The Steel Helmet (1951)

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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.

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Cast

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
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.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

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

Mar 10, 2013 | Full Review…

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

Oct 29, 2009 | Full Review…

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

Jun 30, 2009 | Full Review…

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

Sep 12, 2007 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

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

A crusty, war-weary infantry sergeant teams up with a Korean orphan boy and a rag-tag, disheveled group of American soldiers enroute to an abandoned Buddhist temple in order to establish a forward observation post for artillery. Once there they capture a North Korean major who is intent on dividing them along racial lines. Shot on a shoe-string budget in 10 days at the height of the Korean war and the McCarthy era "red scare", The Steel Helmet proves beyond any doubt that director Samuel Fuller had enormous testicles. Very few, if any, Hollywood executives would have taken on the Korean conflict (and the American propaganda machine) with such candor and honesty. If all you know about America's fight with North Korea comes from watching episodes of M*A*S*H on TV then this one is a must-see. Easily one of the best American war films ever made.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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