This WW2 psychological drama plays out at Christmas. US GIs hold an isolated cabin in the Ardennes against a handful of Germans cut off from their main force. Combat-weary and short of rations, both sides are determined to survive.
In WWII Western Germany, Private David Manning reluctantly leaves behind a mortally wounded fellow soldier and searches for survivors from his platoon, only to learn from commanding officer Captain Pritchett that they have all been killed in action. Despite requesting a discharge on the grounds of mental disability, Manning is promoted to sergeant and assigned to lead a new platoon of young inductees. Written by
The insignia of rank of the German sergeant leading his patrol is of a design not used by the German army. See more »
Narrator, news footage:
August 1944. The outcome of the Second World War appeared to be no longer in doubt. Paris was liberated. After four years of fighting, victory against the Germans seemed assured. Since the Normandy landings, American and Allied forces had battled their way across northern Europe, and pushed the German enemy to within its own homeland.
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This is a must see film. It presents war realistically. Just as in real combat, some soldiers are reluctant to attack, some officers are not that smart, many soldiers are scared, and the mission is of dubious value.
This particular story focuses on one soldier who was the lone survivor of an allied attack or the Germans. He is promoted to Sgt. against his wishes because they are short of people. Put in charge of new replacements, he is torn between training the new men, and staying out of the fight so he will stay alive.
After another failed attack by his company, he is promoted to Lt. Again he does not want this responsibility, but now has to lead men into battle.
Its one of the few films that show how inept some officers are. Band of brothers is the only other film I can think of that shows an inept American officer, Capt. Herbert Sobel (played by David Schwimmer).
Its also one of the few American films about the Battle of the Hertgen Forrest, which was overshadowed a few months later by the Battle of the Bulge.
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