The Steel Helmet (1951)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

One of the greatest war films ever made, this film still retains considerable power when compared with today's more explicit offerings. Fuller regular Gene Evans plays a tough-as-nails sergeant who, because of his helmet, is the sole survivor of an ambush during the Korean War. He is helped through the wilderness by an orphan (William Chun as Short Round) and led to a new platoon that faces even greater dangers.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Criterion Collection

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Gene Evans
as Sgt. Zack
Robert Hutton
as Pvt. Bronte
Steve Brodie
as Lt. Driscoll
James Edwards
as Cpl. Thompson
Richard Loo
as Sgt. `Buddhahead' Tanaka
Sid Melton
as Joe, 2nd GI
Richard Monahan
as Pvt. Baldy
William Chun
as `Short Round'
Harold Fong
as The Red
Neyle Morrow
as 1st GI
Lynn Stalmaster
as 2nd Lieutenant
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News & Interviews for The Steel Helmet

Critic Reviews for The Steel Helmet

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (2)

The action scenes are terrific, belying the movie's very low budget.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

[Sam] Fuller's powerful direction turns a trite story into a vivid study of national and personal identity.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

As visceral as any movie ever made, this is also Fuller's portrait of the collapsing mind, a race into madness

Full Review… | March 10, 2013

I'm not much for war films, but this is one of the best.

Full Review… | October 29, 2009
Combustible Celluloid

The first American film about the Korean War [and] one of the greatest war films ever made.

Full Review… | June 30, 2009
Turner Classic Movies Online

It's cheap and nasty and honest and brutal; that is, a full-blooded Sam Fuller movie.

Full Review… | September 12, 2007
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for The Steel Helmet

Really great Korean War flick from Sam Fuller. Possibly the best Korean war movie ever, although I'd need to do some more research to be sure.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Well-made film set during the Korean Conflict by Samuel Fuller. More character study than exciting battle film, and definiltely anti-war, as most war films really are. A gruff but tired sergeant, who is the sole survivor of the ambush of his platoon by North Korean soldiers, meets up with a ragtag platoon in a similar state and a young South Korean boy. They take temporary refuge in a Buddhist temple (although the giant Buddha statue looked more like Geronimo), where they are attacked by North Koreans. A couple of slightly disturbing scenes, including one where Sgt. Zack tells the Korean boy, called "Short Round", to get a helmet and boots from one of his dead platoon mates, and a black soldier's discussion of racism in America, which he seems to accept with little comment. Odd, but I assume it's a product of the time the film was made. For some reason that I haven't put my finger on yet, I got a strong feel of Kurosawa while watching this film, especially Rashomon and Seven Samurai.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

i didn't think a film like this was possible in 1950's john wayne america; an emotionally honest portrait of soldiers under fire made at the height of the korean war. i have new found respect for sam fuller. this is in the league of paths of glory and bridge on the river kwai. it's outstanding and a must-see for fans of war films. i'd never even heard of this but i'm really glad i watched it

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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