Director: Samuel Fuller
Cast: Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco & Kelly Ward
The Big Red One is one of the most celebrated war movies of all time. Directed by WWII veteran Samuel Fuller, the film chronicles his experiences in the First Infantry Division (aka, The Big Red One).
The thing that makes this film different from other war movies is that there is no arc bringing the film together. This was done intentionally, because according to Fuller, this is what being in a war is like. Soldiers don't think of their experience in the war as having a beginning, middle and end. They think to get through one day at a time.
One of the most poignant themes of the film is the difference between killing and murdering. Coming into the film, it is difficult to discern. I assure you, there is a very strong difference between the two, when one of our surviving heroes kills a murderer.
I've got to say, though this is a celebrated film, I've never been a war film fan. It was very, very hard to get through for me. I found that I was uninterested by the battle scenes, and not because of the lack of action, but because it was obvious our five survivors would manage to get through unscathed.
Ah, well. To each his own.
Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
- The bulk of the picture was shot in Israel, and director Samuel Fuller remarked that it was unsettling after a scene was shot when the German soldiers and SS troops pull would take off their helmets and Fuller would see them wearing yarmulkes, and between takes they would be sitting around the set in full Nazi uniform speaking Hebrew or reading the Torah.
- The screams from the foxholes as the tanks roll over them seem strangely out of place, but actually happened. Samuel Fuller said, "When we were in those holes, and the tanks were rolling over us, it was our only chance to scream all the terror out and not be heard. We got it all out in those holes..."
- During the UK clampdown on video nasties in the 80's the film was briefly seized by Manchester Police who believed it to be a sex film.