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The Big Red One (Widescreen/Full Screen)

Lee Marvin , Mark Hamill , Samuel Fuller    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
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In Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg depicts the D-day landings with a realism lauded by veterans. The Big Red One depicts the D-day landings, too, and it was made by a veteran. Writer-director Samuel Fuller, who served in the First Infantry Division from North Africa to Czechoslovakia (including the Normandy landings), made a career out of swift, punchy B movies, such as Pickup on South Street and The Naked Kiss. The Big Red One became Fuller's nod to A-movie filmmaking, yet it has the solid, matter-of-fact perspective of the ground-level infantryman. The episodic action ranges all over the European theater, as a tough squad of American GIs (including Mark Hamill and Robert Carradine) follow their hard-bitten sergeant (Lee Marvin, at his best) and try to stay alive. Filmed mostly in Israel, the film delivers on the requisite war-movie conventions and tough-guy humor but also introduces notes of poetry. Fuller's D-day doesn't match the pyrotechnics of Spielberg's version, but it creates power from the simple image of a dead soldier's watch, ticking away in blood-soaked surf. A fine and memorable picture, The Big Red One might have been even greater had it been released in Fuller's full-length cut--someday perhaps a restoration will allow the director's vision to be seen for the first time. --Robert Horton

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The Big Red One

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything you could possibly ever want to know. Feb. 23 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This re-construction of the hacked up mess that was 'The Big Red One' is the pet project of film critic, Richard Schickel. I have other DVDs with Schickel doing commentaries. He's okay. He knows his film history, but I always find his comments sort of on the surface. He doesn't achieve the depth of analysis that I like when I listen to someone like Christopher Frayling. And, since this is his project and he loves Sam Fuller, he's a bit blind to the merits of the film itself. In my humble opinion, except for David Lean, film directors working prior to the 1990s make better films from short, tight, concise scripts than sprawling, boring, never-ending Epic screenplays and Mr. Fuller is no exception. This film simply has too much in it... Sam's actual experiences in WWII, from N. Africa to Sicily to France to Belgium to Germany to Czechoslovakia. Way too much. Spread too thin, Lots of short choppy scenes. Think about "Private Ryan". They land on the beach, they get the mission, they go 50 miles inland, they find Ryan, they defend the bridge... end of story. You know? Less is more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 4 2014
By jo
Excellent product, delivered as promised
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OVERALL SCORE: (B+) Dec 30 2003
This is one of the more stunning and profound cinematic portraits of the Second World War. It is an unflinching window into the surrealistic exploits of warriors in combat. This is by far a more worthwhile movie then many later attempts, that fail to emotionally grip you, instead relying on computer effects for drama.
Other great war movies; The Longest Day (1962), We Were Soldiers (2002), Gallipoli (1981), Attack Force Z (1982), Cross of Iron (1976), A Bridge Too Far (1977), or The Dirty Dozen (1967).
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great... June 5 2005
By A Customer
One of my all time favourite war movies. Unfortunately, the re-edit seems a little choppy with scenes that were cut out of the original for a reason (they took away from the pace or the acting was just plain bad) being added back in for no apparent reason other than to lengthen the movie. Still, a must have for the war movie collector.
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5.0 out of 5 stars nearly forgotten and underappreciated Jan. 23 2003
Format:VHS Tape
After finally seeing this wonderful movie,I am stunned anyone would not consider it one of the great films.The pacing is so casual and relaxed in places it reminds me of Fellini.Some reviews correctly mention that the battle scenes are brief and somewhat underproduced,but they are secondary to the subtle poetic images Sam Fuller is putting on the screen.If you have seen other Fuller films as I have,it is unbelievable he was able to reach this pinnacle of creativity.Lee Marvin is too old for his part but no other actor could have played it as well.There are many delights to see and hear.To me it is the best war movie ever made. Kubrick,Coppola and Speilberg all made terrific films about war,but Fuller faced enemy guns in battle. His real experiences translate an unmistakeable authenticity into every frame.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Um, little reality check Jan. 22 2003
P>As a child growing up and watching this movie, yes, I felt the John Wayne-esque drive to mimic the "stormin' the beaches of Normandy", but this film also taught the various "cliche" horrors of war that aren't often seen(civilians living in filth and destruction, their hate of their conquerors, the puppet French, hiding in foxholes only to get run over by tanks, the possiblity of losing a testicle - no joke - by a mine, etc.) I'm not sure of the Big Red One's "first in everywhere" policy, but the locales depicted in the movie (North Africa, Sicily, Normandy) are factually correct. Not unlike The Longest Day, there is some Uber Hollywood moments, but enough fact to make it worth while. You could do worse than this movie.
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2.0 out of 5 stars "For Fuller's honesty and verve"? Dec 11 2002
Now that's funny. I'm quoting boydjt below of course. Looks like another one slipped through that pesky 'dont ask, dont tell' policy. But I feel better knowing that we're being defended by the new army where a good vocabulary is important, albeit a limp wristed one. Verve? hahahahaa
Nobody is attacking Fuller's diary or his experiences. It's just a lousy movie. I'm not saying the man didnt serve his country gallantly, but he sure as hell didnt serve Hollywood in the same way. One of the most ill-conceived unwatchable films ever produced and probably thee worst WWII movie ever made. Unworthy of further comment. Just pathetic...you are forewarned.
2 cartridges, one for that Caradine guy and the other for Luke Skywalker. Ask the guys from Jackass what to do with them.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry I bought this. Oct. 23 2002
One of the worst war movies ever. Cliche-ridden, wooden acting, unbelievable (in a bad way) scenery, just general yuck. The storyline is so episodic as to be almost incomprehensible, other than that Lee Marvin's platoon was first st everything in WWII. There's a sequence at an insane asylum that is so laughably bad that I had to stop watching for a while. Would not recommend to anyone who wants a good war movie, or even a bad one. A complete and total waste of time and money.
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