The Dirty Dozen (1967) 720p

From Imdb:

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

Lee Marvin Lee Marvin ... Major Reisman
Ernest Borgnine Ernest Borgnine ... General Worden
Charles Bronson Charles Bronson ... Joseph Wladislaw
Jim Brown Jim Brown ... Robert Jefferson
John Cassavetes John Cassavetes ... Victor Franko
Richard Jaeckel Richard Jaeckel ... Sergeant Bowren
George Kennedy George Kennedy ... Major Max Armbruster
Trini López Trini López ... Pedro Jiminez (as Trini Lopez)
Ralph Meeker Ralph Meeker ... Captain Stuart Kinder
Robert Ryan Robert Ryan ... Col. Everett Dasher Breed
Telly Savalas Telly Savalas ... Archer Maggott
Donald Sutherland Donald Sutherland ... Vernon Pinkley
Clint Walker Clint Walker ... Samson Posey
Robert Webber Robert Webber ... General Denton
Tom Busby Tom Busby ... Milo Vladek

One of the most quintessential macho movies of all time.

hitchcockthelegend11 December 2010

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 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.

See also