Hell Is for Heroes (1962)
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as Pvt. Corby
as Sgt. Pike
as Pvt. Driscoll
as Sgt. Larkin
as Cpl. Henshaw
as Pvt. Kolinsky
as Capt. Loomis
as Pvt. Cumberly
as Sgt. Frazer
as Capt. Mace
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A squad of six US soldiers are ordered to hold a section of The Siegfried Line alone during WWII and so come up with ever more creative ways to disguise their numbers. Hell Is For Heroes was directed by Don Siegel who went on to become one of the best directors of hard-boiled action thrillers around (Dirty Harry being the most famous example) and he shows his skill for economy and gritty violence in this unpretentious and authentic depiction of combat. Steve McQueen shows his star quality as an embittered and possibly shell-shocked ex-sergeant who takes matters into his own hands when they are discovered and his performance is fantastic. In fact the entire cast are great (especially James Coburn who would co-star with McQueen again in The Magnificent Seven), the banter and comedy of the earlier scenes really nicely balanced with some brutal battle scenes later in the film. It concentrates more on the soldier on the ground than trying to sketch out the big picture, showing that there is a thin line between heroism and mental illness and although the climax is a little lacking in closure, it's a powerful and realistic war film ranking amongst the best.
This tense, gritty World War II drama is heaven for action fans and a riveting performance by Steven McQueen. Director Don Siegel was at his riveting best, drawing the viewer into the claustrophobic, nightmarish atmosphere.
Filmed in stark black & white, Siegel's film succinctly captures the fatal brutality of war, in terms perhaps not as graphic, but every bit as effectively as Steven Spielberg would do some thirty-six years later with his monumental film Saving Private Ryan. There is good dialogue with the GI's - Bob Newhart is real funny.
If you see my wife...don't tell her it was like this!
A small squadron of GIs are asked to hold a pass from a group of incoming German troops. Morale is low because the troops anticipated going home and matters aren't helped by a rebellious soldier being added to the group. The German infantry are in greater numbers then they anticipate and the soldiers will have to decide to follow leadership or the rebel. The rebel's plan seems like their only hope for survival.
"He had a great system, Sarge; he just never worried about anything."
Don Siegel, director of Dirty Harry, Escape from Alcatraz, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Shootist, No Time for Flowers, and The Verdict, delivers Hell is for Heroes. The storyline for this picture is better than average and fun to watch unfold. The script was okay and the character development was better than average. The cast delivers good performances and includes Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Bob Newhart, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, and Harry Guardino.
I came across this on Netflix and had to give this Steve McQueen picture a viewing (I'm a fan of his work). Overall, this was very average and just okay, but the character interactions were solid and the end was very intense and fun to watch unfold. I would recommend giving this a viewing but I did not feel it was a classic.
"That's what makes a good soldier, you're very observant."
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