Castle Keep (1969)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Major Falconer (Burt Lancaster) leads his eight battle weary soldiers into the Ardennes Forest for some rest and relaxation. They stay at castle keep, where the eccentric Count wants Falconer to sire an heir with his beautiful wife. Sergeant Rossi (Peter Falk) manages to sleep with the baker's wife. Captain Beckman (Patrick O'Neal) and Lieutenant Amberjack (Tony Bill) are not as fortunate as the troop is attacked by Nazis. Surrounded and outnumbered, the brave soldiers valiantly try to holdout the enemy charge as the bloody conflict ensues towards the end of this action war feature.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Entertainment

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Burt Lancaster
as Maj. Abraham Falconer
Peter Falk
as Sgt. Orlando Rossi
Patrick O'Neal
as Capt. Lionel Beckman
Jean-Pierre Aumont
as The Count of Maldorais
Astrid Heeren
as Therese, Contesse de Maldorais
Scott Wilson
as Cpl. Ralph Clearboy
Tony Bill
as Lt. Adam Amberjack
Michael Conrad
as Sgt. Juan De Vaca
Bruce Dern
as Lt. Billy Byron Bix
Al Freeman Jr.
as Pfc. Alistair Benjamin
James Patterson
as Pvt. Henry Three Ears of an Elk
Bisera Vukotic
as Baker's Wife
Ernest Clark
as British Colonel
Harry Baird
as Dancing Soldier
David Jones
as One-Eared Soldier
Elizabeth Tessier
as The Red Queen's girl
Jean Gimello
as 1st Puerto Rican
Caterina Boratto
as The Red Queen
Karen Blanguernon
as Red Queen Girl
Maria Danube
as Red Queen Girl
Elizabeth Darius
as Red Queen Girl
Merja Allanen
as Red Queen Girl
Anne Marie Moscovenko
as Red Queen Girl
Elisabeth Teissier
as Red Queen Girl
Eya Tuuli
as Red Queen Girl
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Critic Reviews for Castle Keep

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

Apparent efforts to insert a fresh side of war by concentrating on some of its grim humor act more as a deterrent than a booster to interest.

Full Review… | May 26, 2008
Top Critic

Pollack's folly remains an intriguing curio in spite of its pretensions.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's a sometimes funny and entertaining movie that accomplishes the dubious feat of being both anti and pro war at the same time.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

There are some deliberate and successful moments of comedy that do not undercut the seriousness of the war, but effectively accommodate the more absurd moments.

March 10, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

The dialog is very salty, but the action spotty.

Full Review… | May 26, 2008
TV Guide

Quote not available.

September 25, 2005
International Press Academy

Audience Reviews for Castle Keep

Unique and interesting war movie-- a real human-centric war movie. Focus is on these guys holed up in a castle, great little snippets of conversation and interactions that keep it really fresh. I'd much rather watch a movie focused on glimpses of personalities behind the uniforms than the tactics and philosophy of war.

Jenna Ipcar
Jenna Ipcar

A well done, and underestimated early effort from Sydney Pollack, that is a stark depiction of the American soldier at war. Although the setting is Belgium during World War II it is assumed that Vietnam was the war on Pollacks mind while makig this film. 8 soldiers are sent away from the frontline to defend a 10th century castle from destruction at the hands of the Germans. None of these men really fit into the stereotype of fearless and patriotic soldiers, that was so common of war movies of the era (keep i mind that this was 10 years before Apocalpse Now.) Rather than being a film about war it seems to be a film about soldiers, their fears, their desires, their dreams etc. Only Major Falconer (Burt Lancaster) displays the characeristics of the 'war hero' here who will never surrender or retreat to the Germans. The res tof the men spend their time doing various things (going to a local whore house, baking bread, appreciating the art in the castle, playing music etc.) There is also sme effective, if a little heavy handed imager throughout this first half of the film as well. The second half is a very violent showdown between the American's and the German's. A battle to the death for this territory. The battle scenes are very well done and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. This film does have it's flaws. It feels uneven in terms of story, the artsier elements also get in the way of the message the film was trying to communicate, there were also some historical innaccurasies (not that big of a deal really, didn't affect my enjoyment of the film at all) that might bother history buffs. But at the end of the day this is a very enjoyable and unique war film that was way ahead of it's time. The dialouge is very amusing throughout, Henri Decae's cinematography was top notch, there is frequent Catch 22esque dark humour moments and the acting was all very good. Recommended if your looking for a different kind of war film.

Ed Fucking Harris
Ed Fucking Harris

Super Reviewer

A highly satirical and bizarre WWII film. The American soldiers or misfits are comprised of every stereotype (cowboy, indian, black, knight, etc). My personal favorite is when the cowboy falls in love with a Volkswagen. The film is far from cohesive, but it is well executed and entertaining.

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

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