In its own rough and still unfinished way, The Big Red One works -- as a memoir of a time, and a movie of the war.
Alas, the lost version of Samuel Fuller's The Big Red One of 1980 has been found -- reassembled, actually, by the distinguished film critic Richard Schickel -- and it's a lot less than legendary. It isn't even very good.
The combination of old-time Hollywood valor and ahead-of-its-time surprises makes this restoration a big event.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
What the movie may lack in Saving Private Ryan-style gloss, it more than makes up for in authenticity, or, in other words, heart.
Seven years after Fuller's death, 24 years after its initial, botched release, and almost 60 years after V-E day, The Big Red One is finally here, in a form close to what Fuller intended.
| Original Score: 5/5
You must see this film for one unstoppable reason, and that is Lee Marvin.
The Big Red One isn't even Fuller's greatest war film. Of those, I'd rank it fourth -- but that's not half bad.
Until "Saving Private Ryan," this film was the most graphic WWII picture made.
| Original Score: 4/5
As the longest and biggest of Fuller's movies, it magnifies the essence -- good and bad -- of his work.
The film's overriding mission is to expose both the inherent absurdity and tragedy of war.
| Original Score: 4/4
The splendid reconstructed version of this 1980 film is bigger and better than the original.
The Big Red One celebrates the lucky and the smart who survive the outrages and terrors of war.
There's a reason Fuller found it hard to get gigs in the US through the 70's; his pulp fiction style just didn't play anymore.
| Original Score: 2/5
A solid war movie with a great performance by Lee Marvin. If you're a war buff, give this one a shot.
| Original Score: 3/5
An American masterpiece by one of the last great American directors.
| Original Score: 3/4