The Dirty Dozen (1967)
IMDB Rating 7.8/10 150 min - Rated 18 War | Adventure
Stars: Lee Marvin, Ern Borgnine, Charles Bronson Director: Robert Aldrich
A group of twelve hardened American military prisoners —murderers, rapists, thieves and assorted misfits — most of whom are facing death sentences, are given the chance to redeem themselves by going on a suicide mission behind Nazi lines. They are whipped into a crack army unit by tough Major Reisman (Marvin), who initially uses them to best the troops of his by-thebook superior officer, Colonel Breed (Ryan), in war games. The `dirty dozen' includes a sex pervert (Savalas), a psycho (Cassavetes) and a retarded killer (Sutherland). They then lead a perilous assault on a well-guarded chateau and kill the Nazi officials vacationing there, becoming somewhat dubious heroes. Robert Aldrich, who by the time of The Dirty Dozen had been delving into the darker side of life for more than a decade, scored a huge hit with this rousing thriller laced with a stinging cynicism perfectly in tune with the increasingly sceptical tenor of the times. Though condemned for its excessive violence, this much-imitated war movie was the most popular film of 1967. The ironic side is that these criminals are redeemed by committing acts that are more barbaric than the ones they were condemned for — because anything is acceptable in war. As in Aldrich's Attack!, it gives the impression that officers were hypocritical and stupid and only the ordinary soldier is worth anything.