, Telly <more>
Savalas, Ralph Meeker, Richard Jaeckel, Trini Lopez, and Robert Webber. That's more testosterone than you find on a Super Bowl Team! Sensational.
Splendidly Produced; a Tough and Tough-Minded Film (by silverscreen888)
Many viewers of film, myself include, rate this as one of the most exciting "mission"'' stories of all time. Adapted from an intelligent but Freudian source novel, the plot theme is a subtle one for a movie; it's about convicted men in WWII being given odds for life in the form of a suicide mission that may wipe their slates clean-- or perhaps not... its main theme is self-assertion, set against its opposite, enforced repression. The key to every action men undertake in this very tough and and tough-minded Nunnnally Johnason and Lukas Heller script is: "Is that <more>
person dealing with the reality of the world of and his/her own responsibility to act?" From convict Telly Savalas' character, mystical murderer of women who claims a divine calling to punish their sexuality, to Charles Bronson and Jim Brown who reacted to persecutions and are innocent by reason of self-defense, to their leader, the mission's architect, Major Reisman, who wants his plan to go forward his way despite resistance from brass, every man of the outfit is tried against the same standard. Jimenez is climbing a rope and says he can't make the tower; Franco refuses to shave because the officers have hot water and he does not, Posey can't control his temper, control-freak Col. Breed hates any man who does not go by the book; etc. As a production, Robert Aldrich's direction is probably his masterpiece; the acting is far above average, especially Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland, Clint Walker, Robert Webber, energetic John Cassevetes and Al Mancini; the inspired casting of powerful top-sergeant-level Ernest Borgnine as an obviously far-beyond-his element general works brilliantly. The art direction, special effects, sets, and music by Frank de Vol all complement a taut script filled with memorable terse dialogue. Entire sequences such as the selection interviews for the mission team, the building of the camp, a visit to Breed's hq, Breed's invasion of the camp, the training regimen, the "graduation party", Reisman's verbal defense of his men, the war games' challenge, preparing for the mission, the early invasion steps, Maggot's adlib, the attack by Reisman's team, the escape and the hospital climax and denouement--all these sections are made memorable to many admirers of this beautifully made and unusual story. As officers attached to the mission, George Kennedy, Richard Jaene-too-subtle secondary theme of the film is: the wrongness of arbitrary power in anyone's hands, including Nazis, US army officers or their brutal agents such as Breed's men who beat up Charles Bronson for information . The film is about individuals who when they harm no one else and are effective human beings, men who can always get the job done, always control themselves. who need to be free to operate. Such men the film says are "heroes"--men with an unusual ability to create results on Earth; the sort of men films ought to be made about in a nation that talks individualism and claims to value capability. This is a great adventure, of enduring artistry, occasional brutality and intelligently-developed dialogue. It has logical actions, and spectacular physical performances and This is a strong and well-thought-out adventure film, one of the richest of its genre, to be watched many times.
A violent war film, and a great action-adventure entertainment... (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
Robert Aldrich seemed torn between American heroism or to indulge in a celebration of violence with an intriguing angle on combat in World War II adventure...A dozen dangerous criminals thieves, murderers, rapists, psychopaths - serving life sentences - offered a chance of pardon if they take part in a hazardous commando mission... They are trained to kill on a different level under the leadership of an insubordinate major, very short on discipline, and dropped in parachute near Rennes in Brittany to destroy a large fortified château used as a rest center and a conference place for general <more>
staff officers...The initial tension between Major John Reisman Lee Marvin and the convicts quickly collapses while Aldrich's ability was building considerable tough action scenes...Aldrich didn't neglect the character development of his superb cast offering some insights into the personalities of this unusual recruits... His believes that self-interest is the motive of all human conduct... Aldrich filled the sense of outrage of his characters, a sense so brave and different in "Attack," in 1957. The claims about capital punishment and the anti-militarism spirit were quickly discarded in favor of the terrific and cruel action scenes: the bloody climax which has a considerable number of German officers with the benefit of female companionship, all trapped in a bomb shelter...Marvin and Oscar Nominee John Cassavetes stand out among the cast...Lee Marvin creates the most interesting and influential violent hero: the sardonic major!The game of death is played at its best in a powerful man's picture..."The Dirty Dozen" formula was held later in André De Toth's "Play Dirty" in which a group of ex-criminals led by Captain Michael Caine, destroy a German oil depot in the North African campaign in World War II.
Psychos, Thieves, Rapists, Thugs Give A Warm Welcome To "The Dirty Dozen" (by Det_McNulty)
Back in 1967 The Dirty Dozen was a very controversial film because it went against everything the army stood for and so was nearly not able to be made. Luckily it did and still today it stands as one of the greatest action/war movies ever made and it still rings with its anti-war message. If you want to know what kind of a film The Dirty Dozen is I'd say it's a cross between Full Metal Jacket and Animal House, strange right? The thing about The Dirty Dozen is it is very different to most other war films and with the added comedy you've got something very unique. Most importantly <more>
The Dirty Dozen proves that to be a good solider you have to break a few rules.From the cold opening monologue to the explosive finale you've got yourself a film that sets a standard for how to make an action movie years and years since. The Dirty Dozen is famous for its wonderful ensemble cast that provides humour as well as study. All of the 12 men trained by Lee Marvin the cold head of command are ex-convicts and all of them are some of the most twisted people known to man. The film studies the violence on and behind the war zone. The Dirty Dozen entertains as well as an insight; this is great in my opinion. Some people say The Dirty Dozen can't be taken seriously, I sure think it can. Even though the film is a comedy it still is a serious film in many places. The film has managed to place itself in 60s pop culture for being so iconic. The film's acting from the entire cast remains on top throughout the entire film. If you think about The Dirty Dozen is a disturbing film, the segment with the gasoline and grenades being poured down the shafts is done in such a odd fashion that you'll find it hard to grasp it.The film's style is one that remains as cool as it was back in 1967. The editing is very cleanly cut and The Dirty Dozen's pace runs with a rhythm still keeping its substance. Many of the camera shots and the final, body count filled massacre has a certain feel of excellence to it. You can really feel the time spent on creating set pieces, acting ability, direction etc. The Dirty Dozen's atmosphere from all this is a menacing dark one, the fact it's menacing is because of the added humour and the dark because of the whole crazy idea. The film does run smoothly and feels very tight because there are no subplots and the fact that everything is so precise. The Dirty Dozen is a movie that has been spawned with carbon copy films and TV sequels.The script is one of great originality because it mixes sardonic humour with great speeches and one-liners. You'll be sure to have a favourite character by the end of the film. Many of the cast and characters have gone down in history providing a great step up for the cast's careers. Charles Bronson. And Donald Sutherland are probably some of the most recognisable to the viewer today. The Dirty Dozen remains a sharp, raw and stark film through its two and a half hour running time. So you can either watch The Dirty Dozen in two ways, one to study the army through a wide open image or secondly as a highly entertaining action movie. The most important question The Dirty Dozen make the viewer ask is none other than "Is this what the army is really like?" I'd say it is and by making a film that shows that the best war men are criminals Robert Aldrich has created an anti war statement.