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Battle of the Bulge [HD DVD]

Henry Fonda , Robert Shaw , Ken Annakin    NR (Not Rated)   HD DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
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The German offensive in December 1944 became the basis for this all-star Hollywood take on the Battle of the Bulge. Henry Fonda is an officer who predicts the assault, Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews are Army brass skeptical of his intuitions, and Robert Shaw (his hair dyed yellow and his eyes glinting with malice) is a German officer leading the tank attack. Shaw is certainly the most compelling thing about the film, especially in his philosophical debates with ambivalent underling Hans Christian Blech. Elsewhere, the movie jumps around to sidebar stories (cowardly James MacArthur becomes a leader, wheeler-dealer Telly Savalas falls in love) while messing around with the historical facts of the battle. There are interesting episodes, such as the Malmedy massacre of American POWs and the Germans' use of English-speaking spies, but overall Battle of the Bulge has the feeling of having been patched together from different scripts. On the physical level the movie comes up short, with the Spanish locations rarely suggesting the wintry misery of the battle, and the use of models and studio sets highly inadequate. A number of war films from this era are compelling on their own terms, but in the wake of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, this one looks antique. --Robert Horton

Product Description

The German offensive in December 1944 became the basis for this all-star Hollywood take on the Battle of the Bulge. Henry Fonda is an officer who predicts the assault, Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews are Army brass skeptical of his intuitions, and Robert Shaw (his hair dyed yellow and his eyes glinting with malice) is a German officer leading the tank attack. Shaw is certainly the most compelling thing about the film, especially in his philosophical debates with ambivalent underling Hans Christian Blech. Elsewhere, the movie jumps around to sidebar stories (cowardly James MacArthur becomes a leader, wheeler-dealer Telly Savalas falls in love) while messing around with the historical facts of the battle. There are interesting episodes, such as the Malmedy massacre of American POWs and the Germans' use of English-speaking spies, but overall Battle of the Bulge has the feeling of having been patched together from different scripts. On the physical level the movie comes up short, with the Spanish locations rarely suggesting the wintry misery of the battle, and the use of models and studio sets highly inadequate. A number of war films from this era are compelling on their own terms, but in the wake of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, this one looks antique. --Robert Horton

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dump your VHS version May 5 2005
Format:DVD
I'm not going to waste your time telling you about the movie, and how great it is.
The only thing I have to say is someone did something right for a change. Whoever put this one together gave you the full version as it was first shown.
On the VHS and when showing on TV, the Fifth Column portions of the film, were usually cut out, but they are included in this version.
My advice if you know and love this movie, this is the one to buy, and dump your VHS.
This review does not apply to the Battle of the Bulge [HD DVD] released may 22, but the prior release.

P.S. if you have the DVD, don't bother buying the Blu-Ray
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle of the Bulge........Where's the DVD Feb. 9 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
It's been 5 months since D-Day and most American soldiers think that the back of the German army is broken. "We'll be home for Christmas" they tell each other. But the Germans have other plans. In a desperate attempt to buy time to fill the skys with their invincible new jets, they launch one more fast furious offensive: the Battle of the Bulge.
Battle of the Bulge is a great epic war drama to watch on a rainy summer day. Awsome battle scenes with the tanks, awsome cinematography, excellent acting, great actors, like Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews, James MacArthur, Werner Peters, Charles Bronson, Ty Hardin and Telly Savalas.
If Warner Bros. is looking at this review, I have only one favor to ask:
Please release the full uncut version of Battle of the Bulge on DVD with the movie trailer and a 'making of featurette'.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This abortion uses the excuse that it is a "synthesis" of events, but it is simply an abomination. Not only are the characters and events for the most part complete fiction, or completely fictional in the way they are portrayed, but just some of the lack of realism in what happens is ludicrous as well. A tank gets hit and ends up looking like a blow torch was used to remove the top half of the turret (probably closer to how it actually got that way), yet the tank commander, sitting higher up in the command hatch than his fellow crewmembers, miraculously escapes unharmed! In the real world, a tank round would make a small hole in the armor and spew hot shrapenel all over the interior of the vehicle, with fuel and ammo likely catching fire/exploding/cooking off. This is more a comic than a serious film. As far as the historical inaccuracies, there was no "Col. Hessler", and for those who think this is a pseudonym for Col. Joachim Peiper, think again; if you recall, "Hessler" is supposed to be a Wermacht officer, not an SS officer, although his "brigade" begins its attack in the Losheim Gap (i.e., where Peiper began his attack). Next, the Germans had very few Tiger tanks, and even fewer King Tiger tanks; the bulk of their tank strength at that point in the war would have been Panzer Mk IV's and Panthers, with the Tigers and King Tigers being attached "heavy tank battalions" that reinforced the Panzer divisions. In the movie you'd get the impression that the entire German army was equipped with King Tiger tanks exclusively. And it wasn't as if the Bulge was the first time the Americans/Allies had seen this tank, since some early examples were knocked out in Normandy. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars AN UNDER-APPRECIATED BUT GREAT WAR FLICK April 12 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I won't bother to dwell upon the historical inaccuracies this film suffers from such as armour and terrain. These have already been pointed out countless times before by critics far more knowledgeable and astute in such matters than myself. I will say that this film does succeed in other important details. It's depiction of American troops - some veteran but many inexperienced - completely overwhelmed by a ferocious enemy tank assault; a desperate Nazi high command forced to gamble all its resources in one last offensive; the fanaticism of SS units as seen in the massacre at Malmedy and the Skorzeny infiltrators; and finally the much more prevalent weariness and despondency of the average German soldier portrayed by Wolfgang Priess. I seem to remember hearing somewhere that Henry Fonda's character was meant to represent the cautious General Montgomery who warned of the possibility of a German counter-attack while Dana Andrews was to be a stand-in for the much more aggressive General Patton. Robert Ryan was a personification of the studious and analytical Omar Bradley weighing all the facts before making his final move. It's Robert Shaw, however, who steals the show as the amoral Panzer commander fighting not for the Nazi Reich or its twisted ideals but rather for his own love of war and battle (perhaps not too much unlike General Patton.)
I was truly heartened to read in a previous review that Warners is releasing this film on DVD. If it really won't be ready until next year I implore them to take the time to present the film as it originally was in 1965, complete and un-edited as all wide-gauge films of that vintage should be.
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3.0 out of 5 stars DVD News March 26 2004
By Kev Mc.
Format:VHS Tape
Battle Of The Bulge is coming on DVD - next year! This was revealed on The Digital Bits Home Theatre Forum during a chat with Warner executives recently. No other details were given as it was a general answer to a question about Warner classics in the pipeline - but it's definately on the way.
It would be nice to see the film get the Special Edition treatment, but quite honestly the complete version of the film in a decent anamorphic transfer with a 5.1 soundtrack would suffice.
The question of the correct aspect ratio is a tricky one. Battle Of The Bulge was filmed in Ultra Panavision. This system used a 65mm negative with a slight anamorphic compression. This meant that when projected it had a maximum aspect ratio of 2.76:1. However, films in this process were rarely displayed at more than 2.5:1, as many theatres hadn't the capability to project any wider. The DVD of Ben Hur is presented in 2.76:1 and looks beautiful on a large widescreen TV, but it must be painful to watch it on a 4:3 TV of average size.
However, aspect ratio aside, the important thing is that Warners give us the complete 167 minute version of the film, containing the overture, intermission and exit music, and not one of the butchered versions of recent years. Let's hope that they're listening!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Battle of the Bulge
Great cast, and a good show, but not quite the same as it really happened. But I don't regret getting for my collection.
Published 12 months ago by Watcher
3.0 out of 5 stars Good quality print
This is a better rendition of the original DVD. The story is a little hokey (Band of Brothers tells the tale much better) but it's entertaining
Published 13 months ago by JEROME R. PIER
3.0 out of 5 stars Battle of the Bulge [Blu-ray]
OK but not a home run hitter. Lite on the realism side. Some extra footage then the televised version. Still entertaining but not compelling. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2009 by Seraphof7
2.0 out of 5 stars A sad excuse for the real story
I saw this film in the theatre in the 1960's and again recently. My original impression hasn't changed. The writing and acting are generally mediocre. Read more
Published on July 6 2008 by Kenneth Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Theme song "Panzerlied" lyrics by Kurt Wiele
This is supposed to be an epic war movie. And it is. It is a great vehicle for many of the popular actors of the time which includes some immortals. Read more
Published on June 15 2008 by bernie
1.0 out of 5 stars Gawd Awful American Garbage
No historical accuracy here - fictionalized everything - the action and the tanks are the stars here. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2008 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly inaccurate film !
I saw this film in the theatre when it was released. It is incredibly inaccurate and has little to do with the reality of the battle. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2007 by dmitri
4.0 out of 5 stars coming soon on dvd
Just heard the news from a reliable source that Battle of the Bulge will be released May 3, 2005 on DVD. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars great war flick
I seen this movie when i was a kid, around the age of 10 , i went to the hobby shop and bought a model of the tiger tank. Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by schackdaddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle of the Bulge.......A epic war drama
Battle of the is one of my favorite war movie to watch, next to Devil's Brigade, The Great Escape, The Green Berets, Where Eagles Dare, and Ice Station Zebra.
The U.S. Read more
Published on April 3 2004
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