- Theatrical Trailers
- Radio Spots
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
- Number of Discs: 2
- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 2 hours, 43 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: May 3, 2005
- Originally Released: 1980
- Label: Warner Home Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Special Edition
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Surround 5.1 English
- Dolby Surround 5.1 French
- Additional Release Material:
- Additional Scenes
- Audio Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Variety - 05/14/1980
"...A picture of palpable raw power which manages both intense intimacy and great scope at the same time..."
New York Times - 07/18/1980
"...Handsome, technically first-rate....Fuller is a nervy, no-nonsense Hollywood original..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/21/2004
"It now seems to be Fuller's masterpiece, maybe the most unpretentious war movie ever."
Chicago Sun-Times -
"This is Marvin's picture, and he dominates it not with heroics and speechmaking but with competence, patience, realism and a certain tender sadness."
Premiere - 06/01/2005
"[I]t now explodes onscreen with the brash extremes of cynical violence, heartache, and profane humor that define Fuller's cinematic style."
Sight and Sound - 07/01/2005
"It's vivid stuff, with an intimacy and intensity not found in later war movies..."
Total Film - 11/01/2008
"From the chaos on Omaha Beach to the scene with the little girl dying in Lee Marvin's arms, this is a film that burns deep into your brain."
Description by OLDIES.com:
"The real glory of war," Samuel Fuller said, "is surviving." A decorated combatant with the famed U.S. First Infantry in World War II, Fuller survived. His 1980 film version of his war experiences did not...until now. Working with 70,000 feet of vault materials and Fuller's shooting script, critic/filmmaker Richard Schickel heads a reconstruction that adds over 40 minutes and transforms a truncated but admired war film into an epic masterwork. Lee Marvin, in a richly layered performance now revealed as one of his finest, stars as the sergeant of peach-fuzzed riflemen fighting from North Africa to Normandy and across Europe. The film is the squad's combat diary, war as it's fought and sweated and bled and, maybe, survived.
The famous 1st Div. of the U.S. Army is the background for this World War II film. Marvin stars as an experienced sergeant with four teenagers in his squad. Combat period covers the landing in North Africa through the invasion of Europe.
Description by Warner Home Video:
"The real glory of war," Samuel Fuller said, "is surviving." A decorated combatant with the famed U.S. First Infantry in WWII, Fuller survived. His 1980 film version of his war experiences did not until now. Working with 70,000 feet of vault materials and Fuller's shooting script, critic/filmmaker Richard Schickel heads a reconstruction that adds over 40 minutes and transforms a truncated but admired war film into an epic masterwork. Lee Marvin, in a richly layered performance now revealed as one of his finest, stars as the sergeant of peach-fuzzed riflemen fighting from North Africa to Normandy and across Europe. The film is the squad's combat diary, war as it's fought and sweated and bled, and, maybe, survived.
Episodic retelling of the exploits of the American First Infantry Division during World War II, focusing on the squad's sergeant and four of the soldiers. They struggle to survive campaigns from North Africa in November, 1942, to Czechoslovakia in May, 1945, along the way participating in the invasion of Sicily and the D-Day invasion and freeing a lunatic asylum and a concentration camp.
Big Battles |
Theatrical Release |
World War II
- "The Big Red One" was based on director/screenwriter Sam Fuller's personal experiences as a soldier in World War II. The Robert Carradine character is based directly on Fuller himself.
- Film was first proposed as a project for John Wayne in the 1950s.
- Title refers to the First Infantry Division, known as "The Big Red One" because of the red one which adorned its shoulder patch and helmet insignia. The symbol was designed by an artist in 1918 and incorporated the red piping from a German soldier's forage cap.
- Additional cast: Charles Macauley (as General/Captain), Alain Doutey (Broban), Colin Gilbert (Dog Face POW), Joseph Clark (Shep), Ken Campbell (Lemchek), Doug Werner (Switolski), Perry Lang (Kaiser), Howard Delman (Smitty), Marthe Villalonga (Madame Marbaise), Giovanna Galetti (Woman in Sicilian Village), Gregori Buimistre (German), Shimon Barr (German Male Nurse), Matteo Zoffoli (Sicilian Boy), Avraham Ronai (German Field Marshal), and Galit Rotman (Pregnant Frenchwoman).
- Additional crew: William Hankins (Props), Craig Corman (Production assistant), Roy Street (Stunt horseman), and Alan Weisman (Gunsmith).
- "The Big Red One" originally ran 140 minutes, but was cut by the studio down to 113 minutes, with the director's apparent approval.
- Color by Metrocolor. Prints by Technicolor. Titles by MGM.
- Filmed on location, with Israel standing in for North Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. Scenes depicting the Rhine Valley were filmed in Ireland and featured Fuller's wife, Christa Lang, but were eventually cut from the film.
- Rated BBFC AA by the British Board of Film Censors.