Fuller's harrowing, intense semi-autobiographical account of the U.S. Army's famous First Infantry Division in WWII, the "Big Red One." A rifle squad composed of four very young men, led by the grizzled Marvin, cut a fiery path of conquest from the landing in North Africa to the liberation of the concentration camp at Falkenau, Czechoslovakia. In part a tale of lost innocence, the film scores highest by bringing the raw terror of war down to the individual level. New restored version adds about 47 minutes and sports an "R" rating.
Lee Marvin leads a rifle squad through the many grim and gurgling trials of war. The D-Day invasion and the liberation of a concentration camp are among their victorious yet tragic adventures. Sam Fuller's semi-autobiographical war-drama is filled with the kind of gripping action, raw intensity and occasional off-beat humor that we've come to expect from one of the great pioneers of independent cinema.