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Saints and Soldiers (2003)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 12

While it draws heavily on war movie conventions, Saints and Soldiers has strong performances and a compelling central plot.


Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 6

While it draws heavily on war movie conventions, Saints and Soldiers has strong performances and a compelling central plot.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 13,465

My Rating

Movie Info

A handful of fighting men must defy the odds to save their own lives and thousands of others in this drama set during World War II. In late 1944, a band of nearly a hundred American soldiers are making their way through a wooded region of Belgium when they are ambushed by German forces in a battle that became known as "the Malmady Massacre." A small group of American soldiers are able to take cover -- hard-boiled Sgt. Gunderson (Peter Holden), a grunt from Louisiana called Kendrick (Lawrence


Drama, Action & Adventure

May 31, 2005


Excel Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (12) | DVD (4)

Nicely detailed if slackly paced.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There aren't any plot surprises in this low-budget effort, so the success of the mission from a viewer standpoint depends on how well you connect with the characters and their plight.

April 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comments (2)
Boston Globe
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A worthy effort that's entirely appropriate for mainstream audiences.

April 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has the strengths and the clean lines of a traditional war movie, without high-tech special effects to pump up the noise level.

November 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
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It's the movie equivalent of singing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' to those already in the choir.

November 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though Saints and Soldiers' examination of faith, self-sacrifice and morality is not groundbreaking, it always holds our interest.

October 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Ryan Little has mounted a remarkably effective production on what must have been a shoestring by Hollywood standards.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Little makes good use of modest resources, but after a while, the film's less-is-more aesthetic grows threadbare.

April 28, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It's no earthshaker, but the indie film is refreshingly different from the current movie norm, it's won more than 15 awards on the festival circuit, and war-movie aficionados will find it well worth the journey to one of its four suburban venues.

March 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A solid, good-looking effort that bends a bit too much toward war-film conventions.

November 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

valuable in its embrace of true Christian forgiveness

October 28, 2004 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

A feel-good film about a small group of soldiers in WWII who are so saintly that they never curse.

October 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Compuserve | Comment (1)

'A gem of a movie with an unusually convincing reality base. We feel as if there's no distance between us and the fighting men. And that lack of distance is the film's point.'

October 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Mercury
Las Vegas Mercury

Blessed with a smart script and an excellent cast of unknowns, first time director Ryan Little, who also served as cinematographer, establishes himself as a major talent.

October 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

That the film seems willing to erect a simple religious parable on such a moral morass is bewildering.

October 15, 2004 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Saints and Soldiers

"Why another WWll film? Hasn't it all been done, all been said? What's the point?" And so I wondered while watching until, despite the less-than-experienced and sometime cliched delivery from some B-list outfit, a story emerges that asks some interesting questions. Although it never leaves the enormous footprints of those that have gone before, like the voice of a child ("what did lil Mikey just say?") it does come around to make some worthwhile points. The cast, the script, the tech, never overblown, does well in maintaining our interest until that happens. Two thumbs up.
October 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

Trapped behind enemy lines. All they have is their hope.

Good movie. This film was not bad at all. It has some pretty good acting roles and the story was decent enough to entertain. There was one goof I noticed and that is that when the solders exhale on winter snow the smoke from there mouths didn't showed at all during the whole movie which is pretty messed up.

The movie opens as the Allies discover the bloody remains of the Malmedy Massacre. We soon learn how the Germans attacked the unarmed prisoners, killing most of them. Several of the soldiers escape and hide out in a bombed-out house. There's "Deacon" (Allred) the ex-missionary who is haunted by something from his past that prevents him from sleeping for days at a time. He's also a crack rifleman. Joining him in escaping are Gould (Polinsky), the medic and a boy from Brooklyn, who seems suspicious of everyone, "Shirl" (Bagby) a tough soldier from Louisiana with a lust for killing Germans, and Sgt Gunderson (Holden) from Chicago, who takes command of the group.

With the rescue of a British pilot, Winley (Heyborne), the group is complete. The obvious distrust/dislike between Winley and Shirl causes friction, but when the group finds out that Winley holds vital intelligence that will greatly aid the Allies in the ongoing "Battle of the Bulge", they agree to get him across 20 miles behind enemy lines to army intelligence.

Several close encounters with Germans ensue. Deacon's psychosis continues to escalate as his visions intensify. We find out that in a recent skirmish, Deacon accidentally killed 2 woman and 6 children while trying to take out a sniper. We get to learn more about the lives of the soldiers and in one telling scene, the deep religious feelings of Deacon and contrasted with the agnostic Gould as each of them tells the story of holding a dying soldier.

The men stumble upon a remote house occupied by a French woman and her child. They are warmly welcomed by the woman who provides them shelter and food. A massive winter storm slows the group as they hole up at the woman's place. Winley tries to to take off alone and a German patrol soon shows up at the house. The soldiers attack the Germans while the sharp-shooting Deacon misses an escaping German at point blank range twice. The German is caught by Winley and returned to the group. As they argue about whether they should execute the prisoner, Deacon recognizes him as a German he once encountered in his missionary work. He attributes his missing the escaping German to a divine intervention.

During the night, Deacon allows the German to escape in exchange for some information about troop movements. The soldiers leave the next morning but Gunderson is shot and killed by a German patrol. A full scale fight ensues and Winley is wounded. Shirl is shot carrying Winley to safety and the two finally make peace just before Shirl dies.

The three survivors are approached by a German soldier as they try to revive Winley. It turns out to be the same German that Deacon had let escape the night before. He allows them to escape and they grab an abandoned jeep and head toward the Allied lines. Disguised as German medics with a wounded soldier, they work through their way through the German lines. The Americans, thinking they are German begin shooting at them and the Germans are firing at them from behind as well. Deacon tries to hold off the Germans while Winley escapes with Gould, but is shot and killed in the fire fight. His dying vision is of the family he accidentally killed.

Winley and Gould make it to Allied command and the critical information helps stop the German's offensive leading to an Allied victory in the Battle of the Bulge. Gould finds Deacon's body and takes his Bilble, thanking Deacon for saving his life.
June 25, 2011
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

A warfare penned in a very usual way, and there could have been numerous events 'based' on the given premises. A preachy flick with a generous amount of cliches in it. Given all things, the movie didn't bore me and I liked it reasonably.
March 15, 2011

Super Reviewer

I'm not really sure what all the fuss was about, this isn't a bad film but it's nothing special. I can think of hundreds of better war films! It is good considering its small budget but its dodgy accents, preachy (and predictable) parables and unnecessary (and badly timed)attempts at humour spoilt it for me.
December 10, 2010

Super Reviewer

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